DEWA develops LoRa IoT terminals for its 3U nano satellite DEWA-SAT1

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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The Research & Development (R&D) Centre of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in collaboration with Infra X, the IT and telecom arm of Digital DEWA, and their British technical partner Wyld, has developed satellite Internet of Things (IoT) terminals for DEWA’s 3U nano satellite, DEWA-SAT1.

DEWA launched it as part of its Space-D program, making it the first utility in the world to deploy nano satellites to improve electricity and water network operations, maintenance, and planning.

The R&D Centre developed the satellite IoT terminals to connect DEWA’s assets to the satellite directly and be suitable for grid applications, where it links IoT sensors to DEWA’s nanosatellites. It also provides hybrid connectivity with both the Long-Range (LoRa) IoT terrestrial network operated by InfraX, and DEWA’s nano satellites.

This will expand the coverage of DEWA’s existing LoRA IoT Terrestrial network, which connects remote assets directly with the nano satellite, without the need for ground gateways or satellite ground stations to send the data.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

“Through the Space-D program, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in January 2021, nanosatellite technology will complement the terrestrial IoT communication network to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of DEWA’s operations and support the digitization of our electricity and water networks.”

“It also reduces costs, improves asset use, enables knowledge and experience transfer, and educates Emiratis at DEWA. By the end of 2022, we plan to launch a 6U nanosatellite with customized high-resolution image sensing technology specifically designed for DEWA to capture images more frequently,” added Mr. Al Tayer.

“DEWA is taking advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as IoT, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain to provide value from the data received from our IoT terminals via the satellite constellation network. DEWA is using as part of this solution a digital IoT platform hosted by our private data center operated by MORO hub, the backbone of Digital DEWA,” said Eng. Waleed Bin Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at DEWA.

The satellite LoRa IoT communication technology uses the LoRa wireless protocol standard designed for long-range communications. It uses less energy and expands the coverage of the existing terrestrial communication network.

Once the satellite constellation is in operation, data collection from remote assets can be collected at a fraction of the cost and time to that of extending the coverage of the terrestrial network.

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