Lacuna Space, a provider for connectivity everywhere, and Miromico, the designer and producer of wireless products for the Internet of Things (IoT), have signed a collaboration agreement for the development and easy provision of 'space ready’ and off-the-shelf communications devices using ultra low-power and low-cost satellite links.
Following successful tests conducted this year the first commercial trials with Miromico devices and selected enterprise clients of the Swiss company in agriculture, environmental monitoring or asset tracking are starting in 2020. By using LoRa¹ the de-facto standard for low power wireless IoT, the life-time of battery operated IoT devices can be increased by years, saving operation and maintenance cost. The mutual use of LoRa also allowed Miromico to easily and quickly adapt their hardware and connect directly to Lacuna Space's satellite.
"A low-cost and low-power satellite link like Lacuna Space's technology built directly into every smart device will ignite a second IoT revolution," said Marcel Wappler, head of IoT & LPWAN at Miromico. "We are facing a skyrocketing but yet unmet demand for smart devices with low power, affordable, and global connectivity. The lack of global connectivity is holding back endless applications. Some of which will help to solve the most difficult challenges of our times such as enabling solar powered local grids in South America and elsewhere, improving agricultural yield, or tracking the global flow of goods or assets and monitor their carbon footprint. Together with Lacuna Space we can begin to meet that demand.”
In parallel to the field tests the two companies will develop a global distribution chain giving customers a simple way to buy modems, firmware, antennas and devices that will enable them to use the Lacuna Network. Semiconductor specialist Avnet Silica is working with Miromico to give easy access to IoT hardware. The first phase of the deployment of the Lacuna Network will be its constellation of 36 small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) by the end of 2022. Orbiting at 500km above the earth’s surface, the Lacuna Space Network will provide ubiquitous communication for billions of new wireless IoT devices everywhere in the world including areas of no connectivity.
“We have been really impressed by Miromico and their depth of knowledge with LoRa devices was of great importance," said Rob Spurrett, CEO and co-founder of Lacuna Space. "We are being very selective in our choice of initial partners for the development of our devices because these first steps are vital for us. Once the satellite constellation becomes operational, the demand will scale really quickly. In Miromico we have found a company that can match those demands.”
The devices on the Lacuna Network will seamlessly integrate with any LoRaWAN® (long range wide area network) network on the ground within reach. The LoRa-based space gateway on each satellite also uses the LoRaWAN communication protocol to receive short data messages from IoT sensors on the ground or at sea. This will provide the uninterrupted connectivity that is needed between terrestrial LPWAN (low power wide area networks).
¹LoRa stands for Semtech Corporation's long range wireless radio technology that allows a carrier signal containing information to be spread over the entire frequency spectrum reducing interference and interception while requiring ultra low power.