IoT Tech Expo: The role of satellites in enabling a global IoT

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Amine El Ammari, VP of Global Business Development at Thuraya, presented an informative session at IoT Tech Expo Europe on how satellites enable truly global connectivity.

Thuraya is a leading player in the satellite industry, ranking among the top 10 operators worldwide. The company provides satellite services spanning the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Australia and over 150 countries.

The company is vertically integrated, handling everything from satellite connectivity and ground station gateways to devices and end-user services. Key clients include government agencies and enterprises in utilities, mining, energy, maritime and more.

In choosing a satellite network for IoT, El Ammari discussed how criteria like orbital plane, fixed vs mobile satellites, and frequency bands are important considerations.

“The main advantages of L band are you have very good coverage and penetration. The second point is the rain fade and weather conditions—unlike higher bands, the L band is very resistant and resilient to weather conditions,” explained El Ammari.

El Ammari made a strong case for Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) being particularly suited for many IoT applications. 

The key advantages of MSS he outlined included global reach to remote areas, mobility to connect assets on the move, scalability to support massive device growth, redundancy as a backup to terrestrial networks, and low infrastructure requirements without ground stations. MSS via satellite is often the primary connectivity solution deployed for disaster recovery when cellular networks are down.

Specifically for IoT, El Ammari highlighted how the L band spectrum used by Thuraya satellites provides excellent coverage and weather resilience, low power consumption critical for battery-powered devices, reduced infrastructure, harmonised spectrum licensed globally, and small antenna sizes ideal for integration.

Innovative use cases with Thuraya’s partners include tracking and monitoring shipping containers, detecting wildfires in remote forests through AI video analytics, remotely monitoring generators in rural villages, securing fence perimeters, and monitoring utility power lines in difficult terrains.

El Ammari predicted multinetwork capabilities will be key for IoT moving forward. He envisions future IoT devices will combine cellular and satellite connectivity in a single chipset.

This future vision will be facilitated by new standards like 3GPP Release 17 5G optimisation for non-terrestrial networks. Proprietary technologies will be replaced by unified standards like 5G and 6G where everything communicates seamlessly over terrestrial or satellite networks.

See also: The Things Industries partners with Echostar on hybrid satellite and LoRa solutions

Want to learn about the IoT from industry leaders? Check out IoT Tech Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. The comprehensive event is co-located with Digital Transformation Week.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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