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Wannabe satellite Iot constellation company Hiber announced a strategic partnership with Inmarsat. Hiber which is one of the oldest satellite IoT companies (founded in 2018) decided earlier this year to give back its FCC licence, renouncing to luanch its own satellites to provide IoT connectivity. In a pivot that only start-ups can make, it decided to focus its development on IoT solutions and services for some key vertical markets (oil well monitoring, asset tracking…). In this new model, Hiber will act as a service provider, delivering complete solutions: devices, connectivity, platform, support… As such, the company does not need to have its own satellites, which explains the decision.

As usual, a few comments on this move…

The gotomarket strategy for satellite IoT between connectivity only or full service has been a permanent debate. While historic companies like Iridium and Globalstar are mostly providing connectivity only, players like Orbcomm and Inmarsat have implemented a mix or are trying to develop their own solutions.

For new players, the issue lies in the cash flow requirements: while connectivity only will sell for $1-$2/month, full service can be from $10-$30 generating more cash, which is key for new entrants. In the LPWAN world, Sigfox decided to move from a connectivity company to a service provider.

The hiber decision is not surprising as the new management team is focused on developing the business, not the technology. The decision a year ago to have a gateway linked to diverse IoT sensors (instead of a direct sensor to satellite link) paved the way to use existing satellites as there are many gateways available on the market.

A few points are unclear at this stage. On the technical side, is Hiber using existing protocols (like IsatDataPro) or are they implementing their own protocols on a leased channel. This may have an impact over the performances and power consumption. Also, the European EIC granted an estimated 26M€ in funding to Hiber: while a lot of cash is needed for a satellite constellation, much less is required to become a service provider. How will EIC react to this change? Wait and see!

Press release here.

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Hiber announces deal with Inmarsat