Vodafone and Inmarsat take IoT to the skies

It’s all very well banging on about NB-IoT networks but what if your IoT device moves around? Vodafone is convinced satellites are the answer.

So convinced, in fact that it has committed to a roaming agreement with Inmarsat, which you can tell is in the satellite game because its name ends in ‘sat’. Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Access Network complements Vodafone’s current connectivity portfolio, we’re told, and we would expect no less.

“Success in IoT demands a mix of different technologies for different applications,” asserted Ivo Rook of Vodafone, who seems to be on a bit of a press drive. “By adding satellite connectivity from Inmarsat to the Vodafone portfolio we continue to deliver on our strategy to lead in managed IoT services.”

“Deploying satellite connectivity to complement terrestrial networks for IoT applications changes the Internet of Things into the Internet of Everywhere,” coined Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat. “The growth in mission critical IoT applications, is driving demand for connectivity with unprecedented reach, range and reliability on a global basis. This agreement marks a first for Inmarsat; enabling a mobile operator to utilise broadband roaming services on our global network.”

Not explicitly addressed in this announcement was the kind of energy it takes for a device to communicate with a satellite. It’s all very well having all this ubiquitous connectivity but if doing so knackers the battery of an IoT device that will surely be too great a price. We will be keeping our eyes peeled for an NB-IoT-sat technology announcement before long.

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  1. Avatar Stuart Browne 22/10/2016 @ 3:14 am

    IoT networks can be configured in a STAR TDM/TDMA , point to multipoint satcom architecture, with the VSAT at the “local hub” linked to the Internet via satellite. The IoT radio base station interconnected to the VSAT for backhaul, can link to hundreds of motes by UHF LoFar etc. If INMARSAT can provide transponder capacity at a low cost per bit, Vodafone will make a fortune on low bit rate links.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 23/10/2016 @ 11:14 am

      Thanks a lot Stuart, that’s really informative. Looks like satellite could be a major IoT battleground.

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