Connectivity ‘is the biggest roadblock to IoT’, says Inmarsat

Inmarsat has found that low rates of connectivity are the biggest concern facing companies in the energy sector that are attempting to deploy IoT.

The report, The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017, reveals that of the 100 respondents who took part in the survey, 54% cited connectivity as its biggest obstacle in IoT deployment, scoring higher than the 35% and 27% of those who placed lack of skills and cyber security as top of the list. The report follows a recently released report commissioned for Inmarsat by market research company Vanson Bourne, 

Chuck Moseley, senior director for energy at Inmarsat Enterprise, commented on the findings, saying: “IoT will play a crucial role in the digital transformation of the energy sector. High-speed connectivity is critical to a successful and profitable IoT solution, to ensure the collection and transmission of high volumes of valuable data from sensors for analysis. Without this connectivity and the real-time transfer of data, energy companies will be unable to analyse their data and extract valuable insights."

The report says the lack of high-speed connectivity restricts companies from accessing the full value offered by IoT, leaving them unable to gather and analyse data. A further 24% of respondents said that the lack of connectivity was threatening to further derail their IoT projects before they’ve even started. 

“Connected sensors can gather vital data in a wide range of applications, offering energy companies an unprecedented opportunity to improve safety, improve operating efficiencies and reduce production costs. For example, oil producers and pipeline operators can use sensors to monitor hundreds of wells in real time to understand the amount and quality of the oil and gas being extracted or moved. They can also monitor for downtime, unusual behaviour or even accidental leaks, putting them in a stronger position to take pre-emptive action. Energy companies who want to use IoT in this way need to have a constant, uninterrupted stream of data to make informed decisions about their operations, but to achieve that you need access to a robust, reliable communications network,” said Moseley.

Commenting on the importance satellite networks have in the role of rural IoT deployments and as a possible solution to the problem commenting, Moseley concluded: “The remote location of many production sites and pipelines means that traditional cellular and terrestrial networks do not always provide reliable and stable connectivity. Satellite communication networks can prove invaluable in the deployment of IoT solutions, offering constant, reliable and resilient connectivity. Inmarsat’s satellite communication network can deliver truly global, high speed connectivity to any location and collect large volumes of data with 99.9% uptime, enabling energy companies to focus on the continued innovation and development of IoT and embark on the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

In a Capacity exclusive Inmarsat recently confirmed its intention to target US telecoms operators to launch in-flight connectivity services in the region. The move mirrors its previous deal with Deutsche Telekom in Europe, which sees DT provide a terrestrial network supported by Inmarsat’s satellites.