Bringing IoT and Blockchain to the World, Part II: Liberating Data With Smallsat Connectivity

By December 21, 2018Blogs

The most significant barriers limiting IoT adoption for small and large enterprises: security, tech integration, and cost. (Raconteur)

Translating High Tech Into Mass Tech

Between our menageries of connected devices, near-constant connectivity and smarter tools, IoT may seem like it’s already everywhere — but our current state of connected devices marks just the beginning of the what is becoming a connected data deluge. “Many of us encounter IoT in our lives, but it’s typically the kind that measures things, spits out suggestions from the internet or involves high tech used at work,” explains Scott Larson, Helios Wire CEO.

Then there’s Industrial IoT (IIoT).

To date, IIoT has been focused for use in large factories, internal logistics in warehouses, and other large-scale applications. “We’ll soon see a shift of technological focus, so that IIoT solutions are opened up to mass markets,” explains Larson. “Our role is to take that IIoT solution set downstream, and to open it up. We’re trying to answer the question of how we can bring that high-tech game into the hands of a farmer in India who wants to improve the yield of their crops.”

At an organizational scale, the more efficiently big data can be obtained and analyzed, the more efficient the organization’s output of product or service. That means that gains from IoT democratization and blockchain connectivity can be at least two fold.

Right now, IoT is “complex, costly and long term,” reports Raconteur. While IoT may in fact make monitoring and tracking cheaper, what will make IoT itself cheaper? 

“There is a huge market that is currently not being served by global connectivity for IoT and blockchain transactions, because it’s simply prohibitively expensive to operate with cell and wifi networks. It doesn’t yet make business sense, but that doesn’t have to be the case for much longer,” says Larson.

In 2014, Venturebeat estimated that the cost of cheap IoT would be high. We now know — and will soon see — how that doesn’t have to be the case. With smallsat-powered networks that can also harness blockchain to secure those systems and devices, the costs associated with security, connectivity and interoperability can be mitigated

“Comprising the most mature segment of the IoT, companies will continue pouring billions of dollars into connected devices and automation. By 2023, the total industrial robotic system installed base will approach 6 million worldwide, while annual spending on manufacturing IoT solutions will reach about $450 billion.” — Business Insider


Expandable Markets

Mention IoT, or one of its variants like IIoT, and what typically comes to mind are tech behemoths like Cysco, Amazon and IBM. But if you take the long-tail market and expand all of those impressive market projections to include companies like home-grown distributors, suddenly you have a limitless market that ranges from basement startups to Fortune 500 companies. 

“The Global Industrial Internet Of Things Market is expected to exceed more than US$ 176 billion by 2022 and will grow at a CAGR of more than 8% in the given forecast period.” — Market Research Engine. 

Not only are broader connectivity at lower rates a boon for the small-to-medium (and even large) businesses, but the analysis and resultant efficiencies that are reaped from these technologies sets up businesses for aforementioned two-fold gains. And while the first aim is to be a democratizing agent for organizational IoT, Helios Wire’s vision is ultimately at the individual level, beyond consumerism.

What makes that democratization foreseeable are smallsats.


Massive, Liberated Data 

When we talk about democratization at the individual level, we’re thinking raspberry pi, not only raspberry pie. Home control devices are just the start, and the fact that manufacturers can more cheaply and efficiently create sensors for the home, means that we’re closer to sensor ubiquity in other markets as well. But getting sensors to the consumer level isn’t easy at a mass and application-agnostic scale. Preconfigured sensors exist, but primarily for very specific network types and for specific application types. 

Much like the raspberry pie computing device, affordability will be key. If you can buy them at Best Buy (but more realistically, Amazon) then that’s when your IoT system is truly democratized. For instance, a small-scale shipper who wants to take their operations up a notch and scale from national to international.

Of course, Helios’ mandate is that organizations and individuals shouldn’t have to drop billions, or even millions, of dollars to get operations tracking along with global coverage. It’s smallsat-based connectivity that we anticipate will supercharge that, while other democratizing players like those working in microservices will play a role as well. 

For a better look at how a space-based system would look, and how it could interact with existing connectivity sources here on earth in order to bolster both systems while making them more secure, check out our blog ‘How Space-based Blockchain Can Bring Much-Needed Security to the Internet of Things’.


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