While cellular operators are fostering their own Internet of Things (IoT) technologies based on LTE, satellite communications service provider Inmarsat is touting its LoRaWAN-based network, developed in partnership with Actility, and how it’s delivering IoT to every corner of the globe.
The Inmarsat LoRaWAN network, powered by Actility’s ThingPark LPWA platform, is described as the world’s first global IoT network, with LoRaWAN-based connectivity on the ground and satellite connectivity as the network backbone. The integrated platform provides an end-to-end solution that transmits site-specific data to applications in the cloud for analysis, delivering insights and supporting decision making, the companies say.
Early applications include asset tracking, agribusiness and oil & gas. “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, Inmarsat Enterprise, in a press release. “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.”
As an example of asset tracking, the companies say their solution allows for tracking the location, movement, health and other key statistics of cattle on a remote ranch in Australia, replacing the manual process of sending an employee to look for cattle that have strayed. An alert is sent out to the ranch manager when an animal is at risk of being lost, is behaving erratically, or is nearing the perimeter of the ranch, enabling the owner to take immediate action.
Inmarsat and Actility last year announced a partnership that combines Inmarsat’s global L-band satellite connectivity platform with Actility’s ThingPark IoT management platform to deliver an integrated solution for IoT, linking connectivity, services and IoT devices from a single application and service management point, to connect objects deployed anywhere on the planet.
Paris-based Actility is also now part of Inmarsat’s Certified Applications Provider Programme, which allows third-party companies to develop applications and solutions that are compatible with Inmarsat’s satellite communications network.
“Actility has worked on many large-scale nationwide LPWA network deployments, but this is bigger: we’re fantastically excited about being part of the first truly global IoT network in partnership with Inmarsat,” said Actility CEO Mike Mulica, in the release. “Our collaboration with Inmarsat allows us to provide customers with an end-to-end solution to connect their assets and fulfill their IoT business needs anywhere in the world. We’ll be working alongside Inmarsat every step of the way to help global customers address their specific needs with more efficient, best-fit solutions.”
Mulica told FierceWirelessTech last month the company is optimistic that LoRa will grow in the United States as it has in Europe and Asia. Without naming names, he said operators in the U.S. are conducting trials, and that’s not limited to just mobile operators. Comcast announced last fall that is was conducting trials of LoRa in at least two cities, and the hope is that two or three other U.S. carriers will adopt it this year.
Other IoT technology providers also are expanding in and outside of the U.S. Ingenu, which uses its own Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) technology, launched in more than 30 U.S. metro areas in 2016 and its goal is to cover 100 in 2017. Sigfox, which covers much of France and is in other countries as well, said it aims to cover 40% of the U.S. population by the end of 2017.