Iridium Communications Inc. has announced today the commercial launch of its Iridium Certus broadband service, the first new capability activated from the company’s USD3 billion Iridium® NEXT satellite replacement programme. Iridium Certus is designed for the development of specialty applications and “is the world’s only truly global broadband service, offering on-the-move internet and high-quality voice access,” according to the company. The service enables mobile office functionality for deployed teams and two-way remote communication for assets, autonomous vehicles, trains, aircraft and ships at sea. This also includes safety-of-life services, operating beyond the reach of cellular coverage, including first responders and search and rescue organizations.
Iridium Certus enables comms-on-the-move capabilities based on the L-band user network. This includes keeping lone workers, crews at sea or operational aircraft safely connected and maintaining consistent communication, regardless of location. Iridium Certus can also support applications that serve remotely deployed IoT devices or mobile platforms like UAVs for vital command and control links for the long haul delivery of critical supplies like vaccines and medicine.
“At its core, Iridium Certus… will enable us to provide broadband connections to teams, vehicles and the important IoT “things” that are in the 80-plus percent of the world that lacks cellular coverage,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “Adoption of this new service by our partners has already begun, and it has been eagerly anticipated by every target industry. The launch of this service is a huge achievement, and it is already disrupting the status-quo through our smaller, faster, lighter and more cost-effective terminals and service.”
Aside from operating on the only truly global satellite constellation, Iridium Certus terminals are smaller in form factor, will offer higher speeds and are more cost-effective than competitive L-band broadband offerings, said the company. Terminals are being built by Cobham (maritime), Thales (maritime, aviation and land-mobile), Collins Aerospace (aviation), L3 (aviation), Gogo (aviation) and Satcom Direct (aviation).
For government users, Iridium Certus provides a secure solution that supports the mission-critical requirements of the warfighter, including truly mobile hardware that is resilient and rugged enough to withstand high-risk combat zones and inclement weather events. For IoT applications, Iridium Certus will in the future deliver Internet Protocol (IP) data applications over smaller, portable and more cost-effective devices to vertical markets like industrial IoT, forestry, utilities, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), transportation and construction, to name a few. In the coming year, Iridium plans to introduce an even more versatile transceiver that can scale down terminals to smaller, lighter and more portable uses on vehicles, drones, buoys, endangered animals and more. These transceivers will then become part of long-lasting battery-powered devices ideal for IoT applications in remote environments.
Iridium is debuting the service, which will feature a variety of speed classes, with the Iridium Certus 350 (352/352 Kbps) offering, which supports capabilities like internet and high-quality voice services to compact terminals built specifically for maritime, aviation and terrestrial/vehicle applications. Terminals will be upgradable to the next speed class, Iridium Certus 700 (352/704 Kbps), with a firmware update once available. Initial activations of the service occurred in December of 2018.