Those of us of a certain vintage don’t have to cast our minds too far back to the days when poor connectivity on the go was a cross to bear for early adopters keen to embrace new technology first. Fast forward a few decades and “being connected” is a given in everyday business and in our personal lives. Indeed, commentators are continuing to predict global data growth in excess of 60%, with the number of smart devices expected to quadruple from five billion today, to more than 20 billion (Source: Gartner 2015) by the end of the decade. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become accepted parlance as devices such as smart thermostats mean the public have become familiar with everyday objects having network connectivity, but in order to facilitate the IoT we need what we call the Internet of Everywhere (IoEw) to power it.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the IoEw isn’t just the enhanced capability it has afforded us, but developments that are still pending – services will come into existence that we don’t even know about yet. Among the more tangible applications that the service could deliver are breakthroughs such as biometric applications to support countries and non-governmental organisations that are attempting to tackle social welfare fraud. Those of us with new-style travel documents are already familiar with how biometrics and facial recognition technology can speed up the mundane task of passport control, but it can also protect citizens’ identities using thumbprints and retinal scans to prevent fraud. Reliable connectivity is imperative to track, trace and verify this data, especially as this type of deception is most prevalent in remote rural environments with underdeveloped connectivity, which is why the satellite-powered IoEw can make such a difference.
The mining industry is already ahead of many of its peers in terms of adoption of IoT services, with reliable connectivity a must to ensure effective communications across vast sites. Such technology is not just necessary for the efficient running of vehicles and equipment, but also for protecting the most important asset of all – people. Cellular networks may be sufficient for daily operations on some sites, but in more remote locations or where safety or environmental hazards might be an issue, high-speed connectivity becomes more mission critical.
It’s not just those working in certain sectors that can benefit either – entire communities living in areas susceptible to natural disasters can take advantage of enhanced reliability. During the recent Hurricane Matthew in Florida, one inventive man unable to get hold of his grandmother due to phone lines being down and the emergency services being overwhelmed enlisted the services of a Papa John’s pizza delivery man to check on his elderly relative. Ingenious as this ruse was, it wouldn’t have been necessary if the right communications capabilities were in place, benefitting not just the public afflicted by such events, but also assisting the emergency services, international aid agencies and the military in their rescue operations.
Against this backdrop, a dropped call or an interrupted Netflix session may seem somewhat immaterial, but connectivity is important to everyone for different reasons. However, beyond being merely convenient or making life easier, satellite technology can actually save lives by keeping people connected.
About the author
Paul joined Inmarsat in 2007 after 10 years in the British Army. Initially taking up a position within the Government team focused on Business Development, over the next four years Paul managed a growing number of partners across land, sea and air verticals (government and commercial) before eventually taking on the management of the Key Partners Team. In 2011, Paul moved into a sales management position within the Maritime Business Unit and in late 2014 he moved into the Enterprise Business Unit to run the Channel Sales, Solutions Engineering, Sales Operations and Sector Development teams.