TAMPA, FL. Luxembourg startup OQ Technology said on February 16 that it had received its first patent for a planned satellite group to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
OQ founder and CEO Omar Kaiz said the patent, issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, would “give us an edge over competitors” in the increasingly crowded space IoT market.
Qaise said the patent covers “wake-up” technology, which allows OQ terminal devices to save energy by keeping in touch with satellites only as needed.
He said the technology would help OQ develop devices that meet the 10-year battery life that 3GPP, an international body that sets standards for terrestrial wireless providers, created for IoT narrowband.
However, other small satellite companies IoT are developing constellations that promise similar capabilities, said Northern Sky Research analyst Alan Crisp, who said he “should also lead to a 10-year battery life, that is, send data only then if there is a satellite to save energy. ”
One is the Sateliot of Spain, which says the ability of its future constellation to connect to proprietary IoT devices, also through 3GPP standards, is a key advantage over competitors.
“Own functions are never an advantage,” said Sateliot CEO Jaum Sanpera SpaceNewsarguing that these decisions “don’t go far” despite the possibility of starting earlier.
“In a standard ecosystem, the difference is in the business model and how well your implementation, operation and evolution are,” he added.
Sateliot is working closely with 3GPP to help shape the standards to be released this year, which, according to Sanpera, will be critical to integrating IoT satellite solutions with terrestrial mobile operators.
He said technologies developed before the completion of these standards would not be able to integrate effectively with the terrestrial mobile ecosystem.
However, OQ is confident that it will be able to adapt to the incoming standards, according to Qaise, because “the 3GPP standard provides guidance for compliance requirements, not the actual implementation.”
He told SpaceNews these instructions allow the startup to implement “effective features based on software-level requirements and specifications” that can be updated as needed.
“The hardware on board our satellites is programmable, so the software can be updated in orbit,” he said.
According to OQ, it successfully tested a custom terminal compatible with 5G terrestrial technology with Tiger-2, the startup’s first commercial nanosatellite, which was launched during the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission in June.
Lithuania NanoAvionics announced the contract last year to create, integrate and operate Tiger-2 on behalf of OQ.
Qaise my plans deploy up to six more satellites in 2022 under an agreement with spaceflight broker to create a team of more than 60 spacecraft.
He said the company’s next satellite, Tiger-3, is scheduled to launch as part of the SpaceX Transporter-4 mission “no earlier than April 2022.”
OQ has five more patents in the U.S. and Europe that, according to Qaise, will also give it an edge over other companies vying for a new market for small satellite IoT. These patents cover frequency and time synchronization technologies, IoT device localization, and intersatellite communications.
The startup aims to use small satellites in low Earth orbit to connect low-power devices in rural and remote locations to track assets, control drones, telematics vehicles and other applications that require less than 10 milliseconds of delay.
Satellite said Feb. 9 he raised 10 million euros ($ 11.4 million) in the Serie A round after also launching inaugural satellite for a similar IoT business last year.
The Spanish startup said the funds will support research and development to grow its business. It also plans a Series B series to support the launch of 16 nanosatellites in 2022-2023.