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The number of devices connected to the global network exceeded the number of people on the Earth more than 13 years ago — somewhere between 2008 and 2009. In that period, the Internet of Things (IoT) was born. In 2020, it reached more than 20 billion connected objects. The growth rate is huge, and the network load is even bigger. Experts predict the number of applications connected to IoT triple or even quadruple by 2025. Terrestrial communication technologies cannot support all the needs of the IoT sector, and satellite technologies can play a key role here. And that is mostly thanks to the growing popularity and availability of satellite pictures. The market now offers numerous online platforms that provide free high resolution satellite imagery to be used for different purposes.
Satellite networks can provide global coverage and connect “things” into the IoT ecosystem even in remote areas, where it is hard or even impossible to deliver the terrestrial connection. They also have a permanent resilience level that is needed to provide stable and bankable connections within the world.
Satellites can give a real kick for IoT development, especially in such big industries as agriculture, mining, forestry, environment monitoring, public infrastructure management, or logistics. Here we will focus on some of them.
Examples of IoT Smart Applications
The applications of the Internet of Things technologies are very diverse. Their capacity can be applied to a lot of industries that require reliable data analysis for making fast and far-reaching decisions.
Farmers all over the world are looking for a way to improve their productivity to be ready to produce more food for the growing population. Using modern digital tools, satellite images, historical and the latest weather data, etc. they can define their problem areas, growth points, and come to precision farming with its higher level of yields and profit.
Mining is developing where natural resources are located. It can be some of the most remote parts of the Earth where there are no connections with the outer world except satellite services. Using satellite-based solutions in mining operations means communication maintenance, location monitoring, and potential threats prediction for the involved staff.
Today transportation assets become more connected to IoT. Logistic companies track their trucks, ships, and airplanes, and that is not the only application of satellite technologies for this industry. They can also be used to gather big volumes of data, analyze and share it with interested parties. This will provide new ideas for increasing operating efficiency and security at all stages of the delivery process.
Smart cities are not a utopia anymore, especially with satellite-based solutions. They allow for being more efficient and organized. For example, city traffic monitoring can be the solution to the traffic jams problem or show the roads condition. Spreading of global internet connection will help to gather more information about problem areas, react to accidents, or tackle other urban challenges.
Satellite IoT Services
There are 2 types of connectivity services that the satellite industry offers to meet IoT market demands.
Sat-IoT Backhaul Service
The satellite IoT Gateway Backhaul works similarly to the GSM or WiFi Backhaul services. It develops as a new application of the SATCOM satellite system. With low-cost localized gateways, it can connect thousands of close-by IoT-devices with ultra-low-cost radio transmitters that work through terrestrial radio transmission standards. The ability to connect these gateways means the new branch of satellite application within the industry.
Direct to Satellite Service
Combining reliability and latency of satellite networks with low cost and low power makes the direct to satellite service play the core role in monitoring and data analysis for a wide range of industries. Logistics, tracking, insurance, remote assets monitoring, mining, energy, agricultural sectors, public infrastructure, governmental and public security sectors will take advantage of the direct satellite-IoT connectivity.
Overall, we live in the moment of fast IoT development, and using satellite networks can be and will probably be a valuable resource for the productivity growth of the big industries.