Myriota to get its own satellite as Defence comes on board

Adelaide-based satellite and Internet of Things startup Myriota has teamed up with US satellite manufacturer SpaceQuest to launch the first of an expected constellation of small satellites. The new satellite will provide services to its remote IoT network as well as a new Defence contract announced this week.

Myriota CEO Alex Grant told CommsDay the satellite will be the first new generation satellite Myriota has access to and it will support all of its proposed applications including defence but also agriculture, logistics, utilities monitoring and maritime.

“We are partnering with SpaceQuest to launch a 3U cubesat in February as the first element of our next generation satellite constellation, complementing the existing satellites that we use today for delivery of service to customers,” Grant said.

Myriota currently uses satellites from Canadian provider ExactEarth, an early seed investor in the company. However, the move to launch its own satellites has been in the planning stages for some time, as first reported in CommsDay in June.

Myriota has already deployed a range of water monitoring devices at key pastoral properties around the country to prove its satellite-based model for IoT connectivity.

Myriota has developed its own low-cost monitoring devices as part of a project cofunded by the Australian and New Zealand CRC for Spatial Information. The units contain transmitters that allow for information to be transferred directly to low-earth orbit satellites.

While other companies have proposed satellite-based IoT using ground infrastructure, Myriota is pioneering the direct-to-orbit model that transfers small amounts of data directly to the satellite. Myriota business development executive Tom Rayner previously told CommsDay that its model is ideal for remote communications in terms of both cost and coverage compared to other technologies.

Myriota first showcased its technology in the agriculture sector, but has plans to use the same model for IoT applications in the other sectors. The first application in the defence field received government funding this week.

The project, known as the “Fight Recorder”, will develop the equivalent of a Black Box for soldiers and is being undertaken by Myriota and wearable technology company ImeasureU.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced that the two industry partners will receive $700,000 from the Next Generation Technologies Fund to fully develop the product.

Fight Recorder is a soldier-worn system aimed at capturing data on the battlefield as well as acting as an emergency beacon to reduce the time taken to reach and treat battlefield casualties. “In addition to serving as a location beacon, the data captured by the Fight Recorder could be used to inform the design and performance of soldier equipment and protective wear,” Pyne said.

Myriota and IMeasureU were selected from 47 industry and university applicants from across Australia and New Zealand to develop the Fight Recorder. The companies will work closely with Defence for its development. Myriota was first spun off from the University of South Australia in 2015.

Shareholders include ExactEarth, UniSA Ventures and co-founders Alex Grant and David Haley. Grant also co-founded South Australian connected car vendor Cohda Wireless, while Haley was Cohda's lead research engineer between 2004-2011. Geoff Long, Commsday.