Global low-power IoT network launches to connect remote devices, improve data transmission
This week, global satellite network operator Inmarsat announced the development of its LoRaWAN-based IoT network, which is designed to allow low-powered IoT devices and sensors in remote areas of the world to connect to the internet. Inmarsat partnered with Actility and used its ThingPark Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) platform to develop the network.
Inmarsat already runs a fleet of 11 satellites to help people in remote areas, such as mountain ranges or ships, to communicate on satellite phones and broadband internet devices. It currently has a presence on all continents in over 60 locations.
New solutions in remote areas
Inmarsat will use the LoRaWAN network in conjunction with these satellites to allow users to transmit data from small, low-power devices to implement new solutions in remote areas. The company cited the three following examples of the technology already being used internationally:
- In cattle movement and health tracking on a remote ranch in Australia
- In the agribusiness sector to monitor water levels and adjust distribution on a palm oil plantation in Malaysia
- On an oil platform to remotely monitor processes and identify potential failure points to avoid 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 of 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.”
Business Insider noted that this flexibility could help drive the popularity of the new network, as many of today’s IoT network solutions are designed for a single, typically industrial use case.
A rapidly advancing market
LPWA networks are on the rise, Mobile World Live noted, with 85 new networks launched or in development in 2016, up from 29 in 2015. According to IoT Business News, the GSMA recently announced new data from Machina Research that shows LPWA networks are expected to host 1.4 billion connections by 2022, which would exceed the number of 2G, 3G and 4G connections.
With additional IoT network launches and increased connections, the possibilities for a wide range of implementations are set to skyrocket in the coming years.