SpaceX subsidiary Swarm joins Starlink website offering IOT connectivity

SpaceX Swarm IOT connectivity

Things have pretty quiet since SpaceX acquired the IOT company Swarm last year. SpaceX’s exact plans for the company weren’t clear and the company continued operating (now with basically free launch cost), but the company’s low-speed IOT focused satellite network seemed like a good companion to Starlink. Now, the Starlink website has added a new IOT link to the Swarm website, where customers can buy an evaluation kit, modem, or asset tracker.

Much like Starlink plans, Swarm service includes both an up-front and a subscription cost, but these plans are very low data aimed for internet of things devices. The $499 evaluation kit includes a tripod, solar panel, modem, antenna, and batteries – everything you need to test out the network and send one-way messages or GPS data.

The Swarm modem sells for $99 and provides two-way data via the Swarm constellation of satellites. It’s designed to be integrated within other electronic devices to provide or receive small amounts of data remotely.

The $120 asset tracker is a more end user device designed to track GPS location around the world. It can be used to keep an eye on fleet vehicle location or other big assets regardless of local connectivity.

All of the devices require a subscription plan that costs $5/month. Unlike Starlink, though, this isn’t a high-speed connection. The plan provides 750 data packets per month and allows up to 192 Bytes of data per packet. That’s not much data, but whether it’s sending data on surge conditions far out at sea, detecting wildfires, supporting agriculture monitoring, or detecting deforestation, Swarm’s service is designed for a very different market than Starlink.

In addition to the previously mentioned free launches, SpaceX has been able to provide the HR, logistics, and production support to help Swarm grow. Swarms former CEO, now senior director of Satellite Engineering at SpaceX, Sara Spangelo told TechCrunch earlier this year that they will probably sell 10X this devices this year than they did last. While she didn’t provide details, she said that, “We’re also supporting SpaceX in a bunch of ways, from engineering and technology, and regulatory strategies, to lots of other programs that hopefully we get to talk about in the future.”

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