ABI Research report, Satellite in IoT: New Satellite Networks for New Wave of IoT Investment application analysis report, predicts that satellites will play an important role in the growth of IoT deployments, particularly in application verticals, such as agriculture and asset tracking, that are dealing with the unreliability of terrestrial infrastructures.
The researcher predicts that by 2024, satellites will enable 24 million IoT connections globally.
“Terrestrial cellular networks only cover 20% of the Earth’s surface, while satellite networks can cover the entire surface of the globe, from pole to pole,” says Harriet Sumnall, Research Analyst at ABI Research. "The expansion of the satellite constellations that are currently in orbit and those due to take place will allow for connectivity to be more global. While the market using satellite connection is still immature, it shows great opportunities for growth.”
The application segments that are expected to see significant growth include agriculture, asset tracking, maritime tracking, and aviation tracking. However, these are burdened by the lack of terrestrial infrastructures available within their location.
In the short-term, constellations of nano-satellites armed with Software Defined Radio technology may offer high-end tracking capabilities. At least that is the theory. But competition is coming in the form of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites from vendors like Amazon and SpaceX. These are anticipated to provide more cost-effective than the larger traditional satellites, such as Inmarsat and GlobalStar, for these applications.
The conventional satellite providers will not only have to consider driving their prices down to become more competitive than the newcomers but also be sure they stay relevant within the market.
“Once the market becomes more successful and has matured, the pricing strategies will drop overall, allowing the satellite IoT connectivity options to compete against terrestrial connectivity options,” Sumnall concludes.