On land, at sea and everywhere in between
The world of connectivity is changing rapidly; the demand for bandwidth is skyrocketing, thousands of new satellites are set to launch within the next two years and new technologies are disrupting the status quo. Metamaterials-based technology is leading this charge, changing the face of mobile connectivity across a wide range of sectors, from the connected car and mass transportation to public safety and superyachts. The company driving this is the innovator behind this unique tech, Redmond Washington-based Kymeta Corporation.
Partly driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), the number of connected devices is on a rapidly upward trajectory. According to business intelligence company IHS Markit, the number of connected IoT devices worldwide will jump from around the current 27 billion to a staggering 125 billion by 2030 – a momentous leap by anyone’s standards. To keep pace with demand for connectivity, satellite companies including OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat are planning to launch thousands of LEO satellites over the next few years; mega-constellations that will deliver high speed broadband right across the globe to even the remotest of areas.
These LEO satellites offer tremendous potential in terms of connectivity, something realised by Nathan Kundtz PhD, the founder, President and CEO of Kymeta. Founded in 2012, Kundtz’s company focuses on making mobile communications more accessible the world over. With financial backing from Bill Gates, Intelsat and leading venture capitalists, Kymeta mTenna™ technology is revolutionising connectivity across many sectors, including maritime where Kymeta™ flat panel antennas have been making waves over the past 12 months. The company has picked up many accolades in its short life, including Startup of the Year 2017 by SpaceNews, making Morgan Stanley’s list of disruptors in the satellite sector and receiving the International Superyacht Society Award for Excellence in Innovation 2017.
This article will look at how these sectors have already changed, and how this new tech will impact the future.
(See Video) See Nathan Kundtz, PhD at TEDxSeattle – Let’s make connectivity mobile
Traditional wireless networks are expensive to expand and slow to react. But now there is a viable alternative: lightweight, efficient communication systems that do not require mechanical components to steer toward a satellite. These flat panel antennas will ultimately enable LEO mega-constellations to achieve their full potential.
Flat panel antennas are not unique to Kymeta, but the technology behind its antennas is different. The company takes a completely new approach that is supported by years of research and development and backed by numerous patents. Kymeta‘s metamaterial technology is created by arranging naturally occurring materials in a specific pattern that produces a holographic beam, while the antenna uses software to automatically electronically point and steer toward a satellite. It is also the first satellite antenna designed for the mass market, making it firmly ahead of the curve.
This allows it to present a number of forward-thinking key features, including transmitting and receiving connectivity via a single aperture, wide angle scanning, excellent beam performance and electronically controlled pointing and polarization. It also has extremely low power consumption, making it very attractive to those within yachting.
The new era of satellites will increasingly provide the coverage and capacity necessary to connect everyone, everywhere, while keeping up with increasing demand for high bandwidth mobile connectivity. Parabolic antennas have limited the places that current satellite networks can be used due to the size, weight, mechanical parts, high power consumption and complexity. Technology such as that produced by Kymeta addresses these limitations. It makes it possible to connect any platform, mobile or fixed, anywhere there is a view of the sky.
Kymeta has also partnered with Intelsat to offer Kymeta K?LO™ internet services with its flat panel antennas, in the same way that a mobile provider offers data with its phones. This new technology is already opening up new markets for the satellite industry and allowing organisations that require high-bandwidth mobile internet access to do business while on the move.
At the end of last year, the company completed its first K?LO Trek Across America in a Toyota RAV4, travelling over 7,000 miles across the country to test out its internet services in a rigorous, real-world situation. This journey proved the success of a broad range of applications running over the K?LO network, including video conferencing, content streaming, voice-based searches, accessing enterprise applications and more – all while on the move.
Keeping the Government connected
The Kymeta Government Solutions division has recently completed successful sea trials on a small watercraft with a U.S. Government customer using Kymeta K?LO™ satellite internet services bundled with its terminals. The trials were performed as the vessels moved from inland waterways to distances as far as one hundred miles offshore, experiencing varying sea states and weather conditions. Kymeta terminals and services both delivered an exceptional performance.
Superyachts face a revolution
In conjunction with its exclusive superyacht distribution partner e3 Systems, Kymeta technology is leading a revolution in marine connectivity. Following successful rigorous sea trials in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean, Kymeta flat panel antennas and terminals are now available commercially. A number of yachts are already using the single panel solution on a daily basis with great success in the Caribbean, and the multi-panel solution will be available within the next few months.
Reliable internet for renewable energy
Renewable energy operations most often exist in remote locations far away from major metropolitan areas and have few or no options for connectivity. This is problematic as power grids require consistent load balancing, monitoring, security, safety protocol management, and asset management. Recently however, Kymeta has expanded its distribution network to include FMC GlobalSat, which makes efficient and reliable satellite communications and internet connectivity available to wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy facilities.
New satellites constellations will provide life-changing opportunity to those companies positioned to take advantage of this new world of connectivity. Metamaterial technology is leading the way, with these unique flat panel antennas set to revolutionise connectivity on land, at sea and everywhere in between.
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