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Australasia Satellite Forum 2019 

Myriota on track to launch three more satellites this year

Adelaide-based satellite Internet of Things provider Myriota is on track for the launch of its next three satellites towards the end of this year and is currently talking to a range of launch providers.

Speaking to CommsDay on the sidelines of the Australasia Satellite Forum, Myriota CEO Alex Grant said dedicated IoT providers were attracting the attention of large telecom and satellite providers, who see the services as complementary to their existing offerings.

“We're seeing telcos eyeing an opportunity to expand their range beyond their cellular footprint in an economical way that doesn't involve building towers into areas that are not economical feasible to do so,” he noted.

Myriota currently has access to four satellites for its direct-to-orbit IoT services. Three are from ExactEarth while the fourth is its own satellite, which it launched via Space X last year. It eventually wants to build to a constellation of around 50 satellites.

“We're heading towards the next three satellites, which are currently being built by Tyvak and we'll launch late this year. There's a number of launch providers that we're yet to announce for those satellites,” Grant said. 

While the IoT arena is an increasingly competitive market, Grant said Myriota had a number of advantages, including its early start in the market – it started in 2013 – a low price point and a 10-year battery life for its devices.

“We make design choices. Our system doesn't do broadband, it's narrowband and short messages, but all of those design choices play into delivering at low cost with long battery life,” he said. “We're really offering a differentiated type of service that co-exists in a really complementary way alongside either cellular or existing satellite.”

“Today we're focussing very much on our unique data connectivity offering . . . So for us it makes sense to work alongside solution providers, system integrators, telcos who offer pieces of those more complicated multi-technology solutions,” he added.

INNOVATION DRIVERS: Grant also spoke on a panel on innovation at the Australasia Satellite Forum in Sydney this week. He said one key driver for startups such as Myriota had been the increasing availability of launch – having smaller launch vehicles that are launching more frequently.

The lower cost launch coupled with the increasing capability of small satellites is a significant driver of business, Grant told the ASF audience. “You're getting all kinds of businesses popping up that can use that kind of infrastructure. And if I extrapolate that into the future I think we will end up where the space segment becomes more like data centres, where there's people that run the data centres and people can innovate on top with software and services,” he said. “We're seeing the first signs of that, with companies like Amazon talking about ground station as a service and so on,” he noted. – Geoff Long, Commsday / talk Satellite