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Background last update:28 Apr 2020

Myriota connects remote farmers to nanosatellites

Australian company Myriota supplies remote farmers, who don’t have access to the internet, with low-cost connectivity solutions.

Australian company Myriota has recently introduced a low-cost, low-power satellite connectivity for Internet-of-Things (IoT) in Australia and New Zealand. The company is set to expand the reach of its satellite communication technology this year to North America, Great Britain and Europe.

Great demand for IoT connectivity service

Myriota is an Adelaide-based business, formed in 2015 with its roots in research, developed at the University of South Australia. According to vice-president sales Tom Rayner, there is great demand among farmers for an IoT connectivity service. “We expect thousands of farmers to use our product by the end of the year”, he says.

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Vice-president sales Tom Rayner: "Farmers are screaming out for low-cost connectivity solutions." - Photos: Myriota / Rosina Possingham
Vice-president sales Tom Rayner: "Farmers are screaming out for low-cost connectivity solutions." - Photos: Myriota / Rosina Possingham

Many farmers can’t use the internet

Mr Rayner points out that many farmers cannot use the internet for agtech applications presently. “In Australia, 34% of farms are more than 10 kilometres away from cell towers. And 70% of the country has no cell coverage whatsoever. Farmers are screaming out for low-cost connectivity solutions.”

Send low data messages direct to satellites

He explains that without coverage farmers cannot take advantage of all the new technology, that comes available. “That’s why they come on board, to increase their productivity and efficiencies”, Mr Rayner says. “They need to have an interface for sensors, machines or devices, and are now able to send low data messages direct to our satellites.”

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The Myriota Modules are low powered and batteries can last for over 10 years.
The Myriota Modules are low powered and batteries can last for over 10 years.

Myriota Modules

Myriota connects farmers to its nanosatellites with its Myriota Modules, manufactured by Motherson Innovations in South Australia. These devices cost from 50 US dollars each. They are low powered and batteries can last for over 10 years. Farmers pay for their data usage. Sending one message can cost as little as 1 US cent, says Mr Rayner.

20 nanosatellites in space

Mr Rayner emphasises that a lack of connectivity creates similar problems in other countries. “The US, Canada, the UK and some European economies will be a priority for us”, he says. Myriota has 4 nanosatellites in space and will eventually have a network of well over 20 nanosatellites. These small satellites are the size of a loaf of bread.

Agreement with Optus

Myriota signed an agreement with Optus last year, to resell its satellite connectivity to a wide range of partners in its business network. This service is mainly aimed at businesses that have not been able to connect their remote assets in regional Australia at an acceptable price.

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According to Rayner, Myriota is the first company that offers farmers direct contact with nanosatellites in orbit. The satellite technology will be included in other applications. One recent partner of Myriota’s is Queensland-based agtech business Goanna Ag. This business offers a solution for remote water monitoring in any location, at a low price.

User-friendly protocol for the farmer

“The farmer will not notice the difference between connecting to our network or connecting to a cellular tower”, says Mr Rayner. “And it will work everywhere. It is designed to have a user-friendly protocol. Our partners like Goanna Ag make it plug-and-play, so there won’t be any problems connecting a device. Farmers will normally use 1 Myriota Module with each sensor, but then there could be applications where multiple sensors are combined with 1 module to keep the cost down.”

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The Myriota team, with Tom Rayner (left), CEO Alex Grant, CTO David Haley and Financial Controller Karina McLauchlan. Mr. Haley is holding the blue module of Myriota, that enables farmers to connect to the nano satellites.
The Myriota team, with Tom Rayner (left), CEO Alex Grant, CTO David Haley and Financial Controller Karina McLauchlan. Mr. Haley is holding the blue module of Myriota, that enables farmers to connect to the nano satellites.

Opportunities

Mr Rayner expects a lot of opportunities for farmers to open up in the near future. “It’s going to be wonderful to see all the improvements that can be made with new technology”, he says. “Especially with the present environmental degradation and the growing demand of consumers to know and understand where their food is from. Solving the connectivity challenge, so all these things can be done, is quite exciting for us.”

Other Myriota Partners include Amazon’s cloud computing service AWS, Australian Institute of Marine Science and Boeing.

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