A new company in Bristol is aiming to provide rugged gateways for sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT) all around the world.

“We’ve poured over 100 man-years of experience into the design and manufacture of every Sixis device”


Sixis is a spin off from Telemisis in Bradley Stoke which supplies end-to-end monitoring for power and telecoms systems, including the Glastonbury music festival. The new company will supply its Midi and Mini remote monitoring gateways that have been designed for rugged embedded environments for a wider range of IoT applications.

“At Sixis we are developing this hardware for lots of different customers so we can amortise the development costs and more importantly the certification costs,” said Chris Begent, co-founder of Sixis, pictured above with a gateway on top of a demonstration unit.

Safety first

The gateways have two SIM cards, one hidden to provide a cellular connection if the first one fails or is removed, and an accelerometer to detect if the gateway is being moved or stolen. The software is written to be as secure and reliable as possible, with apps in Java on the SIM card monitoring the performance of the C++ code on the host ARM processor to ensure reliability. “We have a very smart system for recognising the SIM card and automatically configuring the box for the network so you should never need a person to go to the site with a laptop,” he said.

This is the fifth generation of gateway design, and Telemisis has thousands of boxes deployed around the world. “We’ve poured over 100 man-years of experience into the design and manufacture of every Sixis device, laying a solid foundation for any industrial IoT application,” said Tony Richardson, co-founder of Sixis.

The boxes connect up to Ethernet, RS232, RS485 and other legacy fieldbus protocols such as MODbus and MicroLAN to link up sensors. The boxes then feed this data back to a server.

Create your own apps

Sixis is supplying the connection manager for the server and open APIs for customers to develop their own applications. “For example, one customer [at Telemisis] has over 9000 of these boxes around the world all connected to their server,” said Begent. It is these boxes which are also used to monitor all the power systems at Glastonbury.

The gateways are manufactured by Tioga in Derby, which is also a shareholder in Telemisis. This allows Sixis to easily customise the gateways to specific requirements such as plastic housings. The company is also working with Tioga on modules for different wireless technologies such as Wi-FI and Zigbee.

You can see more information about the company at the Sixis website and you can follow them on Twitter here: @SixisTech. Chris Begent is speaking at the IoT show in London on the 15 and 16 March. 

Nick Flaherty