Did you know that CLS was tracking satellite-connected objects before the invention of GPS? CLS and the French space agency CNES, with the Argos satellite system, in fact invented the IoT—the Internet of Things—in the 1980s. Since then, CLS, a subsidiary of CNES, has provided connectivity and associated services to the international community developing an IoT dedicated to the environment.
Ocean data buoys, weather stations, fish, marine mammals, birds, land animals, fishing vessels, waste-collection trucks, anti-pollution buoys… more than 20,000 Argos transmitters are now active, each month, sending their location and data from all over the world. In total, more than 100,000 mobiles are connected by CLS. The company uses numerous satellite systems and other networks in addition to the Argos system to connect people to their planet.
CLS: an ambitious IoT
In 2018, CLS created a new subsidiary: Kinéis. Its mission is to deploy unprecedented connectivity dedicated to connected objects. Universal, low-data-rate, simple and reliable, this brand new connectivity offers a very high level of autonomy, compatible with other networks. How? By transforming the Argos system. Working in close collaboration with the French space industry dream team—CNES, Thales Alenia Space, Hemeria, Comat and Syrlinks—Kinéis is preparing a constellation of 25 nanosatellites that will very soon be bringing the Argos system to a wider audience, making it accessible to all.
Yesterday we were tracking elite yachtsmen and yachtswomen; tomorrow Kinéis will be able to locate any pleasure boater. In the same way, before we were tracking the greatest adventurers from Jean-Louis Etienne to Isabelle Autissier, and in the very near future, Kinéis will be able to locate any “amateur” trekker.
This wider availability and the associated business model will result in a system with unprecedented capabilities, offering near-real-time revisits (around 15 minutes) and increased system capacity (more than 2 million objects) while retaining Argos’ trademark low power consumption to continue producing miniature transmitters. All users will benefit from this system and CLS environmental services users will be the first to benefit.
After more than 30 years supporting the international scientific community, CLS is proud to be able to offer this brand new connectivity to all its users from 2023 onwards, be they biologists, oceanographers, climatologists, fisheries monitoring authorities or environmental compliance bodies.
Hybridization: the way ahead for the Internet of Things
The future of the IoT lies without a doubt in the hybridization of systems. Uptake of new usages will depend on the ability of manufacturers of connected objects or associated services to create hybrid objects capable of switching seamlessly from one network to another (mobile, satellite, land). At CLS, several projects are moving in this direction, some of which are currently being developed and others are already being tested.
Big data and IA to turbocharge IoT
If a layer of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data is added to these hybrid systems, the future tools available to the scientific community will quickly become very powerful. CLS is currently working on a connected reindeer project in Yakutia, Russia. More than 200 specimens will be fitted this year with smart collars featuring a sophisticated behavioral classification algorithm capable of automatically transmitting certain activities (for example, when the animal is eating, drinking or sleeping).
This kind of information is vital for understanding the impact of humans on nature. These tools are more than ever key for domestic wildlife managers and populations dependent on this endemic biodiversity under threat.