M2M Monitoring Services a Growing Trend for Satellite Usage

Sue Rutherford, SkyWave

Sue Rutherford, director of marketing, SkyWave. Photo: SkyWave

[Via Satellite 02-13-2014] Satellite connectivity solutions are expanding into less visible industries. Beyond wearable technology and expanded access to smartphones and personal devices, the need for remote monitoring technology is driving demand for solutions to exist where people are not overly present. SkyWave, an M2M service provider, sees companies using satellite to increase their presence in underpopulated areas.

By leveraging satellite, companies are able to receive a steady stream of information about the status of their resources and infrastructure. Though not flawless, satellite-enabled machines can provide regularly scheduled status updates with a high degree of accuracy and can catch details that might be otherwise overlooked. SkyWave, who has seen much of its recent growth in utilities and oil and gas markets, has noticed the increase in enterprise level use of these M2M technologies.

“Oil and gas and utilities and the demand for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications are driving a move toward more intelligent, more comprehensive remote monitoring applications to manage remote sites,” said Sue Rutherford, director of marketing at SkyWave.

Adoption is also growing in other industries such as agriculture and farming, but use of this equipment has been slow in some cases due to fragmentation in the M2M industry and the persistent view of satellite as a “last resort” technology. Several companies are also using a mixture of partial solutions that systems integrators then have to pull together. SkyWave is seeking to break these conceptions through streamlined product offerings. The company does not provide service for making voice calls, surfing the net or uploading large files. Instead, it stays completely dedicated to M2M data.

“Our service is about sending telemetry information, alarms and trending data periodically,” explained Rutherford. “There is the preconceived notion of satellite being expensive and they think [of] large antennas carrying large amounts of data. Our technology breaks through those notions. Our terminals are the size of a dessert plate and that includes all the antenna and all the circuitry … there are no large antennas to install. The cost to operate our devices is, in some cases, a tenth of some of the other satellite systems.”

Future opportunity may develop as satellite-based M2M technologies make businesses more efficient. Rutherford mentioned seeing growth around the world, though cautioned that every new geography and market “brings about different requirements.” As remote monitoring continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how sizeable of an impact increased availability of data has on creating tangible cost reductions.

“For SkyWave, M2M is about connecting equipment in remote areas to people and enterprise systems and enabling the data flow to be used to make smarter decisions,” said Rutherford. “Our priority focus will continue to be on deploying M2M solutions that are exceptionally easy to deploy into the high growth market sectors. This is of particular importance to those system integrators looking to do less integrations by offering more pieces of the M2M solution.”

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