Summer launch planned for joint Inmarsat and Skywave service

Inmarsat is working with Skywave Mobile Communications to develop a low data rate tracking, monitoring and messaging service that is planned for launch in the summer.

Called Isat Data Pro, it aims to deliver a significant increase in capability over other services already in the market. Near real-time messages of up to 10kbyte to the device and up to 6.4kbyte from the device will target the demand for higher data speeds in machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. Skywave claims that other global M2M services on the market have data connectivity at between 270 and 340byte.

The service will support a wide range of security and location-based services in the M2M market: from tracking and in-cab messaging for commercial transportation and government fleets, transmitting telemetry information from oil and gas distribution equipment, to remote management and control of fixed assets.

Skywave and Inmarsat will promote Isat Data Pro to government users and the road, rail, merchant shipping, commercial fishing, oil and gas, and utilities sectors. Target geographies include the USA and Latin America, but also China and Russia, two rapidly expanding markets for M2M services.

“This is a new service, with new hardware and new infrastructure, that significantly expands the applications that the Inmarsat system supports,” said Drew Brandy, director of land services at Inmarsat. “We see lots of untapped opportunity in the M2M market for a reliable global service that can offer more: more data, more flexibility and a more reliable network. And, as people will see when we launch the service, it will be highly cost effective too.”

Isat Data Pro is suitable for time-critical applications and the low latency of messages transmitted means asset owners and managers can exchange information in near real time. For example, this will be suitable for sending information to drivers operating in high-risk areas, or for receiving error logs from remote equipment or sensors in an emergency.

“With Isat Data Pro, we are introducing a major innovation into the M2M market,” said David Sward, VP of marketing and business development at Skywave. “This will be a global service with a packet data capability far beyond anything currently out there. Being able to send and receive more data from remote assets will allow better visibility of business operations and manage risks more effectively.

“It enables organisations to stay in touch with remote assets and workers where, previously, this was technically impossible or prohibited by cost.”

The Isat Data Pro hardware portfolio made by Skywave will include complete terminals for land and maritime environments, ready for immediate use on mobile and fixed assets. A modem-only version for OEMs and systems integrators will also be available.

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