Alif Semiconductor and OQ Technology to deploy NB-IoT connectivity for hybrid terrestrial-satellite networks

California, USA, and Luxembourg, Europe, 3 March 2022 – Alif Semiconductor, a global provider of microcontrollers and fusion processors, and IoT satellite operator OQ Technology have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on a narrowband internet-of-things (NB-IoT) solution for hybrid terrestrial satellite networking. Alifs fingertip sized, highly integrated cellular enabled IoT devices will allow users to roam freely between mobile networks on the ground and OQ’s IoT satellite constellation anywhere in the world.

In addition to cost reduction, when compared with existing satellite connectivity, the solution being developed by Alif and OQ is expected to be superior due to its ability to seamlessly switch between satellite and cellular terrestrial IoT networks, such as NB-IoT and CAT-M1, without modifying any radio or hardware on the chip. This is a direct result of OQs patented satellite technology which uses LTE Band 65 in its satellite constellation and can also be applied to terrestrial mobile networks.

The integrated and highly efficient on-device artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities of Alif Semiconductor’s Crescendo family of microcontrollers and fusion processors will further improve response times, increase the scope for applications, and conserve bandwidth. The Crescendo family’s small size and highly optimised power consumption makes it ideal for applications that require cellular IoT connectivity.

The jointly developed solution will be available for OEMs to integrate in products such as smart metres, tracking devices, sensors, smart cars, drones, mobile handsets, cameras, helmets and other wearables. Alif’s Crescendo family also includes a fully concurrent GNSS positioning systems supporting all major constellations, including GPS and Galileo. This will result in highly accurate NB-IoT synchronisation over OQ’s satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO).

“The combination of Alif’s range of scalable, highly integrated, secure and power efficient range of products with OQ’s IP and patents will significantly ease adoption of satellite connectivity,” says Reza Kazerounian, co-founder and president of Alif Semiconductor. “We are excited to announce this partnership with OQ Technology, look forward to engaging with the market on these products.”

Omar Qaise, founder and CEO of OQ Technology, says, “The aim to combine Alif’s expertise in AI-enabled embedded computing solutions and our success in establishing a 5G IoT satellite-terrestrial hybrid network is an epic step in the use of nanotechnology. Using standardised terrestrial chips to connect to satellites is essential to keep costs low, enable easy access to our satellites and provide global connectivity, in particular in remote locations.”

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