Astrocast commercially launches bidirectional satellite IoT service

2 mins read
Astrocast commercially launches bidirectional satellite IoT service
Credit: Astrocast

Astrocast, a Swiss company, has launched a commercially available bidirectional satellite IoT service to link IoT devices internationally at a comparable cost while they are outside of cell-based terrestrial networks.

Access to the service might redefine the global IoT business paradigm, allowing a slew of new applications to speed change and provide concrete value to enterprises, consumers, and the environment.

Astrocast supports asset tracking, telemetry, and telematics applications while fostering innovation across sectors such as maritime, agriculture, livestock, environment, utilities, land, transport, freight, storage, mining, and oil and gas, using its own recently launched nanosatellite constellation in low Earth orbit (LEO).

By default, IoT devices are placed in remote areas in many of these settings, from mines to agriculture, ships to oil rigs. Wherever possible, the service reduces the need for human intervention and repair.

In any remote IoT deployment, device size, power consumption and reliability are priorities. The compact devices from Astrocast have a low power consumption and a battery life of up to ten years. As companies roll out satellite IoT initiatives, these considerations become increasingly important. The lifecycle of an IoT installation can be extended simply by combining high-quality battery technology with an effective data transfer strategy.

Instead of continuously transmitting data, the devices only do so when satellites are in range. This extends battery life, particularly in programs that don’t require regular data updates. Furthermore, this lowers the cost of data for end consumers.

The importance of bidirectional IoT cannot be overstated. The capacity to transmit commands back to assets rather than just receiving data opens up new possibilities, such as remote equipment management. It allows farmers, for example, to command silos to release food, open gates, or run irrigation systems without involving humans.

Water management systems can be controlled remotely by utilities in accordance with flood prevention plans. Companies can use data to increase knowledge and enable direct actions for remote assets when data is seamlessly linked with existing analytics, AI, or machine learning.

“So far, organizations have struggled to create a business case for deploying IoT that can offer comprehensive global coverage, as well as efficient and reliable connectivity,” said Fabien Jordan, CEO of Astrocast. “There is now an opportunity to use satellite IoT to increase visibility, transparency and control over assets globally, and the potential for use cases across an array of sectors is almost limitless. What is more, in the past, these have been too complex, costly or simply unavailable. But, thanks to developments in satellite IoT technology, this is changing; and organizations that recognize the potential of going beyond terrestrial IoT will be able to create new competitive advantages too.”

In New Zealand, for example, there is a push to track cattle remotely in order to identify individual animals that are sick, allowing for quick intervention and removal from the herd, reducing disease spread and, in turn, reducing the need for medicine. The ability to quickly acquire and analyze this data via satellite IoT not only accelerates adoption but also provides quick insights into the approach’s success.

“Even at-risk animals are playing a role in combatting climate change,” said Jordan. “Using tiny sensors attached to an array of sea creatures, including turtles, is not just providing scientists insight into the behavior and travel patterns of the animals, but is also capturing vital information regarding sea health, including salinity. From mapping sea temperatures to the depth turtles are swimming to capturing information about seawater quality, the information provided by these creatures is automatically transmitted via satellite IoT as they surface.”

Airbus, Thuraya, the European Space Agency, Wayra, and Telefonica are among Astrocast’s integration partners. The International Committee of the Red Cross has supported projects such as wildfire detection, animal tracking, water monitoring, and vehicle monitoring, as well as wildlife computers that enable wildlife tracking and biodiversity management.

Astrocast, which was founded in 2014, designs, builds, and tests all of its products in-house, from satellites to terminals.