Iridium Communications has announced the first 10 approved beta partners developing new products based on the state-of-the-art Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver. Each partner has received operational beta units, which have been undergoing extensive testing designed to fine-tune both the new transceiver and the first new solutions they will enable in preparation for service activation. Iridium describes the transceiver as small and highly mobile, “like previous Iridium devices” and says the Iridium Certus 9770 transfers IP data over 35 times faster than its predecessors while also supporting high quality voice connections. This new midband device, with L-band speeds ranging from 22 Kbps to 88 Kbps, will expand the reach of satellite services to new markets, ranging from unmanned and autonomous drones to new personal communicators and remotely deployed IoT devices, all connected through Iridium’s unique L-band network.
The 10 companies currently testing a new generation of small-form factor satellite-enabled devices for maritime, aviation, land-mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and government applications include: Beam Communications Pty. Ltd., Blue Sky Network, Cobham, Lars Thrane, Marine Instruments S.A., McQ Inc., NAL Research Corporation, SkyTrac Systems Ltd., Telespazio and Wireless Innovation. Upon completion of testing, the Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver will be made available to additional Iridium licensed technology and distribution partners, expected in the first quarter of 2020.
“This new breed of device is the start of a shift in what defines small-form-factor satellite communications technology,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “These are highly mobile, lower-cost solutions that feature native IP technology at speeds capable of delivering a true internet, email, high-quality voice, photo and even some video capabilities. When you combine that with our truly global coverage, we’re creating a cost-effective and reliable ecosystem of new products in a new L-band speed class, midband, that is unlike anything that exists from the satellite community today.”
The Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver is the latest in a line of Iridium core technology components that allow the company’s partner network to develop cutting-edge products and applications that solve existing and emerging industry challenges. The small form factor of the new transceiver enables creation of highly mobile and versatile devices that feature Iridium’s unique truly global coverage, but at speeds far faster than existing Iridium devices of similar size. Markets requiring richer data transfers, pictures, low-resolution streaming, and enhanced telemetry will particularly benefit from this new technology.
UAVs and satellite IoT are two market examples that are expected to see significant growth over the next few years, further emphasizing the need for the remote capabilities these devices will enable. According to MarketsandMarkets, the UAV market is expected to reach $52 billion in value by 2025 from $17 billion in 2017, while Northern Sky Research reports satellite-enabled IoT solutions total industry revenues are expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2027, from approximately $1 billion in 2019.
Iridium Certus is Iridium’s new technology platform launched in January 2019 with initial broadband services provided for the maritime and land-mobile-related industries. The service offers the flexibility to scale device speeds, sizes and power requirements both up and down based on the needs of the end-user. Made possible by the recently upgraded Iridium satellite constellation, the Iridium Certus service goes beyond serving solely as a connectivity solution. It provides a platform for the company’s partners to develop specialized broadband, midband and narrowband applications only possible through Iridium’s crosslinked L-band network.