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Two years after beginning to offer what it called unified, “single pane of glass” management for connectivity options from cellular and low-power wide area (LPWA) to Wi-Fi and satellite, and a year after adding native support for satellite messaging capability, allowing customers to manage satellite IoT devices and billing directly through its platform, advanced internet of things (IoT) connectivity provider Soracom has announced a strategic partnership with non-terrestrial network (NTN) service operator Skylo Technologies.
The companies say the combination of NTN-based NB-IoT connectivity and cloud-based IoT network management represents the next generation of IoT connectivity: highly available, highly affordable, ubiquitous and deeply integrated with the hyperscale cloud platforms that serve as the backbone of today’s IoT industry.
The Skylo Technologies portfolio aims to offer a service that allows cellular modems and devices to connect directly over existing satellites. Devices connected over satellite are managed and served by Skylo’s commercial NTN vRAN, featuring a 3GPP standards-based cloud-native base station and core.
Skylo works with satellite operators, terrestrial mobile network operators and device makers to provide subscribers with an anywhere, anytime connectivity solution that roams between terrestrial and satellite networks. Its focus is on enabling connected services for people outdoors and connected workflows for machines at work across critical industries such as agriculture, maritime, logistics and mining, among others.
The collaboration is designed to guarantee those building IoT solutions and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices access to Skylo’s NTN direct-to-device connectivity based on the 3GPP communications standard, along with the capability of Soracom’s fully virtualised cellular platform, which is said to provide full MVNO capability paired with powerful connectivity management tools.
While the network is grounded in 3GPP specifications, much of it operates on what Skylo refers to as a “standards plus” approach. Skylo adds additional technical specifications to improve the functionality, interoperability and ubiquity of the satellite-based network over and above the 3GPP standards to enhance user experiences.
Andrew Nuttall, Skylo
In combining Soracom protocol conversion and authentication offloading features, Skylo believes users can minimise the amount of data transmitted over the satellite link while maintaining integration with a cloud service of their choice.
“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Soracom, as its expertise aligns with our mission to connect the unconnected,” commented Skylo chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder Andrew Nuttall. “Together, we are empowering businesses and industries to unlock the full potential of IoT, regardless of their location or infrastructure constraints, enabling real-time data access, monitoring and control in areas not currently served by cellular connectivity.”
Soracom CTO and co-founder Kenta Yasukawa added: “Soracom is committed to a cloud-native future where anything can connect to the cloud from anywhere, without compromising availability, affordability or capability. Combining breakthrough NTN NB-IoT networks, we can enable customers to add satellite coverage to their existing hardware with minimal data overhead for hyperscaler cloud integrations.”
In 2022, Soracom added native support for satellite messaging capability, allowing customers to manage satellite IoT devices and billing directly through the Soracom platform. Skylo’s satellite NTN lets chipsets, modems, modules and devices designed for terrestrial networks connect via existing satellites using the global 3GPP Release 17 standard.
In the same year, and in a bid to boost its mission to deliver a bundle of IoT connectivity and advanced network management capabilities, Soracom signed a partnership with Orange Wholesale France to tap into the infrastructure of not only the largest mobile network operator (MNO) in France, but also a leader in global IoT connectivity.
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