“If you have a coverage map, you aren’t global,” said Tim Last, VP & GM M2M Business at Iridium when I asked why the company’s M2M/IoT business was growing so fast. The company’s customers span most major markets such as enterprise, industrial, government, maritime, aviation, fleet management, asset tracking, environment and Cathodic protection or pipelines. The company’s satellite–based solutions help industries that have global assets which need tracking.
He also showed me the new Iridium Edge (coming soon), a solution which is like a fixed-site telemetry device – it can be used for secondary connectivity to back up cellular. What is more exciting though is Iridium Next which is the largest commercial satellite project in the world. They are launching 72 satellites in the next 18 months but only need 66 so yes, 6 are spares. This replaces the twenty-year old Constellation network. In addition, bandwidth will go from 160 kbps to 1.4 Mbps.
In other very exciting news, the company’s new spin-off Aireon will allow real-time commercial and airline surveillance and this could be a very big deal. Today, air traffic control uses vertical and horizontal separation to ensure flight safety. Often this means planes need to fly through turbulence or strong headwinds just so there is a margin of error for flight safety.
With real-time surveillance you can bring them closer together saving time and money.
There is lots of great news here, we can expect much more efficient flights as well as better IoT connectivity for all our devices which have line-of-sight to the sky. We may even see an end to flight turbulence which is never a bad thing.
The bottom line is the world is getting smaller by the day.