Industry Thought Leadership

Connecting Remote Assets in IoT Networks

December, 2019
SVP IoT Business


Across all industries, enterprises are fast harnessing the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and billions of remote assets will soon be connected to increase productivity, reduce costs, and create new revenue streams, in ways previously unthinkable. From industrial applications, like the monitoring of power plants and oil and gas pipelines, to Smart Cities, farming, point-of-sales, and the latest security solutions; from highly valuable industrial assets to the smallest devices - data will power the world of tomorrow.

Today, however, many enterprises don’t have access to a global, reliable IoT connectivity service. They are unable to reach remote assets due to insufficient coverage, or prohibitively expensive solutions. Terrestrial networks only cover 15% of the Earth’s surface, albeit 50% of the land mass. While this is acceptable for consumer voice and data requirements, it’s far from sufficient for objects in remote environments. Satellite technology is the ideal complement to terrestrial IoT networks, providing a truly ubiquitous coverage, however previous solutions were too expensive and complex to deploy.

Connectivity was not always within reach for every enterprise – until now. In 2019, Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, entered the satellite IoT market, proposing a portfolio of satellite IoT offerings, with new satellite technologies to extend the coverage of terrestrial IoT networks.

The Internet of Things will connect billions of assets
As customer expectations become increasingly demanding, and delivery technologies push the art of the possible, the need to connect remote assets which exchange data with cloud-based applications and solutions has massive implications for enterprises. With more data from more sources, and faster data processing, the business opportunities enabled by IoT are limitless. Consequently, the number of connected assets is forecast to grow massively, from 8.3 billion in 2019 to 21.5 billion in 2025 (IoT Analytics Research 2018).

With such a diverse range of industries concerned, from telecoms, to oil and gas, agriculture and banking, assets must be connected on very remote objects, however, the vast majority do not require high-speed communication and the amount of data exchanged is small, typically ranging from a few to a few hundred Megabytes per month per asset. Nevertheless, connecting remote assets remains a challenge. Terrestrial networks – whether wired or wireless – are far from ubiquitous. They are designed to connect people and as such, only cover the more populated places. But assets can be located anywhere, including rural and environmentally-challenging territories such as mountains, deserts, or at sea, and dispersed across multiple territories. In these situations, where secure, guaranteed, cost-effective connectivity is just as essential, satellite is the only technology capable of delivering reliable connectivity to these assets.

Redefining the rules of global IoT connectivity
Eutelsat will be at the core of the Internet of Things revolution, connecting businesses to assets in ways not possible before. Through a global fleet of geostationary satellites, and soon via a unique constellation of Low-Earth Orbit nanosatellites, Eutelsat is redefining the rules of global IoT connectivity. Whether fixed or on the move, across land and ocean, Eutelsat will revolutionise the way businesses access and use data from assets, no matter where they are deployed, in a simple and affordable way.

IoT FIRST is Eutelsat’s inaugural IoT service. A simple, innovative satellite-based IP connectivity solution, it is designed to connect businesses to remote assets, anywhere, inexpensively. Whether you need to monitor industrial pipelines, or connect rural ATMs, Eutelsat IoT FIRST enables enterprises to transmit data between remote assets and the cloud, ensuring faster, more efficient and more reliable communications than any other method.

In the second half of 2020, Eutelsat will expand its portfolio of IoT solutions to the mobility market, enabling enterprises to connect assets on the move, addressing verticals like transportation and logistics, automotive and maritime industries.

IoT FIRST – simple, inexpensive IoT connectivity via satellite
IoT FIRST is a simple, integrated solution delivering two-way IP connectivity between remote assets and the cloud. Leveraging shared platforms for space and ground segments, IoT FIRST is based on Eutelsat’s own and partners’ technologies. Designed to meet the specific IoT technical & business requirements, terminals have low power consumption with advanced power saving modes, and operate with small, inexpensive antenna. The hub has high spectral efficiency with no data overheads and can support hundreds of thousands of terminals.

The bundled, turnkey service, with a single subscription fee, is proposed at the lowest price-point of alternative satellite-based solutions, in the range of cellular IoT connectivity services. Unlike traditional VSAT terminals, the integrated solution includes a compact, low-power satellite terminal, Ku-band satellite capacity, and an IoT-dedicated hub, operated and managed by Eutelsat. Terminals are easily and rapidly installed and configured via an interactive Smartphone app. A web-based portal and API enables customers to manage their connectivity service and terminals.

In addition to satellite’s inherent advantages of ubiquitous, secure, resilient communications, IoT FIRST operates as a private satellite network, with outstanding SLA’s and 24x7 support. Advanced networking features including IPSec encryption, VRF/VLAN, Public IP and embedded crypto-core.

Eutelsat IoT FIRST enables enterprises to focus their time and resources on their core business, rather than asset connectivity. It’s ideal for enterprises to connect fixed assets such as smart meters, ATMs, and alarms, or service operators to backhaul IoT networks, offload IoT traffic from LTE links, and deliver IoT connectivity outside licensed territories.

Transforming millions of businesses across the globe
IoT has become critical for enterprises to stay in business and thrive, and the market represents a massive growth opportunity for IoT solution providers. For critical assets and infrastructures located in remote environments, a connection beyond terrestrial network coverage is needed to ensure a highly reliable, resilient communication channel.

Satellite has unique advantages to connect IoT assets, offering truly ubiquitous coverage which can reach objects with limited or no access to terrestrial networks. It is highly reliable with guaranteed SLA’s and delivers a consistent service across the coverage. Combining satellite technology with terrestrial IoT will be key to accessing the economies of scale required to deploy global IoT, extending the reach of terrestrial IoT cellular networks with ubiquitous, global coverage across land and sea.

Eutelsat’s IoT services enable service providers to broaden and differentiate their portfolio of services with offerings designed and optimised for IoT. With IoT FIRST, service providers can offer an extensive, reliable, low-power, inexpensive IoT service, enabling them to grow revenue and margins immediately with ready-to-sell IoT connectivity solutions.