Unidata continues to research new technologies. Over the last 2 years we have been working with a significant European company which has developed a low cost low power satellite communications system for the global IoT market.
As we are constrained by non-disclosure agreements we cannot provide the specific details until release date in September, however this new development is a significant technology breakthrough and one which we believe will be a game changer in our industry.
The significant difference in the new microsatellite approach is significantly lower cost, as the spacecraft used is a microsatellite, a little larger than a brief case, which is launched using lower cost rocket technology.
The subscription approach is also new, with the need to purchase forward credits, much like a pre-paid plan for a cell phone company. With this approach the administration overhead is also very low, resulting in a very low cost subscription, approaching the cost of terrestrial based cell phone subscriptions.
The frequency spectrum used is also different, in the VHF band, and this band has better penetration which simplifies the antenna systems.
Unidata are a trial partner for the European company. We are working on modems and hardware and software integration at the moment and we will be an early trial partner. We hope to finalise the trials in the next 6 months, after which time we will offer this microsatellite service. It will especially suit such applications as remote tank monitoring and remote bore hole monitoring, where the frequency of messages is relatively low.
Using such systems in a flood monitoring application will be a significant benefit. Monitoring systems can be battery powered and the communications infrastructure is in.
Unidata also hopes that the cell phone companies will continue to offer reduced tariffs for these much lower bandwidth 4g LTE modems because the impact / the load on the cell phone network is orders of magnitude less that the high bandwidth users.