Inmarsat, the mobile satellite communications services provider, has today (11 September 2013) announced the appointment of Stream Communications as an Inmarsat M2M distribution partner.
The appointment of UK-based Stream, which provides mobile network resilience, connectivity and SIM/network management to the M2M sector, reflects the growing convergence of satellite communications with existing GPRS, 3G and 4G technologies in connecting M2M applications worldwide.
Nigel Chadwick, founding director, Stream Communications, said: "Our partnership with Inmarsat will combine GSM and satellite technology to deliver anytime, anywhere M2M. Satellite connectivity can no longer be viewed as a niche component within the M2M space. To offer our customers the most affordable, consistent and seamless service across multiple territories, satellite services must be considered a vital element in the M2M mix."
Already one of the fastest ICT growth sectors, exceeding 25% annual compound growth, according to Compass Intelligence, M2M communications enables the 'internet of things': delivering remote monitoring and control of devices. Typically used by utility infrastructure and transport sector companies, M2M is being driven by new markets such as ehealth, security, smart metering, home automation and as an enabling technology for 'Smart Cities'.
For all these applications, Stream Communications will be able to deploy Inmarsat's globally available M2M services, including BGAN M2M, alongside GPRS, 3G and 4G technologies.
"All these applications would benefit from satellite M2M as part of the connectivity solution," continued Chadwick. "And, it is not simply a matter of ensuring connectivity in areas with little or no terrestrial coverage. Satellite M2M offers assurance against accidental or deliberate mobile network outages and in today's increasingly connected world, connectivity failure can have serious consequences."
According to the president of Inmarsat Enterprise, Ronald Spithout, the agreement between Stream Communications and Inmarsat confirms that satellite M2M is now firmly part of the mainstream, operating seamlessly and easily alongside other technologies to ensure that M2M is available wherever it's required.
"A lot of myths have surrounded satellite services and, for many years, it has been dismissed by some as an expensive solution within the M2M market. I believe that our new relationship with Stream underlines that - with our network reliability, global coverage, easy deployment of terminals and cost efficient services - satellite communications is an essential component in unlocking the potential of M2M."
"One example of these myths is cost. What many people don't realise is that mobile satellite communication is often available at a lower cost than GSM roaming rates," continued Spithout.
"At Inmarsat, we see satellite services as strengthening the connectivity options available to integrators. It can operate efficiently alongside GPRS, 3G and 4G technologies. And, because Inmarsat owns and operates its own global, effectively 3G, satellite network, just one SIM is required for a device, regardless of where in the world it is located. This makes life much simpler," concluded Spithout.
"Our new relationship with Inmarsat unlocks global opportunities for 'drop-in' local area wireless networks in remote areas, back-hauled over satellite. This could enable monitoring and protection of endangered wildlife in Africa, environmental research deep in the rain forests of South America, or delivering support and safety services to workers mining in remote areas of Asia," said Chadwick. "M2M is already one of the fastest growing sectors in ICT and with the benefits of global satellite network to call upon, the potential is limitless."