The past two years have seen many advances in satellite communications, connecting parts of the earth hitherto regarded as too remote for comms infrastructures, but there is no more remote a location than the high-seas, and looking to facilitate data transmission on cargo ships, saving vessel owners millions of dollars, satellite constellation 5G connectivity firm Sateliot has entered into a partnership with internet of things (IoT) provider Sensefinity for asset tracking to launch global 5G-IoT satellite connectivity for sea containers.
Specifically, the two companies say they will be able to facilitate the first technology of data transmission from 1,000 smart containers that will save medium shipping companies up to $1.4m per year on container maintenance and repairs.
They add that current satellite coverage is not 100% global, as geostationary satellites only cover fixed areas of the planet and that their placement makes them less efficient than low earth orbit satellites, which come into play to fix this problem.
The firms also believe that without NB-IoT coverage at high sea, trackers and sensors can only record the information, uploading it once the vessels are near shore, when it is already too late to do anything with damaged cargo. Furthermore, they argue legacy satellite transmission costs for every container are a high addition to a vessel’s already-expensive bills, particularly when considering tariffs and port and channel fees.
In explaining their partnership, Sateliot and Sensefinity noted that shipping companies are heavily investing in smart containers to control cargo, citing research showing that by 2025, 25% of the box fleet will be able to gather data from inside the containers. However, transmitting gathered data in uncovered spots from the middle of the ocean is still an issue.
Sateliot said the transmission costs of its full 5G NB-IoT satellite constellation start from less than $1 per device per month, and this will allow Sensefinity to facilitate its growth, granting the shipping and vessel companies the ability to transmit data from smart containers in the middle of the ocean with a very reduced cost.
In addition, Sateliot assured that Sensefinity will be able to report location, temperature, humidity, vibration and container breach in real-time, unlocking a set of high-impact use cases such as notifications when a container falls into the ocean, alerting for fires inside containers, warning for cold-chain breaks for sensitive cargo such as food and medicines, and reporting impacts and damages in containers. Another advantage of the partnership is said to be the reduction of food waste and carbon emissions.
The firms are fundamentally confident that maritime shipping businesses will grow in a sustainable way, allowing an increase in revenue while caring for the planet.
“Investing in smart containers and global continuous connectivity transmission through our network of 5G-NB IoT satellites will provide vessels and shipping companies better control of transported goods, avoiding damage claims and lawsuits costing companies billions of dollars per year,” said Sateliot CEO Jaume Sanpera.
Sensefinity CEO Orlando Remédios added: “Our technology will help the international shipping industry to overcome cargo damage, which costs a yearly estimate of $6bn, reducing complaints and lawsuits, and also food waste and carbon emissions. Maritime shipping businesses will grow in a sustainable way, allowing an increase in revenue while caring for the planet.”