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Iridium launches solution to enhance IoT tracking and asset management

By Catherine Knowles, Wed 6 Jan 2021

Iridium Communications has provided upgraded capabilities for satellite IoT tracking and asset management.

The Iridium Edge Solar, a secure, maintenance-free, solar-powered remote asset tracking and management device, is now commercially available.

With over-the-air configuration capabilities, the Iridium Edge Solar is designed for Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS), fisheries management, tracking of freight shipping containers, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications, monitoring of oil and gas pipelines and heavy equipment telematics data reporting, the company states.

The Iridium Edge Solar beta trials, which are nearing completion, are thoroughly testing its real-time, two-way communication, over-the-air configuration ability, built-in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity and secure, ruggedised packaging.

The addition of BLE technology enables development of customised deployable sensor systems that can be positioned on machinery, vehicles, vessels or across worksites.

Iridium executive vice president sales and marketing Bryan Hartin says, “The Iridium Edge Solar is a unique and versatile solar-powered asset tracking device, when compared to alternatives available in the industry.

"No other solar-powered IoT tracking device matches its geographic coverage, capabilities and cost-effectiveness, and we believe the addition of BLE local wireless connectivity adds a new level of customisability for applications requiring multiple and disparate sensor readings.”

The history of solar-powered satellite IoT tracking devices has been challenged by questionable field lifespan due to failures of charging batteries, solar panels and packaging susceptible to water-intrusion or cracking, Iridium states.

These issues have been exacerbated by the lack of two-way communications with the deployed device, leaving organisations wondering if the equipment suffered a terminal malfunction.

Iridium Edge Solar aims to resolve these issues through complete encapsulation of all vital electronics, military-grade ruggedised packaging and its intelligent dual-power system, ensuring two-way communications delivery even in low-light conditions.

When combined with Iridium’s global coverage and services like Iridium CloudConnect for back-office integration through Amazon Web Services, businesses, governments and NGOs can rapidly scale and deploy this reliable, solar-powered asset-tracking device anywhere on the planet for up to 10 years without maintenance, the company states.

Iridium Edge Solar now joins both the Iridium Edge and Iridium Edge Pro as finished Iridium products, each with specified, yet complementary, use-cases to extend the reach of IoT services beyond cellular coverage.

Iridium is a global mobile voice and data satellite communications network, enabling connections between people, organisations and assets in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers a portfolio of solutions.

As of the third quarter of 2020, Iridium commercial IoT subscribers grew 20% from the year-ago period to 924,000 customers, continuing the companys growing position as a top satellite IoT company.

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