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Friday, September 28, 2018

Iridium teams with Amazon Web Services for satellite IoT

By Nick Flaherty

Iridium Communications is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to tackle the challenges of using satellite links for the Internet of Things.

Low data rate sensors are a suitable candidate for satellite links, especially in rural areas and the 80% of the Earth's surface that doesn't have cellular coverage, but the latency and timing is a major issue.

Iridium CloudConnect should be the first satellite cloud-based solution that offers global coverage for Internet of Things (IoT) applications when it launches 2019.

Iridium has a constellation of 66 crosslinked satellites and is completing a $3 billion project to replace its entire original satellite constellation with new satellites, known as Iridium NEXT. Seven launches have taken place with launch provider SpaceX, delivering 65 new satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), with the final launch of 10 satellites planned for later in 2018. Upon completion, a total of 75 Iridium NEXT satellites will have been delivered to space, with 66 in the active constellation and nine serving as on-orbit spares. The LEO architecture has much shorter signal transit times than geostationary satellite systems, giving lower latencies.

Through CloudConnect, Iridium customers will be able to take advantage of AWS IoT, while existing AWS customers will have a cost-effective way to expand their geographic IoT footprint to anywhere on the globe.

According to IHSMarkit the global IoT is expected to continue rapid growth to approximately 75 billion devices by 2025. 

 AWS IoT will create a simplified process for companies to integrate Iridium's satellite reach with AWS, increasing speed to market. Through this arrangement, customers will be able to reduce engineering efforts, lower fixed operating costs, and reduce time to develop new products and services, through the power and capabilities of AWS IoT.

The Iridium IoT service has approximately 630,000 active devices as of June 30, 2018, growing at 19 percent a year over the last three years. Each existing Iridium partner will be able to rapidly adopt AWS services though the automated translation of the Iridium network's proprietary protocols and industry standard IoT protocols supported by AWS IoT, to and from the appropriate devices and databases.

"Iridium CloudConnect will completely change the speed at which a satellite IoT solution can be deployed and will allow existing AWS customers to keep everything the same on the back end, while opening up the opportunity to quickly expand their coverage," said Matt Desch, CEo of Inridium. "This is a major disruption for satellite IoT. Costs will drop, time to market will speed up, risk will be reduced, and AWS IoT customers that choose Iridium CloudConnect can now enjoy true global connectivity for their solutions."

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