Accelerating national interests with remote IoT connectivity
By Jassem Nasser, Thuraya
Little did Kevin Ashton know in 1999 that a catchy term he once used in a presentation about tracking technology would captivate the tech world 15 years later. “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to a concept that’s been around for decades, but one that only became a buzzword in 2014 with Google’s acquisition of home device automation company Nest.
While organizations have been using connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) networks for a long time, the real potential of the IoT phenomenon has only been explored and universally attested recently. Today, IoT is all the rage and for good reason - there’s no doubt that its implementation is the way forward for developing more efficient, responsive, and reliable systems that gather data, generate insight, and intuitively take actions in light of those decisions.
With a growing understanding of its wide-scale application and cost-cutting capabilities across vertical markets, the public sector has taken a keen interest in IoT and M2M technologies. After China took the initial step to add IoT to its strategic plans in 2010, governments worldwide have allocated annual budgets for M2M integration in countrywide projects. This year alone, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is reported to have dedicated $8B to IoT infrastructure.
As these technologies grow congruent with daily life, satellite-based IoT is increasingly relevant to the mix. Given that IoT devices are primarily used to eliminate the need for human interface, as well as provide real-time automated monitoring and control across distances, it’s often essential to enable its functioning in remote regions that lie outside the range of terrestrial network coverage.
Furthering Government Prospects & Public Welfare
Satellite connectivity is an absolute necessity in the optimized adoption of M2M technology, especially in the case of government-run projects involving diverse industries and dispersed assets across the country. It enables the collation and exchange of data — in real-time — from many inaccessible points and industrial zones to one central monitoring hub, enabling smart and efficient processes while reducing time, money, and personnel requirements on extensive operations.
Below, we explore how satellite M2M is integral, across the board, to public sector interests:
IoT services by way of satellite offer many more applications — from smart agriculture, transportation, and fuel management to cargo and personnel tracking. As knowledge and legislation for convergence technologies become pervasive, governments around the world are set to embrace IoT solutions in every relevant industry.
Creating Benefits That Outweigh Risks
While most agree on the benefits of IoT, there are no doubt technological, regulatory, and other dilemmas associated with its implementation. That said, public authorities generally are open to new tech solutions, as long as they don’t compromise on information data security. As we rush towards an ever more connected future, the danger of hacking looms larger. Moreover, increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI), while spectacular in its capabilities, comes with its own problems — a reduction in human factor with such technologies implies that system errors are harder to find, stop, and fix.
These examples pose an ongoing challenge for IoT service providers: to develop highly resilient IoT platforms with advanced encryption, as well as early warning and predictive systems. It’s our responsibility to not only develop intuitive capabilities for data exchange and monitoring, but also for elaborate protection and data leak detection. Another important factor when dealing with users from the government sector is timeliness; authorities are constantly bombarded with services and solutions and have rigid roadmaps and procurement plans.
As service providers, we need to distinguish ourselves not just with our product portfolios, but by having a superior understanding of the public sector’s operational needs and purchase cycles. It’s vital to know when to approach public agencies with a sale, and to be ready for how long the integration process may take in order to be recognized as a preferred partner for smart government needs, emphasizing solutions and not just products.
Connectivity In The Near Future
Despite the aforementioned hurdles, governments usually include IoT in their annual plans in some form or shape. Currently, the percentage spent is rather negligible in terms of overall budgets; private sector undertakings in the same vein are certainly moving at a more rigorous pace in comparison, and the public domain has a lot of catching up to do.
However, with the rising trend in smart urban spaces and smart cities, there is a surge in joint IoT initiatives as public and private entities work together on shared goals for their locale. The Asia-Pacific nations take a lead here — as Amy Kean of Mindshare Asia Pacific recently mentioned, this region is most eager to adapt to a connected future. Satellite service providers likewise have a lot more to tap into when it comes to IoT offerings; the future is rife with possibilities to further develop resilient IoT platforms with AI, data mining, and big data capabilities, which will be especially beneficial for governments.
About The Author
As Thuraya’s Chief Strategy Officer, Jassem Nasser leads the strategy and business development division, which includes Corporate Strategy, M&A, and investigating new ventures outside the company’s core MSS business. Jassem also manages Thuraya’s Corporate Affairs, including Regulatory and Spectrum Management & Development. Jassem has over 16 years of experience in the satellite industry, including roles providing strategic direction and overseeing spectrum and frequency management. He has been involved in setting up and managing a start-up satellite organization and guiding the company through its various stages of development by devising strategic direction and priorities, identifying and selection strategic options. Jassem earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications Engineering with first class honors from Khalifa University (UAE).
Thuraya is a leading mobile satellite communications company that empowers people with tools to bring the organizations and communities they serve closer together. We offer innovative, flexible and dependable technology that helps you overcome the toughest challenges and achieve the highest aspirations - facilitating reliable communications where and when it matters most. Our global customers include industry leaders from a variety of sectors including energy, media, marine, government and NGOs. Our network enables clear communications and uninterrupted coverage across two-thirds of the world via satellite and across the globe through our GSM roaming capabilities.