Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Iridium launches solar-powered satellite asset tracker

Steve Rogerson
August 25, 2020

Iridium Communications has announced six beta partners for an out-of-the-box satellite IoT device, the Iridium Edge Solar – an intelligent, secure and maintenance-free solar-powered remote asset management device with over-the-air configuration capabilities.
The six companies selected to participate in beta testing are CLS Telemetry, Everywhere Communications, Marlink, M2M Data, Rock Seven and Tesacom. These companies are among the 450 partners that are licensed to create Iridium network-based products.
As part of this process, Iridium Edge Solar is undergoing a multi-continent deployment that will push the device's limits for applications including vessel monitoring systems, fisheries management, asset tracking including freight and containers, oil and gas, and heavy equipment telematics data reporting.
In addition, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled smart device applications are being tested to allow users to maintain remote asset management and monitoring from their smartphone or tablet. It enables real-time, two-way communication, over-the-air configuration changes and local wireless capabilities over BLE, anywhere in the world.
"The Iridium Edge Solar is the new gold standard for the solar-powered satellite IoT device world, but at an incredibly cost-effective rate," said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president at Virginia-based Iridium. "Our beta partners will be pushing the device to its limits in a wide array of environments, ensuring it meets the industry-leading quality and reliability standards for which Iridium is known. Iridium's partners play a pivotal role in bringing our new technologies to market and we're looking forward to commercially launching Iridium Edge Solar with their help before the end of 2020."
Traditionally, solar-powered asset tracking devices have faced several challenges that would limit field life and result in questionable reliability. Through complete encapsulation of vital electronics, the Iridium Edge Solar conquers common problems such as water intrusion, limited operating temperature, long-term reliability or degraded battery capacity over time. With military-grade rugged packaging and a dual-power system, it combines solar rechargeable batteries with a separate high-capacity battery ensuring data delivery even in low-light conditions.
When combined with Iridium's global coverage, and services such as Iridium CloudConnect, which simplifies integration with Amazon Web Services, any organisation should be able to scale and deploy a solar-powered asset-tracking device rapidly anywhere on the planet for up to ten years without maintenance.
This product expands Iridium's portfolio of IoT devices beyond the company's 2017 debut finished product, Iridium Edge, with both products supporting complementary but equally important use-cases, extending connectivity beyond the reach of cellular coverage.
As of the second quarter of 2020, Iridium commercial IoT subscribers grew 20% from the year-ago period to 863,000 customers.
Iridium Communications is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.