The field of new satellite Internet of Things (IoT) companies just got more crowded. France-based Kineis announced it plans to launch a constellation of 20 nanosatellites “custom developed” for IoT by 2021. The venture’s greatest advantages may be a combination of heritage and marketing dollars.
“Kineis is a satellite operator that will provide unique, universal connectivity fully dedicated to the IoT industry,” said Alexandre Tisserant, Kineis Project Leader. “Any object fitted with a Kineis modem can be located and transmit data wherever it is, whatever the conditions. Kineis connectivity is simple to integrate into third-party devices, consumes very little power and is reliable. All this will be available at a very competitive price, making it accessible to as many people as possible, so Kineis will very soon be locating and collecting data from several million connected objects, in real or near-real time. The company will become the natural partner for all entrepreneurs seeking to offer their customers an inexpensive satellite-based Internet of Things.”
Kineis says it plans to connect “several millions objects” around the globe by 2030, according to the company’s press release out this morning and is laying claim to the first “European constellation of nanosatellites” – something Swiss-based Astrocast, Netherlands-based HIber Global and others may dispute, especially since Astrocast is on track to launch its first cubesats between late 2019 and early 2020.
The company traces its system heritage to the ARGOS system created by French aerospace firms CLS and CNES in the 1980s to track connected objects. CLS has logged 40 year of experience in geo-location and data collection tracking hundreds of thousands of ARGOS items, with the heritage being rolled into the new system. Companies will be able to test IoT implementations with the current six ARGOS satellites in orbit and a forthcoming pathfinder nanosatellite to be launched in 2019.
Like Myriota and Astrocast implementations of IoT, the Kineis system will use its own chipset to connected sensors, with chips being small, low-power, and low price. The 20 Angels satellites will pick up data from tagged items.
The Kineis system offers “universal” (i.e. global), simple, low-power, reliability connectivity. Kineis says it plans to work closely with terrestrial IoT operators, current satellite operators and connected object manufacturers to sell its services.
Kineis is a spinoff company from CLS with the cost to build, launch, and operate its new constellation put at around 120 million euros ($139 million). CLS is moving the one-way ARGOS tracking network over to Kineis, with new Angel satellites able to incorporate two-way communications as a feature.
Angel satellites will be built by Thales Alena Space, Nexeya, and Syrlinks. Each satellite is expected to weigh in at 25 kilograms, 16U in size, have propulsion capability, and operate for four years in low earth orbit, according to Space News. As a spin-off, Kineis will be looking to raise its own venture funding to build its network.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Kineis has is its corporate-level marketing effort with the weight of CLS and CNES behind it. The company’s launch included proactive media outreach, some coordinated social media, and a fancy website with lots of information and corporate namedropping.