LoRa® direct-to-satellite is game-changing


The radical developments in connectivity over the last few years have delivered extensive benefits for many industries, especially those with far-reaching infrastructure or assets on the move. Using remote monitoring technology to send and receive data and manage operational activity has improved cost-efficiency, productivity and safety.

Very recently, another significant step has been taken in how these devices transfer data – using direct-to-satellite networks.

In this blog, we explore why this latest low-power, long-range direct-to-satellite innovation is game-changing.

A brief look back at machine-to-machine (M2M) data transfer

It may surprise you that we have been exchanging information between machines since the early 20th century. Of course, this form of connectivity was way before cellular coverage or Wi-Fi and instead used wired connections but could still be considered M2M communication.

However, it was the development of technology such as SCADA and remote monitoring, which uses machine learning and AI in software applications, that enabled us to control industry operations offsite. With the advent of cellular technology and Wi-Fi, used more widely in the early 2000s, companies could leverage wireless connectivity as a more cost-efficient and faster solution.

Then, as internet technology advanced, we saw the development of IoT – a way of connecting several devices to one another and to the cloud.

The connectivity conundrum

IoT has massive potential for industries, particularly those with infrastructure stretching over wide areas or assets on the move. However, this potential has been slowed by the connectivity conundrum. Wired connections are not practical, while wireless options, such as cellular coverage, are not always available in hard-to-reach areas.

In 2009, the idea of low-power, long-range modulation technology began to evolve. In 2015, the LoRa Alliance® was formed, and a new way of wirelessly connecting battery operated ‘things’ to the internet was standardised. Using low battery power and easy-to-install deployments meant that businesses could connect assets in hard-to-reach places quicker and more cost-efficiently. The long-range of LoRa® also extended the distance over which data could be transferred.

The involvement of satellite services

Satellite enabled the coverage of LoRa® to be extended further. Providing a backhauling option to send and receive data from IoT devices, using satellite data services, such as our EM MOMENTUM™ and EM SYNERGY™, traditional LoRa® deployments had a robust and scalable option for connectivity in remote areas.

LoRa® is now deployed in over 180 countries, using its data transfer technology to deliver the benefits of IoT.

The next step forward: direct-to-satellite LoRa® networks

This year, EchoStar Mobile released the first direct-to-satellite, LoRa®-compatible pan-European IoT network, unlocking further potential of massive IoT.

For the first time, businesses can leverage uninterrupted, real-time access to data seamlessly across country borders, without the need for additional infrastructure. Its bi-directional communication capability also means that critical data and commands can be sent and received to IoT devices for reliable remote management of widely distributed assets.

The industry benefits of direct-to-satellite LoRa® networks

Our direct-to-satellite LoRa® network will be a game-changer for many industries.

For example, this technology can track moving assets as they are transported across regions and through physical barriers with no need for multiple licences or cumbersome roaming agreements. The IoT devices can use LoRa® to send and receive critical operational data, such as location, product quality or vehicle efficiency, in real-time.

Infrastructure that stretches across borders, such as pipelines or utility cables, can be remotely monitored, ensuring optimum performance while quickly troubleshooting without needing an onsite visit. As the infrastructure reaches out of terrestrial range, our pan-European LoRa®-compatible IoT network provides ubiquitous, reliable coverage. No matter the location, the connectivity offered by our new network solution is resilient, leveraging our S-band satellite coverage to provide high data capacity and minimum latency.

Our EM2050 OEM module has also been designed to offer a more cost-efficient service, using dual-mode terrestrial and satellite capability to connect to more affordable local terrestrial networks if available or required.

The set-up and maintenance costs of LoRa® modules are also low, delivering further benefits in cost efficiency. Meanwhile, their quick and easy deployment enables the rapid scalability needed to support fast-growing businesses.

It’s a solution that offers advantages for many industries. As well as transportation and logistics, pipelines and utilities, it also provides significant value to the agriculture and maritime sectors, which have previously faced connectivity challenges.

Connectivity is no longer a conundrum; we now have ubiquitous connectivity capability.

Please download our whitepaper to learn more about the game-changing benefits of our direct-to-satellite, pan-European LoRa®-Enabled IoT Network.