Powering the Evolving Mobile Connectivity Needs of Heavy Equipment and Machine Operators
Joel Schroeder, Director Land Mobile, Intelsat
Portable Solutions That Enhance Productivity, Profitability
Operators of heavy equipment and machinery, such as companies in the construction, oil and gas, and mining industries, are no strangers to the need for mobile connectivity. Whether it’s pulling basic telematics data off machines and sensors or simply ensuring continuity of communications between and among teams working in remote and hard to reach locations, connectivity has always been an important aspect of day-to-day operations.
Traditionally, heavy equipment operators have relied on terrestrial and cellular networks as their primary communications option, along with some form of satellite for GPS augmentation and to fill gaps where terrestrial and cellular networks do not or cannot reach. Ubiquitous connectivity was nice to have, but not necessarily critical for getting the job done.
Going beyond connectivity
Today, the dynamics are changing. As these industries continue to digitally transform, heavy equipment operators are leaning more heavily on technology to enhance productivity and profitability. They are increasingly integrating connected applications into daily workflows to reduce equipment downtime through preventative maintenance, improve safety, comply with new and emerging environmental regulations, and navigate persistent labor and supply shortages.
Key leaders in these industries already recognize the need for enhanced connectivity and corresponding efficiency gains to their business. According to recent Harbor Research data, more than 84% of executives surveyed expressed a willingness to pay a premium for access to a continuous and ubiquitous connectivity solution to support critical network needs and rural operations.
These executives understand that deploying remote-controlled and autonomously operated vehicles necessitates connectivity outside the footprint of terrestrial networks. They realize that capturing and transmitting real-time data for monitoring machine performance that can pre-empt problems before they arise requires a highly reliable connectivity solution that is always available no matter where the work is taking place. They are keenly aware that connectivity failures can lead to downtime and have dramatic impacts on productivity.
As these industries continue to digitize and modernize, access to a robust, sophisticated, and always-available connectivity network will no longer be optional.
Supporting emerging productivity applications with mobile connectivity solutions embedded into heavy equipment
The communications networks upon which operators have traditionally relied are simply not equipped to support the emerging wave of business applications that require powerful connectivity to function. Even those experienced with satellite networks have come to realize their current solutions cannot meet current or future needs.
FlexMove, a fully managed satellite service delivered on Intelsat’s high throughput mobile satellite network, is an example of how Intelsat is responding to meet the needs of modernized companies wishing to expand the connectivity of their heavy equipment beyond the reach of terrestrial network coverage. With satellite antenna technology seamlessly embedded directly into trucks, tractors, bulldozers, or any piece of machinery, heavy equipment operators can leverage the first and only broadband satellite platform that innovatively blends connectivity from different constellations to access the bandwidth and higher data rates to support advanced applications.
Intelsat’s Next First multi-orbit network structure means our customers can have the best of both worlds in terms of bandwidth, availability, and latency. FlexMove is accessible via a singular terminal and alternates between satellite bands to always ensure continuous connectivity and deliver the right amount of bandwidth for the application and use case at hand, all while working in tandem with cellular.
Enable real-time monitoring, preventative maintenance, remote data transfer
The efficiencies and advantages heavy equipment users can achieve with Intelsat’s robust portfolio of connectivity solutions are many.
Construction crews deployed on interstate highways or large infrastructure projects can monitor the performance of cranes, excavators, and other machinery in real time and initiate preventative maintenance measures to ensure a minor issue doesn’t become a larger, more expensive one.
Mining companies can establish a standalone, separate communications network at mine sites to retain independent control over their connectivity and the quality of operations.
Oil and gas companies can use live video to gain situational awareness and see what is happening around equipment deployed in the field, while at the same time transmitting data in real time from near field sensors and trucks on the move.
No matter the industry, our solutions make it possible for users to increase automation and remote management of equipment, precluding the need to fill labor shortages while enhancing safety for employees. Additionally, connected equipment can always remain current via software updates delivered over the air.
Successful digital transformation is not possible without connectivity. By supporting remote operations, delivering network redundancy and reliability, and meeting bandwidth demands, all via a network that is easy to set up and manage, Intelsat is meeting the key requirements of heavy equipment and machinery industry end users and helping drive these industries into the future.