Low Orbit Satellites to Provide Low Cost Connectivity for IoT

Ludovic Privat

Tiny devices to transmit data to and from some of the world’s most remote locations are set to revolutionise machine-to-machine communications.

New company Myriota has formed to commercialise technology developed by the University of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications Research.

It will use low earth orbit satellites to provide two-way data connectivity for remote sensors and devices for industries such as oil and gas exploration, agriculture, environmental monitoring and defence where there is a need to access little pieces of data in very remote locations.

Industry analysts have estimated that global M2M revenue will grow to $1.2 trillion by 2022.

Myriota chief executive officer Alex Grant said there was an unmet need for collecting data from remote areas at an affordable price point that brought down the cost by at least a factor of 10.

“There might be a remote cattle station that has hundreds of different watering points and you’d like to know there’s water in them or is my fence still intact or perhaps you want to do some livestock tracking to know where your herd is,” Dr Grant said.

Low Orbit Satellites to Provide Low Cost Connectivity for IoT
“There were existing satellite services in place but they were expensive in terms of the device needed on the ground and the service fee to access satellite. That might be OK for your broadband service in the outback but it’s not OK if you just want to know if your gate is open.”

The South Australian company will use the first half of 2016 further developing prototype devices into a consumer product it can take to market.

Myriota has partnered with Canadian company exactEarth, which invested AUD$2 million in the startup and will provide access to its constellation of 8 low earth orbit satellites.

The exactEarth constellation is currently used to track 160,000 vessels at sea using The Automatic Identification System (AIS), a mandatory transmission system used on ships, most notably for collision avoidance and tracking.

“That partnership has given us a very rapid pathway to offering this service potentially globally very quickly,” Dr Grant said.

“The first generation (of devices) will be something like the size of a credit card. The second generation in subsequent years will be a further miniaturisation to really open up the set of applications for collecting the data.


“Not only do we need to show the technology working, we need to show the benefit of having access to the data where there is currently no access.

“We think there’s a market segment that is currently not really served and that is really an opportunity and it’s quite exciting - we believe we have a technology edge and one that is addressing a latent market that is really waiting for an economic solution.“

Comments (1)
1. Allan Gibbons on 11/26/2015 10:10 PM
Dr Grant please contact me.
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