Why connecting to space with Bluetooth matters

  • Hubble Networks has successfully connected a device to a satellite 600km away using Bluetooth.
  • This highlights how existing technology can be leveraged to improve communications among a range of industries.
  • Using Bluetooth could improve battery efficiency and operating costs within global IoT networks.

Satellite-based communications have gained popularity in recent years, but the cost is still exorbitant. Not only does one need to launch the required technology into orbit, one needs special equipment here on Earth to communicate with a satellite.

That could change thanks to the results of a test that Hubble Networks conducted last week.

Using two satellites launched in March, the company successfully established a connection between a satellite and a 3.5mm Bluetooth chip over a distance of 600km.

“We’ve disproved thousands of skeptics. By showcasing that we can send signals directly from Bluetooth chips and receive them in space 600 km away, we’ve opened a new realm of possibilities,” chief executive officer and co-founder of Hubble Networks, Alex Haro said last week.

The idea here is that a person could connect to Hubble’s network via Bluetooth without specialised equipment and without a mobile network. This could benefit farmers who want to use low-power and low-cost devices to monitor their crops. This expands to the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape as a whole and devices could benefit with 20 times less battery drain and operating costs that are 50 times lower. All while enjoying global coverage.

This would also prove beneficial for mission-critical operations. Whether Bluetooth would perform as well as existing satellite-based communications remains to be seen but the plug-and-play nature of this solution looks interesting. It allows businesses to use existing hardware to leverage the solution rather than needing to build out a fleet of new technology.

“Our innovative approach allows existing Bluetooth-enabled devices to be retrofitted to transmit data to the Hubble Network without any hardware modifications, ushering in a new era of connectivity. With nearly five billion Bluetooth devices sold annually, the impact of this new connectivity could be monumental,” says Ben Wild, co-founder and chief technology officer at Hubble Networks.

Hubble Networks closed a $20 million Series A funding round in May 2023. Investors included Transpose Networks and Y Combinator.

The two satellites launched in March are the first of what Hubble hopes will become a wider network. In a space where the likes of Starlink is charging a premium, it’s great to see a company like Hubble Networks working with existing technology to improve the lives of more people.

[Image – PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay]


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