Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Iridium and AWS collaborate on satellite IoT coverage

Steve Rogerson
October 4, 2018

Iridium is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to simplify the adoption of IoT beyond cellular coverage. The Virginia-based satellite communications company said this would help lower barriers to adoption and implementation.
Iridium has joined the AWS partner network and has been collaborating with AWS on the development of Iridium CloudConnect, a satellite cloud-based system that provides global coverage for IoT applications. Enabled by the Iridium network, and planned for launch in 2019, this will make Iridium IoT services available with AWS IoT, extending the reach of AWS’s suite of services to the more than 80 per cent of the Earth that lacks cellular coverage.
Iridium customers will be able to take advantage of AWS IoT, while existing AWS customers will have a cost-effective way to expand their geographic IoT footprint to anywhere on the globe.
According to IHS Markit, the global IoT is expected to continue rapid growth to approximately 75 billion devices by 2025. To keep pace with this predicted rapid expansion, businesses, governments and other organisations should be able to expand their IoT-based services cost-effectively, globally and reliably through CloudConnect.
A first for the satellite industry, AWS IoT will create a simplified process for companies to integrate Iridium’s satellite reach with AWS, increasing speed to market. Through this arrangement, users will be able to reduce engineering efforts, lower fixed operating costs, and reduce time to develop products and services.

With approximately 630,000 active devices as of June 2018, Iridium’s IoT subscribers have grown at a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 19 per cent over the past three years. As a result of this arrangement, each existing Iridium partner will be able to adopt AWS services due to the automated translation of the Iridium network’s proprietary protocols and standard IoT protocols supported by AWS IoT to and from the appropriate devices and databases.
“Iridium CloudConnect will completely change the speed at which a satellite IoT can be deployed and will allow existing AWS customers to keep everything the same on the back end, while opening up the opportunity to quickly expand their coverage,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “This is a major disruption for satellite IoT. Costs will drop, time to market will speed up, risk will be reduced, and AWS IoT customers that choose Iridium CloudConnect can now enjoy true global connectivity.”
Through its constellation of 66 cross-linked satellites, Iridium has global coverage and is suitable for IoT applications. The company is in the homestretch of its $3bn initiative to replace its entire original satellite constellation with new satellites, known as Iridium Next. To date, seven launches have taken place with launch provider Space X, delivering 65 satellites to low Earth orbit, with the final launch of ten satellites planned for later this year. Upon completion, 75 Iridium Next satellites will have been delivered to space, with 66 in the active constellation and nine serving as on-orbit spares.
Express Logic, provider of the X-Ware IoT platform powered by the Thread X real-time operating system, has announced turnkey integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Greengrass software, extending the current direct X-Ware IoT platform support for AWS.