Look up to the skies: More business for next-gen satellites

Your next business opportunity could be powered by things floating in the sky: satellites.
30 April 2018

Satellites could be the next preferred communication provider, especially with the requirements of 5G. Source: Pexels

Satellites are great. They power a lot of communications on the ground and give plenty of insights to our home on Earth.

Being millions of miles up in the sky, satellites might seem very unrelated to you but they play a huge role in everyday business. In fact, the next generation of satellites is expected to create brand new business propositions.

Known as high throughput satellites (HTS), these upgraded satellites are built to address the capacity and performance requirements in an increasingly connected world.

Sluggish speeds, high latency, and low reliability have given satellites a bad reputation and caused them to be less favorable options compared to traditional fiber and digital subscriber lines (DSLs).

This means that the role of satellites in communications have so far been limited to serving ultra-rural areas that have little to no access to the main infrastructure of networks. The fact that governing standards for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 3G networks are not ‘satellite friendly’ compound the problem.

With the existing infrastructure, they won’t be able to benefit from the wave of internet of things (IoT) driven solutions transforming cities and companies across the world. They’ll simply continue being used for space observation, navigation, weather observation, and exploration.

However, satellite technologies have significantly improved since its early days. Built on open architectures, HTS are more flexible and easier to integrate with the up and coming 5G networks. This means that if all things go to plan, HTS will be able to partake in the IoT revolution we’re faced with.

In fact, HTS will promote faster data transfers which will even transform space observation applications by allowing for real-time analytics.

Imagine data being transferred via a satellite to multiple connected devices on the ground. That opens up new avenues for smart city initiatives to be rolled out at a wider scale at a shorter time. It also means businesses can scale quickly, with more connected data points that allow for quicker analytics.

Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst Telecom Technology and Software Analyst at GlobalData, explains: “HTS deployments are going to be dramatically less expensive than prior generations of satellite due to a combination of factors including new advances in launch vehicles, miniaturization of components and correspondingly lower power consumption.”

With friendlier governing standards, better satellite technology, and easier deployment, satellites will likely spearhead 5G innovations. Laying out the groundwork for the base network, it becomes easier for companies to innovate and test out true capabilities of the 5G network.