Satellite operator Inmarsat has announced a partnership with Stream Communications for the distribution of its M2M services while rejecting criticism that satellite technology is an “expensive” option for M2M.
In a statement, Stream (Glasgow, UK) said the tie-up with Inmarsat reflected the growing importance of satellite communications in the mix of connectivity options for M2M services.
“Satellite connectivity can no longer be viewed as a niche component within the M2M space,” said Nigel Chadwick, the founding director of Stream Communications. “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.”
Chadwick says the M2M opportunity is currently being driven by industries like health, security, smart metering and home automation and that applications in all these areas would benefit from the inclusion of satellite technology as part of the connectivity solution.
“It is not simply a matter of ensuring connectivity in areas with little or no terrestrial coverage,” he said. “Satellite M2M offers assurance against accidental or deliberate mobile network outages and in today’s increasingly connected world connectivity failure can have serious consequences.”
Unsurprisingly, Inmarsat (London, UK) is keen to dispel the “myth” that satellite represents an expensive option when it comes to M2M, arguing that mobile satellite communications is now often available at a lower cost than GSM roaming rates.
“It can operate efficiently alongside GPRS, 3G and 4G technologies,” added Ronald Spithout, the president of Inmarsat Enterprise. “And because Inmarsat owns and operates its own global, effectively 3G, satellite network, just one SIM is required for a device, regardless of where in the world it is located.”
Stream says the relationship with Inmarsat could unlock new opportunities to provide “drop-in” local area networks in remote areas that are backhauled over satellite technology.
The company points out that such services could help to protect endangered wildlife in Africa or deliver support and safety services to workers mining in remote parts of Asia.