Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Hiber global IoT satellite service

William Payne
November 14, 2019

Following its launch of two nano-satellites last year, Dutch start-up Hiber has announced that its satellite based IoT network has now gone live. Hiber's first customers will be trialling the service over the coming months with projects based in the 90% of the world that have previously lacked a network. 

Hiber says that it is unlocking a $100 billion opportunity for growth in the wider IoT market and the network will power projects that will improve people’s lives and make a positive impact on the environment.

The company justifies its new service by arguing that existing terrestrial networks (like Lora, NB-IoT or GSM) only work in urban areas, whilst traditional satellites that provide wider coverage are expensive and power hungry. Hiber's new IoT satellite service, Hiberband, is designed to transmit data of roughly text message size reliably from the world’s most hard-to-reach places for less than a dollar per month per device.

Hiber says it has over 70 customers already signed up.

An example of a project that is already using Hiberband is soil moisture monitoring, with sensors developed by Hiber partner Royal Eijkelkamp. The project helps farmers make the right irrigation decisions and reduces water waste and increasing crop yields. Through Hiberband, the project is now globally available.

Another example is beehive monitoring, with Hiberband’s technology helping to ensure successful cultivation and preservation of bee colonies globally. Bee farmers can monitor the environment inside hives anywhere on the globe using sensors connected via Hiberband, ensuring that the conditions are optimal for bee survival and honey production.

A further example is crop monitoring and post harvest monitoring. Centaur Analytics has developed an “Internet-of-Crops” platform that monitors the condition of harvests all the way from the farm to the consumer. Hiber enables Centaur to provide customers in the US and globally with updates on crop conditions no matter where they are in the world.

Laurens Groenendijk, Hiber's managing director, said, “We are extremely proud to announce that after only three years of hard work, Hiberband is the first network of its kind to become operational on a global scale. We have the team, partners, technology and regulatory building blocks in place to shortly be the industry leader. With full freedom to operate everywhere in the world, we are looking forward to supporting our customers wherever they need to be.”

Sotiris Bantas, CEO at Centaur Analytics said, “Earth’s growing population combined with climate change is placing enormous stress on the world’s food supply chain. The lack of transparency in the chain is causing about one third of the crops in the world to be wasted before consumption. Together with Hiber, we are now able to effectively monitor crops after harvest globally - no matter the location. This means that Centaur and Hiber together combat food waste and promote sustainability, while at the same time providing new business opportunities for producers, traders, and CPG companies.”

Hiber will introduce two networks, Hiberband Direct (a modem and antenna that talks directly to Hiber’s satellites) and a gateway solution, Hiberband Via, which can operate on LoRa (a network widely used for IoT connectivity), Bluetooth or WiFi. Hiber launched its first two satellites from sites in Sriharikota, India and California, USA in November and December, 2018. It will be launching its third and fourth satellites in Q1 2020 also in Sriharikota, India.