With two demonstration satellites, KIPP and CASE, in orbit, and with nearly a combined three years of operational testing time, Kepler is now ready to take the next step.
That step includes getting their Internet of Things (IoT) developers kit into the hands of a limited number of developers, those they hope will become customers.
The developers kits will become available for purchase to all, sometime in Q1 2020.
Developers though will have to wait until Kepler launches its third demonstration satellite (TARS) before they can begin the trial of the service. The TARS satellite launch date has not been announced, but Kepler’s Marketing Manager Victoria Alberto told SpaceQ in an email that the announcement is coming shortly.
TARS will launch before their two next-generation IoT capable satellites are launched. That launch is currently schedule for Q2 or Q3 in 2020 on a Russian commercial launch, facilitated by GK Launch Services. That would suggest TARS will launch in Q1 or Q2 2020.
In its press release, Kepler said their third and subsequent satellites “will offer both wideband and narrowband data transfer services globally, from pole to pole, and represents another significant milestone in Kepler’s technology roadmap.”
Kepler plans on deploying a 140 IoT satellite constellation in Low Earth Orbit. To date the company has raised US$21M. Alberto told SpaceQ that the funds raised from their Series A (US$15M) “will take us well through 2020.”
For the company to execute its next phase of satellite deployment beyond the three currently set to launch in 2020, the company will likely need to secure their next round of funding.
Wen Cheng Chong, Co-Founder and CTO at Kepler said in the press release “various studies and market research reports predict billions of industrial IoT connections coming online in the next 5 years, and a global solution such as our everywhereIOT service will be key to achieving this. For this reason, we believe this to be exciting news for the market, as much as it marks an important milestone for Kepler. We are adding a unique set of capabilities for smart connected devices that did not previously exist in a satellite service.”
If the research reports are accurate, Kepler could be a beneficiary. However, it isn’t alone in looking at this market segment. There are many other IoT satellite players globally looking at cashing in. They include Myriota, Eutelsat, Astrocast and a host of others.