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What are the current uses of IoT in space?

IoT networks and satellites could eventually bring internet service to remote areas of the world, but developers still need to create a standard for connections to the networks.

IoT in space currently has more conceptual uses than actual applications because it has many obstacles to overcome before organizations can use IoT in space practically.

One proposal is to use IoT and satellites to provide internet service for underserved areas of the world. Several companies, including Google and Facebook, have been looking into this. The European Union began the IoT European Platform Initiative to assist businesses that are implementing IoT projects. At this point in time, however, the power requirements and broadband cost limit the functionality.

Another possible use would be to connect terrestrial IoT networks with satellites to create low-power WAN (LPWAN) in space. LPWAN would require less bandwidth and power and provide the ability to scale the number of connections. This is still in the conceptual phase and questions must still be answered, such as how many satellites should be launched, how large should the satellites be, where should IoT networks be installed and what should the standard for network connections be.

The cost of IoT networks in space also poses a challenge. Current costs are based on the data rate because IoT is still in the development stage. Once developers fully establish IoT networks and the interfaces to satellites, the costs for data transfer will shift to the number of connections. Developers must plan how a satellite would interface with a new network request. Would IT administrators manage requests from a ground station, or would the satellite manage them using AI? Organizations hoping to develop IoT in space must address the cost of connecting a new network to a satellite and how to process finances before a satellite responds to a new request. When the organizations developing IoT in space resolve the obstacles, organizations that use the network will be charged per device connection, not for the data transfer.

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