Conservation work and environmental research in remote regions of Africa and South America are just two areas set to benefit from a new Inmarsat partnership.
The appointment of Stream Communications as an Inmarsat M2M distribution partner will see global satellite machine-to-machine services offered alongside GPRS, 3G and 4G technologies.
Stream is recognised for its technical strength in the design and development of end-to-end network services in the mainstream M2M sector.
More than providing connectivity in areas with little or no terrestrial coverage, satellite M2M services offer insurance against accidental or deliberate mobile network outages.
Stream will develop 'drop-in' networks with its existing cellular network operator partners to provide local area wide wireless connectivity in remote areas.
These would rely on satellite as a backhaul option, together with or as a standalone alternative to existing GSM-based and fixed-line backhaul solutions.
So cost-effective, reliable M2M data services will be available for applications such as monitoring and protection of endangered wildlife in Africa, environmental research in the rainforests of South America, or delivering support and safety services to workers mining in remote areas of Asia.
“Our partnership with Inmarsat will combine GSM and satellite technology to deliver anytime, anywhere M2M,” said Nigel Chadwick, Founding Director of Stream Communications.
“Satellite connectivity can no longer be viewed as a niche component within the M2M space.
“To offer our customers the most affordable, consistent and seamless service across multiple territories, satellite services must be considered a vital element in the M2M mix.”
Already one of the fastest ICT growth sectors – exceeding 25 per cent annual compound growth – M2M communications deliver remote monitoring and control of devices.
M2M solutions are typically used by utility infrastructure and transport sector companies, but growth is being driven by new markets such as:
• Smart metering
• Enabling technology for 'smart cities'.
President of Inmarsat Enterprise, Ronald Spithout, said the agreement confirms that satellite M2M is now firmly part of the mainstream.
“A lot of myths have surrounded satellite services and, for many years, it has been dismissed by some as an expensive solution within the M2M market,” Ronald said.
In fact, mobile satellite communications is available at a lower cost that GSM roaming rates.
Ronald added: “I believe that our new relationship with Stream underlines that, with our network reliability, global coverage, easy deployment of terminals and cost efficient services, satellite communications is an essential component in unlocking the potential of M2M.”