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Inmarsat Satellites Power ‘World’s First Truly Global IoT Network’

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Inmarsat combines satellite and LPWAN to create custom applications for remote clients

Inmarsat and Actility claim to have built the world’s first truly global IoT network by combining the former’s satellite network with the latter’s Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology and have detailed the first three applications to benefit.

By using satellite for backbone connectivity, the partners claim it is possible to bring IoT applications to any part of the world, not just areas that have adequate terrestrial infrastructure, with their Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN).

The specifications of LoRaWAN allow for low-cost and low power connections that are necessary for deployments in rural areas where it would simply be too expensive and impractical to regularly change batteries or redeploy sensors.

Inmarsat Satellite

Satellite IoT network

The two companies first partnered last year and want to work on custom applications for large industrial clients.

A cattle ranch is using the network to manage the movements and health of its animals remotely, while a remote palm oil plantation in Malaysia monitors water levels and soil moisture in roots of plants to ensure water is distributed in the most efficient manner.

Another customer is monitoring remote oil platforms so repairs and maintenance can be carried out in a way that minimises downtime.

“These three early applications are indicative of the industrial IoT market in general: businesses don’t need an off-the-shelf IoT solution for Agribusiness or Asset Tracking; they need a specific solution for a specific problem,” said Paul Gudonis, President, Inmarsat Enterprise.

“Through our collaboration with Actility, we have the building blocks to tailor solutions for each specific opportunity, no matter where it is in the world.”

Inmarsat’s S-band satellites will be used to power its European Aviation Network (EAN), which will power in-flight Wi-Fi for flights on European routes starting later this year.

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