New satellite IoT gateway deployed to fight poaching in Africa

Ground Control has developed a new satellite IoT gateway and trialled it in Central Africa as part of an exercise to combat poaching of endangered and monitored wildlife.

Ground Control, which describes itself as a satellite focused, IoT and M2M critical communications connectivity provider (try saying that after a couple) worked with an organisation called Digital Forest UK to deploy its new IoT gateway in Gabon, Central Africa. The gateway is supposed to enable more efficient transmission of ‘even larger data payloads from very remote locations’ to deliver a ‘lower cost message-based transfer.’

In the trial the satellite IoT gateway enabled Digital Forest to integrate two-way messaging into its systems via something called RockREMOTE, which transfers 100kb of data per message (large enough for compressed images, apparently).

They were then able to transmit satellite images in real-time to rangers tasked with catching illegal poachers, whereas prior to this its image capture methods only allowed them to analyse data retrospectively – by which point presumably the poachers had moved about.

“The new satellite IoT gateway answers many of the questions that have been posed for a number of years now, namely, to capture and transmit larger payloads of data without the traditionally associated cost burdens,” said Alastair MacLeod, CEO of Ground Control. “This is primarily because RockREMOTE works to package and compress messages prior to transmission, to minimize the amount of data sent. Additionally, as the data is transmitted on demand, it uses less power and is ideal for mission critical data analysis from extreme and remote locations.”

Robin Whytock, for Digital Forest UK added: “We’ve worked with Ground Control for many years and their products and supporting services have never failed to deliver. It’s very reassuring working with a company that designs, builds and supports every aspect of their products.”

It’s all good stuff, and goes to support the idea that improving/more affordable satellite connectivity tech and the various comms products around it can be aimed at very specific and niche problems around the world and throw up some solutions.

As we’ve noted before, there’s has been something of a step change in the satellite connectivity sector over the last couple of years, with many firms now involved in one way shape or form, including RakutenOneWebAmazonLynk,  T-MobileSpaceXNokiaEutelsatTelefónica, Sateliot, InmarsatGalaxySpaceBoeingVerizon, and Softbank.

However large the market turns out to be commercially remains to be seen – something like the above example certainly can’t be scaled very much, surely. Which is fine, but with the large amount of companies throwing lots of money into the space, it does beg the question of how many of them are going to be able to turn a profit.


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