The Satellite Industry in 2020

The Satellite Industry in 2020

As human beings, our innate desire to communicate means the ability for satellite to keep us connected remotely, can only increase in appeal.

Satellite is making noise beyond the realm of consumer tech, revolutionising conventional practices in many industries, such as agriculture, safety, conservation and utilities.

Satellite Industry Fast Facts

  • More than 2,500 satellites currently in orbit
  • US$277 Billion (2018) annual revenue from the satellite industry
  • 68% of Australia relies on satellite for connectivity
  • A group of more than 20 satellites make up the Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Some communication satellites can be as big as a minibus and weigh up to 6 tons, but other satellites that are used briefly are 4-inch cubes and weigh about one kilogram

The satellite industry is expanding at an exponential rate, complementing traditionally used mobile and cellular services to empower users with remote connectivity, lower latency (shorter delay times in service) and the ability to be wireless.

I see two emerging trends setting the pace for the satellite industry in the next decade.

Satellite as a provider of internet access

Right now, there are massive investments happening in the satellite industry, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. What this means is there could be 10 times more satellites launched in the next five years than are currently in space, facilitating global coverage and bringing internet to the most remote parts of the world.

A number of major organisations, such as SpaceX, OneWeb and Virgin, are planning to deploy colossal satellite constellations, working towards providing high-speed internet access to homes and businesses across the globe. In addition to creating high-speed internet access, these companies are working alongside the industry to achieve price points which make them competitive against other existing services, such as mobile or fibre.

With the price of your typical mobile plan only a few dollars per gigabyte, satellite will need to match this price, at a minimum, in order to be competitive – and this is what a range of companies are working towards through considerable investments in the industry.

With increased expenditure and numbers of satellites being deployed there is far higher megabits of capacity available across the globe, ultimately driving down the cost of accessing internet through satellite. To put it into perspective, there will potentially be between 10 and 30 thousand satellites launched in the next decade.

Satellite as an IoT technology

Secondly, satellite is increasingly becoming an Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Satellite has actually been an IoT technology for about a decade if you think about the function of the Global Position System (GPS) in cars. The ability to have a vehicle communicate with satellites in space to locate the vehicle anywhere on the planet and track its movement, demonstrates the function of satellite as an IoT solution.

Today, we can see images of the earth in real-time through satellites in orbit.

As we continue to explore the possibilities of using satellite as an IoT technology, we are seeing some great advancements across a number of industries.

In agriculture, Pivotel has joined with an Agtech start-up to create an innovative water monitoring solution, Farmbot. This technology is providing water monitoring insights and data to farmers in the most remote locations of Australia by using IoT monitors enabled by Pivotel’s satellite technology. The award winning technology removes the need for remote farmers to spend two or three days a week driving around their multi-hectare properties checking water troughs and tanks, saving them up to $1,700 in fuel and farm vehicle running costs every month.

Undoubtedly, the future is bright not only for the industry but for the many people, businesses and industries which benefit from the advancement and use of satellite technology. The team at Pivotel and I look forward to watching these trends develop over the next decade and continuing to provide cutting edge satellite technology solutions.