Enabling Global Connectivity with Satellite

By: John Gagliardo

As companies continue to expand globally, they’re looking for partners and services that can support them wherever their business takes them. This global expansion shines light on the challenges that arise when trying to stay connected everywhere. Whether you’re tracking a shipment, monitoring remote workers or simply trying to send an email, achieving worldwide connectivity might seem like an easy feat via terrestrial and cellular networks, but the reality is that these networks only cover less than 20 percent of the Earth. When their business takes them outside of this coverage area, many are turning to satellite operators to provide the ubiquitous coverage they need.

A use case in M2M and the Internet of Things

One area where the satellite industry has seen an exceptional amount of growth is in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. With less than 20 percent of the Earth’s surface covered by terrestrial networks, a much more comprehensive backbone – a satellite backbone – is necessary to support M2M. The sheer increase in devices and market value in the recent past is impressive, but even more interesting is the increasing variety, location and intelligence of things on these networks. M2M will span the entire globe – from the deep seas, to the skies above, to remote locations like the Mongolian steppe. And satellite is playing a pivotal role in this expansion. M2M and its applications are one of the most rapidly-growing sectors for satellite. By extending the reach of M2M beyond highly-populated terrestrial areas to remote regions of the world, satellite communications is shaping the future of M2M.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), fleet and vehicle tracking, heavy equipment, utility and oil and gas are a few spaces that stand to benefit from this globalization. All are driven by growth in infrastructure, energy and natural resources worldwide, and as demand continues to increase, resources must be secured in more remote places. The often transient nature of these projects also entails a higher level of logistics for tracking involved assets and managing tasks as operations move from one place to another, which satellite also addresses. Satellite networks increase the ability to deploy services and the ubiquity of these applications, while also helping to drive down the cost of equipment.

One ground-breaking example of satellite communications in employee safety monitoring is the Loner Bridge System by Blackline GPS. The Loner Bridge System uses cellular and satellite networks to monitor the safety of workers in remote or isolated locations.  If an accident occurs, the system provides accurate location and safety information to managers or designated alert recipients, significantly improving emergency response times. With a low-latency, reliable, and global network providing the satellite uplink complementing the cellular connection, Blackline GPS empowers organizations to improve the outcomes of workers who find themselves in distress or injured while on the job.  

Another example comes from CalAmp, a leading provider of wireless products, services and solutions that give OEMs M2M services. Through their LMU-4520 Series device, CalAmp delivers a communications solution that enables companies in the heavy equipment, agriculture, forestry, mining and construction industries to track and monitor equipment providing greater communications access globally. As companies continue to expand, explore and develop their business in more remote regions, they will be able to rely on satellite communications to track equipment and communicate with workers even in the furthest reaching corners of the world.

Satellite operators integrate their core technologies into these kinds of solutions, extending M2M communications to anywhere in the world. We’re seeing the companies using our technologies developing incredibly innovative and high-value M2M solutions, and ones that are making a significant impact on the business as well as the end users they support.


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