We hear how satellite IoT connectivity enables anything to be monitored – wherever it is
Tell us about your start up
Totum provides global IoT connectivity and positioning for low power, asset tracking and monitoring applications using a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) nanosatellites and optimized device silicon. Based on our revolutionary, direct-to-satellite wireless waveform, the Totum solution provides global coverage with indoor reach using a module the size of a postage stamp. By combining Totum’s connectivity and positioning capabilities, a compact tracker or monitoring system can be created with the simple addition of sensors, a battery, and an enclosure while delivering a battery life greater than 10-years.
Our customers are in the logistics, transportation, automotive, agriculture, industrial, and energy industries across the globe – essentially, any business that needs to keep an eye on an abundance of assets that they build, sell, or distribute. Because our technology powers economical global tracking and monitoring that operates both outdoors and in, the possibilities for its application are virtually endless.
What is your USP, how do you stand out from your competition?
Connectivity for global IoT tracking and monitoring remains frustrating and challenging for solution providers. Using cellular requires complex, multi-vendor technology-stacking to address the patchwork of regional coverage. Satellite solutions are neither compact nor cost-effective and do not work indoors. Proprietary LP-WAN misses the mark on wide-area, global coverage.
Only Totum offers a complete connectivity solution that removes the cost, coverage and complexity barriers to seamless global asset tracking and monitoring. Totum’s groundbreaking direct-to-satellite solution is a straightforward method to provide connectivity and position for devices anywhere on earth. We deliver this capability using a highly integrated system-on-chip which results in a compact, direct-to-satellite modem without the need for an external antenna. To enable true scale, our technology provides this connectivity at a price that is competitive with cellular.
What is your relationship with the telecom sector?
The Telecom market in general, and the mobile network operators (MNO) in particular, have laid the groundwork for the rapid IoT scale-up that we’re now seeing in the market. By bringing solutions such as NB-IoT and Cat-M online, MNOs, in conjunction with IoT platform players such as AWS, have enabled creators of IoT tracking and monitoring solutions to finally develop solutions with the battery life necessary for a growing number of high-volume IoT applications. We see opportunities to partner with the MNOs and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in several hybrid scenarios. For example, some global applications necessitate fairly heavy data models in which connectivity with a cellular network is a better choice for the transfer of, say, a megabyte of data on a periodic basis. We also see partnerships where MNOs and MVNOs cannot achieve reliable and consistent low-power connectivity in various regions of the world using terrestrial solutions.
How have you got to your current stage of development?
We’re a VC-backed startup, and we are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with people with such extensive experience in the IoT and Space markets. Their guidance and support have been invaluable to us as we navigate the stages of our startup, and we’ve already benefited greatly from their contributions.
Why did you establish the business?
Ted Myers, CEO and Co-founder of Totum says:
I am an industry vet and I know the ins and outs of the IoT business. This is my third wireless networking startup, and second to focus on the needs of low-power, wide-area (LPWA) applications such as asset tracking and monitoring. These experiences have greatly helped me to understand the challenges of scaling IoT businesses successfully.
There are various solutions currently in use for asset tracking and monitoring. They include cellular, campus-style LP-WAN, and satellite, which attempt to serve a market of endpoints that require global connectivity for tracking and monitoring. However, we also see that there are billions of additional, potentially trackable assets that are either unserved or underserved by these existing solutions. The key issues boil down to what we call the three Cs: Cost, Coverage, and Complexity. In the current technology landscape, developers of IoT devices are forced to pick solutions addressing at most, two of three Cs.
Totum believes that true scale will only be possible when a connectivity solution addresses all three factors. I saw this clear gap, and developing a solution to fill this need became the founding mission of Totum, a Latin word meaning all.
Who inspired you / who is your mentor or motivation?
The IoT industry’s challenges are unique, and there is a lot of frustration around the barrier to widespread adoption. Many solutions exist in this space that solve fragments of the issues, but none that solve enough of the key issues to clear the path for broad implementation. We are extremely motivated by the enormous opportunity at hand. It’s a challenge 20+ years in the making, and we have the right team and technology to remove the barrier: a cost-effective no-excuses global connectivity solution for battery-powered devices.
I’ve worked with the same core team at three companies over the last couple of decades. It’s an incredible group consisting of some of the most brilliant technical talent spanning various technical disciplines. I continue to be amazed at what we can accomplish when we come together, pooling the vast knowledge, experience, and expertise, of this assemblage, to develop solutions to complex technical challenges. This team is the primary source of my inspiration, and it’s exciting to bring the gang together again to rise to what I believe to be our biggest challenge yet.
What does the future hold for your business?
With some important milestones under our belt and 2 million advance orders in our pipeline, the future is bright for Totum. In 2022, we will begin fulfilling the backlog of requests for our DevKit, and we will begin launching our commercial constellation later in the year. Totum will continue to build on this momentum, unlocking additional new and innovative, high-volume applications for supply chain, logistics, agriculture, transportation, energy, and industrial markets which require global coverage and indoor reach, in total a $20B+ connectivity opportunity.
We are enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead, and we look forward to bringing our solution to market in response to the acute need for simple, low-power IoT connectivity.
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