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Inmarsat and Actility see first fruits of LoRaWan partnership

Steve Rogerson
February 9, 2017

Global mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat’s LoRaWan-based network, developed in partnership with French IoT company Actility, is said to be delivering on its strategy to bring the IoT to every corner of the globe. 

Early applications in asset tracking, agribusiness, and oil are gas are helping businesses in remote regions of the world become more efficient, reduce costs and drive new revenue through the IoT.

In asset tracking, Inmarsat and Actility are tracking the location, movement, health and other key statistics of cattle on a remote ranch in Australia, replacing the manual process of sending an employee to look for cattle that have strayed. An alert is sent out to the ranch manager when an animal is at risk of being lost, is behaving erratically or is nearing the perimeter of the ranch, enabling the owner to take immediate action.

The technology is also helping monitor the water levels in reservoirs and soil moisture at the roots of plants across the breadth of a large, remote palm-oil plantation in Malaysia to deliver water to where it is most needed and achieve better crop yield. This enables smarter resource management in an area and reduces the amount of land required for production.

And it is being used for remote monitoring of oil platform processes where cellular coverage is patchy or non-existent to identify potential failure points so they may be addressed and costly downtime avoided. An upstream production site continuously measures operational parameters and transmits them to a control room where a scada system adjusts set-points and provides control settings.

The Inmarsat LoRaWan network, powered by Actility’s ThingPark LPWA platform, is said to be the world’s first global IoT network. It allows customers and partners to bring to market IoT services that can be delivered anywhere in the world, to any type of business, with LoRaWan-based connectivity on the ground and satellite connectivity as the network backbone. 

The integrated platform provides an end-to-end service that transmits site-specific data to applications in the cloud for analysis, delivering insights and supporting decision making, and creating value for the end customer.

“These three early applications are indicative of the industrial IoT market in general,” said Paul Gudonis, president of Inmarsat Enterprise. “Businesses don’t need an off-the-shelf IoT solution for agribusiness or asset tracking, they need a specific solution for a specific problem. Through our collaboration with Actility, we have the building blocks to tailor solutions for each specific opportunity, no matter where it is in the world.”

Inmarsat and Actility last year announced a partnership that combines Inmarsat’s global L-band satellite connectivity platform with Actility’s ThingPark IoT management platform to deliver integration for IoT, linking connectivity, services and IoT devices from a single application and service management point to connect objects deployed anywhere on the planet. 

“Actility has worked on many large-scale nationwide LPWA network deployments, but this is bigger,” said Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “We’re fantastically excited about being part of the first truly global IoT network in partnership with Inmarsat. Our collaboration with Inmarsat allows us to provide customers with an end-to-end solution to connect their assets and fulfil their IoT business needs anywhere in the world. We’ll be working alongside Inmarsat every step of the way to help global customers address their specific needs.”