Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched a satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) device services. The move aims to give a push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ programme.
Launched in partnership with the US-based firm Skylo, the services are exclusively designed and developed for suitable use in India and can be used across the country where mobile towers are not present, including the seas within the country’s jurisdiction.
As per BSNL, it is the first-of-its-kind satellite-based narrowband-IoT network. “The new services are in line with BSNL’s vision to leverage technology to provide affordable and innovative telecom services and products across customer segments,” PK Purwar, CMD, BSNL, said.
The dissemination of new devices by Skylo will be done dedicatedly via the state-run telecom giant at an estimated cost of Rs 10,000 per unit. The square-shaped device can be carried by users across any part of the country, and connected with their smartphones for two-way communication.
“Skylo would also help provide critical data for the logistics sector to enable effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 and will be a big contributor in service to the nation,” Purwar further said.
BSNL also said that the technology pertaining to the new device has already been tested successfully in various segments like Indian Railways, fishing vessels, and for enabling connected vehicles across India.
“Successful POCs (proof of concepts) have already been conducted by BSNL and Skylo in India and we will soon approach various user groups before the New Year 2021 begins,” said Vivek Banzal, Board Director (CFA), BSNL.
In a statement, Parthsarathi Trivedi, Co-founder and CEO, Skylo, said that for centuries, industries, including agriculture, railways and fisheries, have been operating offline, and have not had the opportunity to take full advantage of the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT till date. “This is the world’s first satellite-based NB-IoT network and I am proud to launch this capability in India first to transform lives and our domestic industries,” he said.
The new device will also serve as a complement to smartphone-centric mobile and Wi-Fi networks, and will cover India’s full geography to bring online new applications for the first time.