This week Totum Labs announced the successful indoor operation of their direct-to-satellite IoT connectivity solution, showcasing bidirectional (two-way) communication between a fully integrated system on a chip (SOC) and Totum’s low earth orbit (LEO) “satellite” hosted onboard a Loft Orbital spacecraft. Up to 2 million device have been pre-ordered, according to the company’s September 27 press release.
“In a word, we’re thrilled,” says Ted Myers, founder and CEO at Totum. “In 3 years, we’ve gone from the back of a napkin to demonstrating the world’s first direct-to-satellite communication system that works outdoors and indoors with a modem the size of a postage stamp.”
The Totum Labs IoT endpoint was located in a San Diego office building and made use of a miniature omnidirectional antenna, with a production device expected to provide both connectivity and position information for up to 10 years on battery power.
“We’ve effectively created a whole new category for IoT connectivity,” says Dave Gell, Chief Commercial Officer at Totum. “Combining the global coverage of satellite with an indoor reach comparable to cellular puts us in a unique position to solve some of the thorniest problems in IoT today.”
“Critically, we’re able to do this with a total cost of ownership (TCO) that beats cellular. Not surprisingly, the market is responding,” adds Gell. “We’ve built strong partnerships with OEMs, solution providers and value-added resellers who combined have placed advance orders for 2 million devices with service.”
Totum says its indoors-to-satellite solution will unlock high-volume applications for supply chain, logistics, agriculture, transportation, energy, and industrial markets which require global coverage and indoor reach, representing a $20B+ connectivity opportunity.
The first Totum Labs payload went into orbit onboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 rideshare on June 30, 2021, part of a larger mission putting 88 spacecraft into orbit. Totum’s 1U payload, packed with FPGA processing power to pull low-power RF signals out of background noise, is hosted onboard a Loft Orbital YAM satellite with several other customers. The company plans to launch several more hosted payloads into orbit with expectation to launch its own IoT satellite tracking constellation in the future. Low-power, low-bitrate satellite IoT service providers are flooding the market, with Astrocast and Myriota both positioning themselves as embedded solutions while Semtech’s open LoRaWAN is being used by numerous demonstration projects around the world. Totum Labs has an intriguingly different solution with the versatility to operate both indoors and outdoors and plans to provide supplemental precision location equipment for indoors operations.