Why Satellites are critical for IoT

Satellites are critical for IoT primarily because they provide a means of transmitting data over vast distances, even in remote or hard-to-reach locations.

In many cases, IoT devices are collecting data in areas where traditional forms of connectivity, such as Wi-Fi or cellular networks, may not be available. Additionally, satellites can provide a layer of redundancy and reliability for IoT applications, ensuring that data is transmitted even if ground-based networks go down.

Another benefit of using satellites for IoT is that they can provide global coverage, which is important for companies that need to track and monitor assets or operations across multiple geographies. Satellites can also be used to provide a more accurate positioning signal than GPS, which can be important for certain IoT applications.

Furthermore, satellites are essential for critical IoT applications such as emergency response, disaster management, and environmental monitoring. In these scenarios, IoT devices that are connected via satellites can provide real-time data that can be used to make critical decisions and take action quickly.

The use of satellites is an important component of the IoT ecosystem and enables the deployment of IoT devices and applications in locations where traditional connectivity is not possible, providing a reliable and robust means of transmitting data over long distances.

Advantage of Satellite over traditional systems

Satellites play a critical role in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem for several reasons. Here are a some examples:

  1. Global coverage: Satellites can provide global coverage, making them ideal for applications that require IoT devices to be deployed in remote or hard-to-reach locations. With a satellite network, devices can communicate with each other and with the cloud no matter where they are located.
  2. Redundancy: In many IoT applications, uptime is critical. Satellites provide an additional layer of redundancy, which can help ensure that devices remain connected even if a terrestrial network goes down.
  3. Scalability: As the number of IoT devices continues to grow, satellite connectivity can help fill gaps in coverage and provide additional capacity as needed. This can be especially important in areas where terrestrial networks are unable to meet demand or are prohibitively expensive to deploy.
  4. Security: Because satellite communications are more difficult to intercept and jam than terrestrial communications, they can provide an additional layer of security for IoT applications that require it. For example, in many military and government applications, satellite-based IoT networks are used to securely communicate critical information.

By providing global coverage, redundancy, scalability, and security, satellites help ensure that the growing number of IoT devices can communicate reliably and securely, no matter where they are located.

Making satellite more accessible

For decades, the satellite has been playing a major role in supporting IoT development. Business operations that extend into remote areas rely on satellites to provide communications for facility monitoring and instantaneous asset management at unmanned sites and offshore platforms.

Now, NSR estimates that by 2023 there will be 5.8 million machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT connections via satellite worldwide. Combined with new technologies that generate low cost-per-bit connectivity, the satellite industry is redefining the solutions it can provide to address the largest communications requirement our world has ever known.

Satellite-enabled IoT is currently dominated by narrowband providers, such as L-band. However, with the advent of high-throughput Ku-band and Ka-band satellite connections, the capabilities in orbit have created a broadband superhighway in space — easily handling the potential volume of opportunity in the IoT and M2M sectors.

One way to make satellites more accessible is to continue to improve the technology used to build and launch them. This can include advancements in materials science, rocket propulsion, and satellite design. It can also involve reducing the cost of manufacturing and launching satellites, which can make space exploration more affordable and accessible to a wider range of people and organizations. Another approach is to develop new and innovative ways to access space that are more efficient and cost-effective than traditional methods.

In addition, making satellite data more available and easier to access can also help make satellites more accessible. This can include developing more user-friendly tools and platforms for working with satellite data, as well as expanding the availability of satellite imagery and other data to more people and organizations.

Increasing accessibility to satellites will require a continued focus on research, development, and innovation across a range of fields, as well as collaboration between governments, private companies, and other organizations. Additionally, there needs to be a continued effort to raise awareness of the benefits of satellite technology and its importance for scientific research, national security, and a range of other applications.

The IoT cannot exist without the support of satellite companies.

To truly have a major impact, access to satellite services needs to be made easier than ever. In other words, ditch the dish in favor of electronic antennas and power-friendly modems to make installing and using satellite simpler for people and devices.

This requires innovation throughout the satellite ecosystem, to facilitate access while complementing other technologies to enable hybrid solutions.
For example, the most progressive satellite operators have made strategic investments with meta-material-based antenna-technology providers.

These partnerships will yield a range of antenna and terminal products no bigger than a laptop in size. They’ll serve application verticals such as mobility, content delivery and wireless backhaul.

In addition, a new model that combines the advantages of satellites in geostationary orbit with those offered by constellations of satellites in low-earth orbit will redefine satellite communications. These hybrid fleets will deliver broadband coverage of the polar regions.

They also will be able to layer bandwidth for regions or applications with high-density traffic, as well as for critical applications where redundancy is required.

Broadcast capability for connected cars

Delivering bandwidth to the connected car market also represents a major opportunity for communications companies. We are just beginning to see this technology develop with cars on the road today using LTE cellular networks. However, the delivery systems that fully enable this sector will rely on hybrid connectivity featuring both satellite and terrestrial technologies.

The global nature of satellite systems and the ability to broadcast to multiple points is the most efficient signal delivery on earth. Satellite broadcasts can work seamlessly with terrestrial cell carriers to achieve global coverage and enable auto manufacturers to reach all of their vehicles on a single network.

This means the billions of dollars spent each year by car manufacturers to recall vehicles for software upgrades could be avoided. Instead, satellites will broadcast software updates to cars on a global basis. Broadcast capabilities give satellites a strategic advantage in delivering both operating and navigation software updates that will be essential as we move into the next decade.

Satellites also boast vastly superior cybersecurity, a major consideration when contemplating a future where software is the most important element of your car’s operations. It offers a consolidated distribution opportunity that reduces cyberattack vectors by eight or nine orders of magnitude, when compared to cellular in terms of entry and exit points.

Connectivity for autonomous vehicles

Terrestrial Wi-Fi and cellular networks support just a portion of the grid that will be required to allow fully autonomous vehicles to navigate city streets and highways. Satellite communications will play an important role in the connectivity and autonomy of intelligent cars.

An autonomous vehicle requires two different types of external signal connections. Functions of the car such as steering or braking that need information about other vehicles along a route must rely on terrestrial networks with virtually no signal latency, because of the time-sensitive nature of these interactions.

Other vehicle functions that need less time-sensitive information can rely on satellites as a medium of communications, because of the inherent attributes of ubiquity and broadcast for satellite technology. For example, satellites can multicast updates to cars concerning road conditions ahead, and local imaging of city streets and mapping of selected routes — without fear that a sudden peak in traffic on the wireless network slows or knocks out response times.

The IoT cannot exist without the support of satellite companies. The most forward-thinking satellite operators are now implementing initiatives to ensure that the IoT movement makes the best use of what satellite technology has to offer.

A satellite is a man-made object that orbits the Earth and can be used for various purposes, including communication, navigation, and scientific research. IoT, on the other hand, refers to physical objects that are connected to the internet and can communicate with each other without human intervention.

It is worth noting that, while some IoT devices may use satellite technology to communicate, such as those used for global asset tracking, satellite communications may not be necessary for many IoT applications. IoT devices can rely on other forms of wireless communication, such as Wi-Fi, cellular networks, or low-power, wide-area networks (LPWANs), depending on the specific application.

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