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3 ways low-cost satellite data is supercharging AgTech IoT companies

January 28, 2021

The AgTech sector is booming, having raised $3.07 billion in the first three quarters of 2020, up from $2.7 billion in 2019, despite the pandemic. Agriculture IoT companies provide farmers with critical data that enables more informed decision-making about every aspect of their work, including:

Types of data provided by agriculture IoT companies

Gathering this data hinges on IoT devices. 75 billion IoT devices are expected to come online by 2025, and the agriculture IoT industry alone is projected to triple in size from 2017 to 2025.

Graph showing Internet of Things (IoT) in Agriculture by Application
Source: Allied Market Research

Connectivity, however, is a significant challenge for IoT devices in the field. 25% of farms in the US do not have Internet access, and the rest have inconsistent coverage at best. The only way to guarantee reliable connectivity for IoT devices in rural areas is by using satellite networks. Until now, that has meant settling for expensive and complex satellite solutions from legacy providers.

Fortunately, satellite networks are now more affordable than ever thanks to innovative technologies.

Some companies now offer data transmission at such low prices that companies can spend 20x less to equip their IoT products with satellite connectivity.

Here are 3 ways low-cost satellite data is helping AgTech companies across the world supercharge their businesses.

1. Access new markets

Half of the world’s habitable land is used for food production, but much of it does not have cell coverage. In Australia, for example, where 58% of land is used for agricultural purposes, more than 75% of the country is not covered by terrestrial networks. These unconnected regions hold many potential customers for Agriculture IoT companies, if their devices can transmit data there. Satellite networks are the answer, but AgTech companies are too often put off by the price tag.

An image of a tractor on a farm

Lower data prices make satellite connectivity affordable for the first time. With satellite-enabled IoT devices, farmers in remote areas will be able to adopt precision agriculture technologies like never before: new customers for AgTech companies, and growers who have better insights into their crops, processes, and profits.

2. Meet demand, grow revenue

Average farm size has increased steadily over the past decade, meaning more IoT devices are needed per farm. The cost of buying more devices adds up quickly, which can deter farmers from purchasing the quantities they really need.

Affordable satellite data allows AgTech device manufacturers to keep retail prices reasonable so their customers can buy the quantities they need. AgTech companies will sell more units per customer, and farmers can connect their newest fields without breaking the bank.

3. Improve margins

When device manufacturers integrate satellite communications into their products, they have to build the cost into the final price. If the retail price skyrockets, customers are less likely to buy. If the manufacturer eats the cost to keep prices low, that starts to seriously hurt margins.

Low-cost data allows device manufacturers to keep prices affordable for their customers without cutting into profits. This means happier customers and more money to reinvest in the company to drive further growth and future technological breakthroughs.

Supercharging AgTech IoT companies

Device connectivity is critical for providing the insights growers need to make informed decisions about growing, harvesting, storing, transporting, and more.

An image showing the harvesting of crops

Ground-based networks are not an option for many farms, and connectivity that relies on legacy satellite providers prices out many AgTech companies and their customers.

Thanks to a new crop of startups, low-cost satellite data is available now. It’s supercharging the growth of AgTech companies and opening the door to precision agriculture for farmers around the world.