Research firm Gartner predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) could connect as many as 26 billion devices by 2020.
Yet, by other measures, that staggering figure is conservative. No matter how you quantify it, the IoT era is upon us.
It’s worth remembering, as IoT expert Edewede Oriwoh states, “The Internet of Things is not a concept; it is a network, the true technology-enabled network of all networks.”
Like any network — be it for enterprise, military or consumer use — these connected “things” must have the reach, resiliency and capacity to be ubiquitous, dependable and adaptable.
This is where satellite technology will play an important role in supporting the IoT and realizing the full potential of this increasingly connected experiences.
Satellite already provides essential IoT-type connectivity in places where other transport technologies don’t reach.
For example, more than two hundred sites in the Yukon use Hughes terminals and satellite connectivity to track and transmit seismic and weather data in near real-time. To achieve global scale, satellite provides IoT with the reach and coverage it needs to operate as the network of all networks.
As the world becomes more reliant on constantly connected devices, the necessity of “always-on” connectivity will rise. Natural disasters that knock out terrestrial telecom can also bring down exposed wireline IoT connections.
However, resilience is a hallmark of satellite. In the wake of natural disasters, many utilities require that satellite be part of the connectivity mix for utility network reliability. In the case of the IoT, satellite can power critical, always-on connectivity — even when other networks fail.
Today, many IoT applications use MSS (Mobile Satellite Services) or “narrowband” connectivity for reliable, wide-range, low-power transport in addition to cellular networks. For example, Hughes enables smart meter monitoring of energy consumption throughout California via MSS.
What’s more, Hughes created the GMR-1 (GEO Mobile Radio interface) standard for IoT which makes it possible for MSS services to use GEO connectivity.
This flexibility in transport type diversifies the network for IoT applications that require more bandwidth — whether due to application activity, like continuous monitoring, or coverage that extends beyond narrowband, wireline and mobile network capacity.
While conversation percolates around IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine-to-Machine (M2M), 5G and more, it’s important to remember that one stalwart of the communications landscape has the combination of reach, resiliency and capacity to augment the IoT — satellite.
The EMEA Satellite Operators Association said it best, “No single communications technology can reach all the possible markets and users, and be able to handle the flood of connections required and mounds of data that will be transmitted and received for future IoT applications.”
Hughes satellite networks and technologies enable high availability, multi-transport connectivity, and supports millions of connected devices and the networks that deliver their data.