How Skylo Is Making It Easier To Connect To IoT Sensors

By Annie Baker ● February 10, 2020
  • Skylo is a company that is making the world’s most affordable and ubiquitous network that connects any machine or sensor. These are the details about the company.

Skylo is a company that is making the world’s most affordable and ubiquitous network that connects any machine or sensor. The company also recently announced it raised $116 million in total funding to date. The company’s recent Series B round of funding was led by SoftBank Group and included participation from DCM, Innovation Endeavors, and Moore Strategic Ventures.

The Skylo Network is hosted on existing geostationary satellites, enabling immediate connectivity for customers without the need to add new infrastructure in space. And for the first time, formerly analog industries such as agriculture, fishing, railways, logistics, and utility infrastructure have an affordable and easy way to connect IoT sensors.

The company’s goal is to build a global fabric for machine data connectivity and target a growing market sized at over 1 billion devices globally

And Skylo is aiming to bring instant, affordable, and ubiquitous Internet of Things connectivity to millions of machines, sensors, and devices, even in the most remote geographies.

Skylo is essentially the world’s first company to leverage the cellular Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) protocol via satellite, making it possible to connect billions of sensors on objects and machines in remote areas. And Skylo’s new satellite connectivity utilizes existing geostationary satellites to bring reliable connectivity without the need to add new infrastructure in space.

The company has successfully built and proven its end-to-end technology and completed successful commercial field trials with major enterprise and government customers. And Skylo customers already include enterprise and government entities in a range of industries such as automotive, railways, agriculture, and maritime.

“Skylo’s satellite technology creates an affordable way to connect more of the physical world to the internet, even in remote areas,” stated Yoshi Segawa, vice president at SoftBank Group International. “Skylo’s antenna technology and use of the narrowband internet of things protocol is revolutionary, and we look forward to working with the company in developing new use cases.”

Currently, Skylo costs 95% less than existing satellite solutions with connectivity starting at just $1 per user and hardware that costs less than $100. And Skylo is the world’s most affordable satellite technology and will enable operations for remote businesses, increase safety, drive economic development and job creation, and help with disaster preparedness and response.

“Skylo envisions a world where connectivity for machines, sensors and devices is as ubiquitous as the sky,” said Skylo CEO & Co-Founder Parthsarathi Trivedi in a statement. “This low-cost, global fabric of connectivity for machine data will be transformative for entire industries.”

Skylo was originally founded in 2017 by Trivedi, Chief Technology Officer Dr. Andrew Nuttall, and Chief Hub Architect Dr. Andrew Kalman.

And the company’s board of directors includes Trivedi, Board Chairman former U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer, David Chao of DCM, Scott Brady of Innovation Endeavors, and Innovation Endeavors partner Harpinder Singh. SoftBank Group will also have a representative on the Board of Directors – who will be Segawa.

Skylo provided a list of potential use cases such as:

1.) Mobilizing data for shipping and logistics: Telemetry sensors are increasingly being built into and retrofitted onto trucks and railway cars. But the connectivity needed to make the data actionable has been missing. By setting them up with Skylo’s geographically ubiquitous connectivity, customers have a way to access real-time delivery updates thus ensuring the integrity of temperature-sensitive deliveries while also monitoring maintenance schedules, certify safety compliance, and more.

2.) The ability to improve agriculture crop health and productivity. Skylo allows farmers to optimize operations by sending and receiving real-time data about growing conditions such as air temperature, moisture level or soil pH.

3.) The data is able to inform watering schedules, fertilizer needs, and growth cycles, which results in lower energy costs, less water usage, and healthier crops. And Skylo also supports emerging business models for equipment sharing, enabling “tractor sharing.” This means farmers and equipment owners can connect to and share heavy-duty machinery, which enables hundreds of millions of farmers to increase their productivity because of affordable access to farming equipment.

4.) Plus the technology can be used to digitize the fisheries industry. Currently, there are about 4.6 million fishing vessels and the Skylo Hub connects to existing Android devices over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi thus enabling fishermen to access life-saving two-way SOS communications, connect with their fleet operator, and access markets to transact their catch while still at sea.

“Skylo lives up to the definition of a disruptive innovation — with its low costs, it will enable millions of unconnected devices to experience the transformative effects of connectivity — saving lives, enhancing livelihoods and creating connections where they didn’t exist before,” explained Kramer. “Skylo is a global game-changer.”