Diane Janosek


Internet of Things, Nano-satellite Constellations, IoT, Internet, CubeSats, Satellites, Space, Data Flow


The Internet of Things has experienced exponential growth and use across the globe with 25.1 billion devices currently in use. Until recently, the functionality of the IoT was dependent on secure data flow between internet terrestrial stations and the IoT devices. Now, a new alternative path of data flow is on the horizon.

IoT device manufacturers are now looking to outer space nanosatellite constellations to connect to a different type of internet. This new internet is no longer terrestrial with fiber cables six feet underground but now looking up, literally, 200 to 300 miles above the earth, to communicate, connect and transmit data. Remarkably innovative, nanosatellites are the opposite of typical or historically sizable satellites. Nanosatellites are quite small and can even be the size of a shoebox. These extremely small satellites are ruggedized enough to be placed into orbit for 2 to 5 years all while communicating ubiquitously back to earth. Also known as “CubeSats,” these low-cost solutions to space technologies are now seen as a viable alternative to traditional terrestrial-based internet for IoT’s device needs.

These low-cost satellites have significant benefits. For one, they have lowered the barrier to entry. Also, due to their design for purpose, functionality of nanosatellites can be tailored. Tailoring generally results in a higher-than-average return on investment, thus making tailored satellites more attractive to both investors and industry alike.

Many companies across multiple countries recognize the value of nanosatellites. France and Spain are ahead of the curve for space based IoT device connectivity. With this new technology, the field of nanosatellites is exploding with tremendous investment.

The current U.S. investment in space is $350 billion annually, and it is expected to grow to $1 Trillion or more by 2040. Indeed, a new era of data flow to and from “things” may quite well result in a “satellite network of things” in place of IoT in the near future. Both France and Spain have invested in this new arena with nanosatellite constellations imminent for IoT devices, and the United States is posed to learn from their approach. This is the space, literally outer space, to watch.