Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Astrocast announces three nanosatellite pilots at CES

Steve Rogerson
January 8, 2019



At this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Swiss company Astrocast is announcing the launch of three pilots of its low-Earth-orbit nanosatellite network for IoT applications such as asset tracking.
 
The pilots with Actia, Marine Instruments and Swiss Fresh Water highlight the power of satellite networks to deliver affordable communications to the world’s most remote areas. Designed for IoT, the two-way system allows companies to monitor and control their remote assets, including over-the-air upgrades at lower latency and cost than existing satellite communications networks.
 
Astrocast is showing its satellites and Astronode communications module in the Westgate IoT Infrastructure Pavilion on stand 2221.
 
“Our onboard telematics equipment is designed to support some of the toughest work, in the most remote areas of the world,” said Philippe Cabon, CTO of Actia. “Agriculture, construction and transportation companies are among the many companies relying on us to keep connected vehicles. Astrocast will help us to connect vehicles everywhere.”
 
Only ten per cent of the world is covered by cellular networks and less than one per cent is covered by IoT networks such as LoRaWan or Sigfox. With the launch of its first L-band, two-way communications nanosatellite in December, Astrocast plans to deliver global accessibility at an affordable price.
 
Satellite communications can be cost prohibitive for many companies. This lets small companies such as Swiss Fresh Water, that brings water purification to remote villages around the world, monitor their machines from anywhere.
 
“When we started this project, we knew we had the right tools and technology to bring clean water to the world,” said Jean-Luc Mossier, executive chairman of Swiss Fresh Water. “Our water stations are at the centre of some very remote villages and are a lifeline to those communities. With Astrocast, we can make sure these treatment machines are producing clean drinking water and remotely perform maintenance to ensure their operations.”
 
Astrocast is a nanosatellite network of 64 CubeSats designed to transmit and receive low bandwidth data from IoT devices. It delivers:

  • 100% coverage of the globe including remote areas;
  • Low latency low-Earth-orbit network;
  • Two-way communications;
  • L and S band frequencies;
  • Communication module smaller than a credit card designed in partnership with Airbus;
  • 256bit encryption with multi-level security; and
  • Web application for monitoring assets and subscription plan.
“It is very important for our customers to be able to track and monitor their marine buoys, especially deep at sea and in extreme conditions,” said Francisco Pino, co-owner of Marine Instruments. “Our collaboration with Astrocast will make monitoring and controlling IoT devices in remote areas more feasible, especially when the area is hundreds of thousands of nautical miles wide.”
 
The Astrocast pilots will continue throughout the first quarter of 2019.
 
“The growth of IoT devices for commercial purposes is outpacing anything the analysts predicted,” said Fabien Jordan, CEO of Astrocast. “And in many cases these devices are performing tasks that are impacting the lives of entire populations. Astrocast is helping make world changing new IoT applications possible.”
 
Airbus and Astrocast have developed a low-cost ASIC and module that provides a power efficient satellite modem for IoT applications. The constellation will consist of 64 CubeSat satellites in low-Earth-orbit and will provide low latency global coverage. Astrocast was founded in 2014 by the developers of Swiss Cube, one of the longest lasting, operational nanosatellites in space.