Tuesday, September 28, 2021

$ 499 for your own satellite data terminal, says Swarm

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The company is selling the solar-powered terminal (pictured) for US$499 from today. Users need to add a $60 a year subscription for data access to the company’s 120 small satellites that are already in service.

Ben Longmier, co-founder and CTO of the company, told Capacity that the eval kit, as Swarm calls it, can be used as a GPS tracker: it sends out signals at the rate of one an hour, he said. Users “can connect a phone or a tablet and send one-way emails” from anywhere in the world, said Longmier.

“We wanted something that is totally turnkey. Open the box, hit the on-switch, put it outside and its working,” he said. “There’s even a tripod so it doesn’t sit in the dirt.”

Swarm is already recruiting customers, he added. “One company is already putting it on sailboats.” It wants to know where the people who rent out the boats take them.

Swarm will continue to sell its satellite terminals, which it calls tiles, that need to be connected to external systems but customers “have been rattling our cages” for an out-of-the-box unit, said Longmier. “A second application is to track illegal forestry”, with a connected device detecting the sounds of a chainsaw.

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