Hiber starts trials of “world first” satellite IoT network
Date:2019-11-06number of visits:537 time

Netherlands based nanosatellite operator Hiber has started commercial trials of what it claims is the world’s first satellite IoT network.

Hiber will introduce two networks, Hiberband Direct (a modem + antenna that talks directly to Hiber’s satellites) and a gateway solution, Hiberband Via, which can operate on LoRaWAN, Bluetooth or WiFi. In September 2018 it announced a partnership with Actility to provide connectivity via LoRaWAN.

Hiber launched its first two satellites from sites in India and California in November and December 2018. It will be launching its third and fourth satellites from India in Q1 2020.

Hiber says its first customers will be trialling the service over the coming months with projects based in the 90 percent of the world that has previously lacked a network.

“Hiber is unlocking a $[US]100bn opportunity for growth in the wider IoT market and the network will power projects working hard to improve people’s lives and make a positive impact on the environment,” it says.

“Hiberband is disrupting global connectivity by empowering individuals and organisations to reliably transmit data (text message size) from the world’s most hard-to-reach places for less than a dollar per month per device with its state of the art end-to-end service.”

IoTAustralia earlier this year reported Hiber claiming it would use a process up to 20 times cheaper than existing global solutions, by transferring data from modems and antennas owned by customers directly to the nano-satellites, and back to earth via two existing earth stations in Spitsbergen in Norway and Delft in the Netherlands.

More than 70 customers signed up

The company claims to have already signed up more than 70 customers and says use cases to trial the network include:

  • Soil moisture monitoring – “Monitoring soil moisture levels in rural agricultural areas can identify anomalies that indicate severe issues, such as drought. For example, Royal Eijkelkamp is solving issues such as food security, climate adaptation and the reduction of drought caused by migration through soil and water research with the help of Hiberband.”
  • Beehive monitoring – Bees have been facing the threat of extinction for more than fifteen years, and Hiberband’s technology will be instrumental in ensuring successful cultivation and preservation of bee colonies, as well as the planet. Bee farmers can monitor the environment inside hives via Hiberband, ensuring that the conditions are optimal.”
  • Crop monitoring/post-harvest – “Monitoring crops will help agricultural projects located in rural and harsh environments reduce food waste and spoiled crops. Centaur for example has developed an ‘Internet-of-Crops’ platform that maintains the pristine 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 storage no matter where they are in the world.”
Meanwhile … Kepler gears up for Internet in space

Canada-based Kepler Communications, which says it is “on a mission to build the Internet in space … though a constellation of data-relaying satellites that will act as in-space cell phone towers,” has opened early-access registration for its IoT developer kit that will be available for purchase in Q1 2020. A limited number of early trials will be provided.

It says the kit will provide early access to its planned satellite narrowband connectivity service “designed to provide a truly-global and affordable satellite service that will support IoT services such as asset tracking and monitoring sensors anywhere on the planet.”

Kepler has two demonstration satellites in orbit that it says are providing high-capacity data transfer service to a number of early customers and is planning to place approximately 140 satellites in LEO orbits in three phases, from 2020 to 2023.