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Kepler and Iristel partner on M2M satellite infrastructure

Steve Rogerson
March 30, 2017

Next generation nano-satellites and terrestrial wireless and wireline networks could seamlessly connect to provide an advanced M2M infrastructure following a partnership between Canadian companies Kepler Communications and Iristel.
Nano-satellite company Kepler Communications is working with Iristel in building collaborative M2M services linking satellites with terrestrial wire and wireless networks.
M2M connectivity will begin with Iristel's Canada-wide network and its subsidiary Ice Wireless, a regional mobile operator in Canada's north, and soon add Kepler's nano-satellites where ground infrastructure is not available. The first two Kepler nano-satellites – about the size of a loaf of bread – are scheduled for launch in November.
"This will be the shortest and fastest path for mission critical applications related to shipping and logistics, pipeline and exploration industries to name a few," said Samer Bishay, CEO of both Iristel and Ice. The picture shows Bishay (left) with Kepler co-founder Jeffrey Osborne holding one of the nano-satellites.
Kepler CEO Mina Mitry added: "This partnership means we can begin to deploy pilot services immediately prior to our satellite constellation being in full operation. At the end of the day, how data move is largely irrelevant to customers, and we very much see satellites as complementary to terrestrial telecoms. We're excited to work with another company with the same vision on how the two systems can work together."
Iristel is Canada's fastest-growing carrier, providing voice-over IP and GSM services. The partnership aims to give users a seamless transition between GSM and satellite networks without the need to obtain additional hardware for their IoT applications.
"Customers will be able to use the same smart devices when inside Iristel's coverage region, and then seamlessly transition to a satellite network when working remote," Bishay said. "The ability to produce single multi-purpose smart devices gives us better economies of scale and can help reduce the cost of devices, which is a main impediment towards true en masse M2M deployments."
Beyond speed, the low-earth-orbit nano-satellites also significantly reduce latency – or satellite echo – from hundreds of milliseconds to only 45ms. "That's a significant benefit for mission-critical M2M applications," Bishay said.
Kepler is a satellite communications company that is building an in-space telecommunications network for space-borne assets. This infrastructure could resolve the problem of intermittent connectivity for non-geostationary satellites, open business opportunities that necessitate real-time connectivity to satellites, and reduce reliance on costly and difficult to deploy ground infrastructure.
Founded in 1999, Markham-based Iristel operates Canada's largest facilities-based local voice network extending coast-to-coast-to-coast.