Satellite Technology Powers The Energy Industry With Small Data

Innovative IoT and data applications powered by Globalstar’s satellite technology are
 enabling savings and driving productivity

Business models in the oil and gas industry are being completely challenged as companies try to find ways to be profitable in a world where price drops and fluctuations in the cost per barrel of crude oil significantly impacts the cost of exploration. Today’s reality is one marked by stricter project parameters and cutbacks in investment and people.

Oil and gas companies are always looking for ways to operate smarter and save money. With more frequency businesses are adopting automated satellite-supported IoT devices to streamline operations, improve visibility of remote assets and proactively manage their property through automated data collection and critical monitoring.

<FAST FACT> The IoT world is driven by data and requires proactive, real-time access to analytics from field assets. Satellite networks provide the only window to those assets when operations and assets are in areas beyond the reach of traditional cellular and GSM networks, which comprises approximately 8 million square kilometers in Canada.

While big data is getting most of the attention, it’s the small data that is making all the difference in the oil and gas sector

For example, Wembley, Alberta-based Certek Heat Machines provides exploration companies with mobile heating units that are rented out per hour of use. In order to monitor these tractor-trailer sized units, Certek has developed an innovative, end-to-end solution using Globalstar’s small, low-power consumption, solar-operated SmartOne satellite modems. The battery-operated modems automatically transmit off/on status, fuel levels, leaks and power outages — even when the machinery is not powered.

With Globalstar’s SmartOne Solar real-time monitoring embedded within its heating systems and Globalstar’s scalable, flexible and affordable satellite service plans, Certek is able to minimize downtime by ensuring the continuous, uninterrupted operation of field assets. Accessing this small packet data, often less than 10 bytes of memory per transmission, is helping set companies apart with information they can put to work to proactively manage assets.

Using sensors and comparative GPS positions to gather and transmit asset status information, the SmartOne Solar satellite modem is programmed to track an asset’s specific needs and exception events such as low oil or high oil pressure, and provide emergency alerts by email or text to schedule maintenance and avoid catastrophic failures in the field.

<FAST FACT> SmartOne Solar has achieved ATEX Zone Zero and HERO certification which is one of the industry’s highest safety standards for products being used in hazardous environments.

Calgary-based Mobiltex Data Ltd. is another innovator using satellite to support remote monitoring solutions. Mobiltex’ RMU1 is the world’s first remote monitoring unit small enough to integrate with existing oil and gas pipeline infrastructure. Powered by Globalstar’s STX3 satellite transmitter, the RMU1 continuously monitors remote pipeline sites improving the visibility into the status and effectiveness of external corrosion protection systems of oil and gas pipelines.

Readings are delivered automatically via an Internet Cloud-based service supported by satellite networks and IoT applications. In addition to improved quality, reliability, operational efficiencies and compliance, the solution enhances safety as workers no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to remote sites with no access to terrestrial communications to take readings.

The STX3 is powered by a low-consumption, field replaceable, battery that can operate for many months or years without requiring human intervention or the need for external power systems, both of which are costly in terms of deployment and maintenance.

It’s still early days, but affordable IoT satellite-supported innovations and small data are pointing a way forward for oil and gas companies seeking the efficiencies and operational benefits that come with automated monitoring.

For more information on Globalstar’s satellite-enabled data and IoT solutions, visit