According to research firm Gartner, more than 20 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. From connected vehicles to connected homes, the Internet of Things (IoT) promises a host of benefits for industry and consumers.
But what communications technology is prepared to handle 20 billion connections — with some emanating from planes over oceans, a pipeline across desolate tundra or an oil platform in the North Sea?
No single technology or company can reach all the possible markets and customers — while handling the flood of connections required and mounds of data that will be captured.
Given the ubiquity of space-based communications, satellite technology will play a critical role in supporting the development of the IoT sector and realizing the full potential of interconnected devices.
This is why satellite operators are investing and collaborating to develop services and hardware that can enable IoT. At the same time, operators are making sure satellite-based solutions can be easily integrated into hybrid networks that combine fiber, wireless networks and satellite to best serve the IoT sector and customers at all levels.
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Now, NSR estimates that by 2023 there will be 5.8 million machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT connections via satellite worldwide. Combined with new technologies that generate low cost-per-bit connectivity, the satellite industry is redefining the solutions it can provide to address the largest communications requirement our world has ever known.
Satellite-enabled IoT is currently dominated by narrowband providers, such as L-band. However, with the advent of high-throughput Ku-band and Ka-band satellite connections, the capabilities in orbit have created a broadband superhighway in space — easily handling the potential volume of opportunity in the IoT and M2M sectors.