The internet of things (IoT) has already conquered the planet, with billions of devices connecting everything from cars and factories to entire cities. Now the IoT is moving to the final frontier, according to a new report from Omdia.
The analyst and consultancy firm predicts that satellite-connected IoT devices will number more than 10 million by 2025, bringing connectivity to locations that terrestrial networks don’t reach.
While the satellite market will account for only a small proportion of overall IoT connections, it will support critical use cases in industries such as the maritime and oil and gas sectors, the Omdia Satellite IoT Market Report – 2020 explains.
The installed base of satellite IoT connections is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 25% in the next five years, increasing from 2.7 million units in 2019 to reach 10.3 million units in 2025.
Market revenue will more than double during the same period, with the global satellite IoT connectivity business worth an estimated $544m (£443m) in 2025, up from $233m (£190m) in 2019.
The report also notes that, while most operators currently rely on proprietary satellite connectivity technologies to support IoT devices, several are starting to leverage terrestrial wireless IoT connectivity technologies in their network strategies.
Such technologies – specifically the set of standards comprising LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, LTE-M, and eventually 5G NR Low Power – benefit from larger ecosystem scale compared to proprietary approaches common in the satellite industry. This scale leads to reduced costs, greater supplier diversity, and easier integration for customers.
Terrestrial wireless technologies are anticipated to have a long-term, 10- to 15-year-horizon impact on the satellite IoT industry. Within 15 to 20 years, Omdia believes that the distinction between a satellite IoT device and a terrestrial IoT device will cease, and any device with embedded mobile connectivity will be capable of roaming onto satellite networks when out of range of terrestrial infrastructure.
“The IoT’s conquest of space has gained momentum in recent years, with the launch of several high-profile ventures as part of the ‘NewSpace’ movement, involving the development of the private spaceflight industry,” said Sam Lucero, senior principal analyst, IoT.
“These ventures, including SpaceX’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and Softbank-backed OneWeb, are bringing satellite-based broadband internet access to areas underserved by terrestrial networks, and are helping to build credibility and investment for satellite operators focused on the IoT market opportunity, as well. Such developments will set the stage for a rapid increase in connections, yielding more than 10 million in five years.”
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