Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Iridium IoT platform increases asset tracking coverage

Steve Rogerson
June 6, 2017

Satellite company Iridium Communications has launched a global asset tracking, safety and fleet management device. Plug-and-play based Iridium Edge enables companies of all sizes to expand their IoT applications beyond cellular coverage.
With more than 80 per cent of the earth lacking cellular connectivity, Iridium Edge could help companies create a reliable, global IoT service.
It has already been approved for use in major global markets, including the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia with additional markets planned for adding satellite connectivity to cellular-based applications, or as a fixed location satellite-based monitoring device.
The global nature of the device extends the range of coverage to remote locations, providing reliable connectivity and allowing companies to take advantage of opportunities in countries or regions previously less accessible.
“We’ve heard from many partners who are eager to expand their IoT applications to parts of the world where they don’t currently exist, but may not be able to justify the business case to develop that themselves,” said Tim Last, vice president and general manager of IoT at Iridium. “Iridium Edge has reduced that barrier to adoption and is as easy to integrate as existing cellular on the market today, with one key difference, adding Iridium Edge takes them global.”
He said the cost and development effort of adding satellite to cellular had been reduced, and the simplicity of integrating Iridium Edge with existing services created an opportunity for extending IoT to the rest of the world not currently served by reliable connectivity.
The rugged, environmentally sealed device can withstand harsh outdoor conditions, typical of remote, unattended installations. Configured through a user-friendly interface, the device contains a robust automotive power supply, an Iridium modem and certified antenna, housed in a 130 by 80 by 30mm waterproof enclosure.
Due to the design of the Iridium constellation, with a network of inter-connected satellites creating a web of coverage, Iridium Edge can provide connectivity while avoiding blockage problems commonly associated with other satellite services. Blockage mitigation is especially important in mobile terrestrial deployments as many global fleets operate in various conditions, including mountainous or occluded urban environments.
To date, Iridium partners, such as CalAmp, have integrated Iridium Edge with their product portfolio. CalAmp’s services using Iridium Edge will allow companies to deploy dual-mode asset management and tracking capabilities. This integration will let its customers extend the tracking range of their mobile assets to remote areas lacking terrestrial infrastructure.
“We are excited to be a part of bringing Iridium Edge to the market,” said Justin Schmid, senior vice president and general manager of the telematics systems business at CalAmp. “It is easy to use, and we are excited for the opportunities it will bring our customers with asset tracking and management needs that reach beyond existing cellular networks. Customers who may have been hesitant to add a satellite-based solution due to cost or time requirements have another option.”
Iridium Edge is compatible with the original Iridium constellation as well as the Virginia company’s next-generation constellation, Iridium Next. The new constellation will also enable Iridium Certus, the company’s communications platform supporting a portfolio of critical communications for all industry verticals.
Certus IoT capabilities will include faster speeds and higher throughputs, delivering low-latency satellite connectivity for tracking, monitoring, data and voice, and asset management.