Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Globalstar launches low-power chipset for remote monitoring

Iain Morris

February 15, 2014

Satellite player Globalstar claims to have introduced the world’s lowest power-consuming satellite network chipset, saying the technology is ideally suited to a broad range of M2M devices and applications, including remote monitoring and tracking.

Because it is so energy-efficient, the STX3 – as it is called – is likely to be in demand among customers whose monitoring devices are used in remote and harsh environments.

Globalstar (Covington, LA, USA) says its engineers have shrunk the chip technology to be about a third the size of its predecessor – the STX2 – meaning it can easily be used in M2M devices and applications for cost-effective remote sensing, tracking and monitoring of items “as diverse as sheep, ships and meters”.

Its attributes also mean the STX3 can be used in hybrid GPRS/GSM-based M2M tracking, providing a back-up satellite-based communications solution in areas where mobile network reception is either patch or non-existent.
According to Globalstar’s release, Ovinto – an M2M telematics specialist based in Nevele, Belgium – is one value-added reseller that is already testing the STX3 chipset.

“We have been using the STX2 for many years as it meets our stringent requirements for reliability in even the harshest of environments including contact with explosive materials,” said Frederick Ronse, the founder and chief executive of Ovinto. “We have been testing the STX3 and see great potential in using this new technology, particularly its very long battery life.”

“Our customers want to use Ovinto Sat with the reassurance that they can go years without having to replace device batteries in wagons and containers across Europe,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mobiltex Data (Calgary, Canada) has already designed a product specifically around the STX3.

“The small size of the Globalstar STX3 transmitter module was a crucial factor that allowed Mobiltex to design a unique miniature remote pipeline monitoring product that could be mounted inside existing space-constrained enclosures,” said Tony da Costa, Mobiltex’s engineering manager. “Coupled with the excellent Globalstar simplex coverage footprint, low recurring monthly service costs, and low transmitter power requirements, the decision to use Globalstar for this product was an easy one.”

The STX3 module sends one-way data messages via Globalstar’s network after being integrated into a tracking or monitoring device.

Globalstar says that obvious use cases include dual device tracking (GSM/satellite), animal tracking, pipeline management and fleet management.

“We see a huge opportunity for value-added resellers and original equipment manufacturers to incorporate the STX3 chipset into compact and efficient communications devices targeted at a wide and fast-growing range of vertical markets,” said Jay Monroe, chief executive of Globalstar. “With its unrivalled low power consumption and small size, this chipset has the potential to accelerate the adoption of satellite-based M2M.”

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