What does SpaceX’s acquisition of Swarm say about space IoT?

SpaceX is notoriously quiet when it comes to mergers, and so it came with great surprise that a company had been acquired by the spaceflight company and that company was one that deals in the Internet of Things (IoT).

CNBC highlighted the early August deal, in which US$85 million (€71.75 million) was handed over for Swarm, who provide satellite-linked home IoT. This particular niche is something not well explored in the world of future space travel, says freelance technology writer, Jocelyn Brown, and gives a heavy nod towards the role that IoT will play in space exploration and tourism.

Space tourism and comfort

The race for space tourism began many years ago, of course. In 2001-2009, the Russian space agency hosted seven trips for multi-millionaire tourists to visit the International Space Station (ISS). However, in recent years the focus has switched to all-in space tourism, that will allow people from a range of budgets to get into space.

Companies hope to be able to offer full-family space exploration by 2030. IoT is key to this; the tourist industry thrives on IoT, from the devices that take photos to the connectivity of wearables and hotel gadgetry. It’s crucial that this works in space, and huge post-orbital infrastructure is already in place. The World Economic Forum notes the presence of over 1,600 satellites in orbit; 61% provide IoT and communications uplinks. The continued performance of these satellites is crucial, as is the need for it to be able to connect.

A space-based network

Tech Target highlights the work of low-power satellites in generating IoT networks across the lower to upper orbit. Generating low-power WAN (LPWAN) will enable better use of devices across theoretical space stations and spacecraft of the future, once again reducing reliance on old tech and workarounds. This will undoubtedly benefit the tourism industry when they head out into space, but it will also influence terrestrial-based IoT considerations. IoT coverage across the world is not an even matter, and space-based applications may help to change this significantly.

Influencing the ground

Jocelyn Brown

For the time being, the power of IoT in space is largely in enhancing experience on the ground. The IOT Tech Expo highlights work conducted by the EU’s Internet of Things Everywhere on Earth (IoTEE) project, which uses the relatively lower technological constraints of space-based IoT to provide extended coverage on earth.

This includes filling in gaps across the world where there is no IoT coverage and conventional connectivity tech is unlikely to create an improvement. This is helping humanitarian causes Forbes have noted the positive impact of IoT satellites in sub-Saharan Africa, where anti-poaching units are more readily able to track just where endangered animals are and will be going in order to protect them.

IoT placed into space-based craft is going to be revolutionary in tourism, in connectivity, and even in places that need the aid of technology to help aid just causes. With tiny satellites able to provide the flexibility to power a network, things are set to become even more exciting.

The author is freelance technology writer, Jocelyn Brown.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow


Shipshape adds pro HVAC solution to its proprietary home management platform

Posted on: August 17, 2022

Shipshape’s Pro HVAC Solution helps homeowners monitor performance, maintain their systems, avoid unexpected repairs and prevent health risks. The solution leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology along with decades of experience in building science and mechanical engineering to deliver a HVAC solution in partnership with service providers.

Read more

ClearBlade IoT Core launched as a complete replacement for Google cloud platform’s (GCP’s) IoT core

Posted on: August 17, 2022

ClearBlade, the IoT Platform and Edge AI company, is announcing a SaaS product offering, ClearBlade IoT Core. The ClearBlade IoT Core provides industry-standard IoT cloud service capabilities, efficient scaling, and hardened security for enterprise customers. For existing GCP IoT Core customers, ClearBlade provides a low-effort, one-click migration process and pricing consistent with GCP’s current offering.

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox