Sateliot creates buzz by monitoring bees

  • May 31, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Spanish firm Sateliot is delivering satellite connectivity for NB-IoT so Beewaze can monitor beehives and improve world food security.

Sateliot operates a low-Earth orbit (LEO) nanosatellite constellation using 5G.

BeeWaze is a Chilean company born with the purpose of saving bees and strengthening global food security through online monitoring of beehives and pollination. Thanks to an alliance with Mexican company S4IoT, more beekeepers and farmers can use BeeWaze’s technology.

The significant decrease in bee, butterfly and other pollinator populations in recent decades directly threatens food security; around 87% of global crop production depends to a greater or lesser extent on pollination. The value of pollination in the world is approaching $500bn. However, only 15% of beehives are currently monitored.

According to studies by entities such as the FAO and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), pollination by vigorous beehives has a positive impact on crops: citrus, for example, can increase production by up to 40%, while blueberries and avocados can increase production by up to 90%.

BeeWaze technology allows beekeepers to monitor the temperature, weight and humidity of beehives online, as well as the conditions and weather forecasts of their exact location. Likewise, during crop flowering, agricultural producers can monitor the pollination process with updated information on bee flow per minute and per day.

Thanks to this agreement, many beekeepers and rural producers with agricultural potential but without internet access will benefit from Sateliot’s 5G non-terrestrial networks (NTN); in this way, they can take advantage of online monitoring to know the status of their beehives. Farmers can verify the activity of the beehives contracted to pollinate their crops, reducing time and costs dedicated to field visits.

Until now, connecting to legacy satellite operators involved high costs because it required buying additional hardware, such as antennas and signal receivers. Sateliot is the first satellite operator to leverage the 3GPP protocol, which is already the norm for MNOs or MVNOs for their terrestrial cellular networks. This means any connected IoT device can seamlessly switch to the satellite when the cellular network is unavailable.

Sateliot is easing the path by signing standard roaming agreements with the user’s current operators at a price similar to that of regular mobile networks, and all that without the need for a second SIM card.

“Our standard IoT connectivity of NTN can eliminate the burden of beehive monitoring in rural areas,” said Jaume Sanpera, CEO of Sateliot. “We provide affordable and more reliable technology along with the commitment to help beekeepers save their bees, which are a very important part of our ecosystem and the basis of the food chain worldwide.”

Onofre Tamargo, CEO of S4IoT, added: “We are happy to partner with Sateliot and provide a viable alternative for beekeepers to track beehives, thus avoiding the death of colonies by pesticides and intruders. This is further proof that technology can be good for agriculture and our food system.”

Sateliot is launching the first LEO satellite constellation based on the 5G standard, allowing unmodified commercial cellular IoT devices to connect from space. This means terrestrial cellular telecommunications can seamlessly merge with satellite connectivity.

Sateliot’s technology and the ability to use low-cost commercial devices (under $5) to connect to satellites opens up possibilities in the untapped market of massive IoT in remote areas. 

S4IoT designs and develops IoT-based technology to transform processes, organisations and entire industries. With nearly five years of experience, S4IoT believes the correct application of IoT technology is key to having better companies and, at the same time, building a better world.