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Enterprise IoT adoption jumps to 84% on COVID-19 disarray–across choice sectors

Corporate adoption of industrial IoT has spiralled upwards in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, according to new research from Inmarsat. The UK satellite comms provider said 84 percent of global companies, across various industrial sectors, are accelerating IoT in response to challenges related to Covid-19, with about half (47 percent) on the case already, and the rest (37 percent) in planning.

Those that have already started claimed a lesser impact from Covid-19 disruptions, it said. The company polled 450 ‘global’ organisations, it said, spread across the agriculture, electrical utilities, mining, oil and gas, and transport and logistics sectors. In total, more than three quarters (77 percent) of organisations it polled at the start of 2021 have deployed at least one IoT project, with two in five (41 per cent) getting started on IoT in the 12 months following the Covid-19 outbreak, in the period since the second quarter of 2020.

A quarter of respondents – the 23 percent that have not yet deployed IoT projects – are either trialling the technology, or have tests in their roadmaps over the next 18 months. Half (52 percent) made a direct link between business and operational challenges related to Covid-19 and the value of IoT technologies. Inmarsat said: “It is… logical Covid-19 has catalysed businesses to increase their reliance on Industry 4.0 tech, and particularly industrial IoT, in order to maintain business continuity.”

Mike Carter, president of Inmarsat’s enterprise business, commented: “While our findings point to IoT driving significant uplifts in efficiency, sustainability, and safety across global supply chains, there are areas where organisations can make improvements. Connectivity, data management, skills shortages, security threats, and investment levels remain challenges as the world’s production and supply chains become increasingly digitalised and intertwined.”

Last month, Inmarsat announced it is to launch a global narrowband network for IoT connectivity, targeting the aviation, maritime, and government sectors. The new service, which goes by the name ELERA, and launches in trial mode with aviation customers in 2022, uses L-band spectrum for various satellite and terrestrial usage. Inmarsat holds spectrum for satellite-based mobile communications at 1525-1646.5 MHz.

Inmarsat said it expects to launch with various mobility, government and IoT customers over the “coming few years”. The launch follows its announcement last month it is to combine existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G in an integrated solution called ORCHESTRA, billed as the “largest ever transformation” for the company’s connectivity portfolio.

The new ELERA offer is being presented as a “springboard for innovation… on land, at sea and in the air”. The company said: “The unique capabilities of ELERA, combined with Inmarsat’s superior spectrum and the ideally suited orbital position of its satellite networks, will make it the essential catalyst for new IoT use cases, across everything from autonomous transport and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to industrial and agricultural IoT.”

The company is promising connectivity speeds “up to 1.7Mbps” and smaller and lower cost terminals. It said carrier aggregation capabilities will be incorporated into the ELERA network to offer the fastest L-band speeds in the market — “far outstripping the capabilities of any other worldwide L-band network,” it said. New hardware innovations (“smallest footprint, low cost”) will deliver “the ideal framework for satcom IoT at scale”, it said.

Carter said: “Inmarsat’s ELERA network is enabling organisations from all sectors to access IoT anywhere. Suited to the rapidly evolving world of IoT, our industry-leading narrowband network provides global reach, extraordinary resilience, and the fastest speeds, along with the smallest, low-cost terminals in their class. Organisations looking to accelerate IoT need look no further than Inmarsat and our partner ecosystem – the widest of any satellite provider – to solve their IoT connectivity needs.” EnterpriseIoTInsights


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