Combining Cellular and Satellite Connectivity in Asset Tracking

Combining Cellular and Satellite Connectivity to Improve Asset Tracking

The advent of cellular IoT connectivity revolutionized how businesses could track assets and fleets around the world, and the exponential growth of connected devices continues at a rapid pace. The GSMA reports that between 2020 and 2022, LTE-M networks increased nearly 30%. This increase demonstrates how fundamental connectivity has become to support the way businesses manage their fleets.

But what happens when those fleets move outside the boundaries of cellular services? How can businesses circumvent issues when assets are in remote locations? Here, we’ll discuss the benefits of satellite asset tracking, and how using satellite connectivity along with cellular should become standard for the future success of asset management enterprises.

Combining Satellite and Cellular Connectivity

The ability to track fleets on the move and ground in areas where cellular connectivity is reliable and readily available has significantly improved in recent years. But as companies expand their global presence, sending assets or fleets across oceans or into remote areas, cellular connectivity is no longer a viable or singular option for asset monitoring. In the shipping industry, for example, cellular connectivity allows companies to check ship location statuses from port to port, but not in between.

Satellite tracking bridges the gap when ships travel across oceans, allowing for more efficient and effective fleet tracking. While satellite services were once prohibitively expensive, demand has pushed prices down, and more satellite providers make the cellular/satellite connection financially viable. Now, cellular and satellite networks offer a perfect balance between performance and price.

Plus, when devices are on the move in remote locations—where cell towers are scarce or non-existent—satellite connectivity becomes the only reliable method to track assets and fleets.

When the Assets You’re Tracking Are People

There are recognizable use cases for combined cellular/satellite asset tracking—container shipping, as we’ve mentioned, and other supply chain logistics. But there are other use cases—ones in which the devices that need to be tracked are people.

The co-founder of NEYOS, a manufacturer of a portable geolocation beacon, began the company after a life-threatening incident during which they were unable to reach emergency services while on a mountain. Based on that experience, they developed the NEYOS Otrac, the first satellite and cellular geolocation beacon that allows the tracking of remote sporting activities, like ultra-marathons. And this tracker has become available at a time when ultra-marathoning is rapidly growing.

Ultramarathon participation has vastly increased over the years—a staggering 345% in the last decade. As more people become interested in this activity, tracking participants becomes even more essential to ensure runner safety.

NEYOS provides sporting event organizers the Otrac and a subscription connectivity plan that offers 4G cellular and satellite tracking ideal for monitoring in remote locations. Runners receive tracking beacons as part of their marathon safety protocol. If a runner participating in an organization’s event deviates from the planned course or experiences an emergency, the event organizers receive alerts through the Otrac security beacon and can dispatch help promptly.

Other Industries Benefiting from Combining Cellular and Satellite Connectivity

The NEYOS beacon use case applies not only to ultra-marathoning, but also to many other remote sporting events, like sailing competitions, remote hiking and cycling, and rally raids. It also benefits many more emerging industries thanks to its flexible use of both cellular and satellite connectivity.

Another instance in which people need to be monitored is when companies dispatch lone workers to remote areas. Similar to sporting event participant tracking, using a monitoring device in conjunction with satellite connectivity gives businesses peace of mind that their employees can make emergency contact using their tracking device. Other sporting activities, like sailing competitions, or agricultural goods tracking—where food is monitored from farm to port, to ship, then to store—also require both remote satellite and cellular services.

Cellular and Satellite Tracking for Asset Management

Businesses have benefited from asset tracking and management thanks to cellular IoT connectivity, but they need to look to the future in which assets are moving across areas without cell towers. Devices like the NEYOS Otrac, combined with cellular and satellite services provided by Monogoto and Skylo, ensure a smooth transition into the future of asset management.

Monogoto is the first ever private-public cellular cloud - Enabling public and private seamless connectivity for any project with global connectivity alongside private LTE/5G networks.
Monogoto is the first ever private-public cellular cloud - Enabling public and private seamless connectivity for any project with global connectivity alongside private LTE/5G networks.