The Power of Satellite Communications

With automation and remote management capabilities, the adoption of cloud…

With automation and remote management capabilities, the adoption of cloud computing and artificial intelligence, and the continued emergence of a host of industry-specific enterprise applications, the mining industry continues to evolve to become smarter and more technologically advanced seemingly by the day.

The Power of Satellite Communications

Across all phases of the industry, from site exploration to extraction, mining organisations are relying more heavily on digital and connected solutions to optimise operations, explore new sites, and meet ever-expanding sustainability mandates, while enhancing safety and quality of life for workers. Technology solutions are being deployed and utilised, both by operations management at their headquarters and miners operating in remote sites. However, reliance on these technology solutions also presents some new challenges for mining operators, specifically as it relates to the need for connectivity.

Mining sites are often situated in some of the most remote locations around the world. In these places, access to traditional terrestrial connectivity, such as cellular, is either unavailable or unreliable. Even in areas where some form of terrestrial connectivity might be available, reach and quality can be severely compromised. The quality of the signal can be vulnerable to outages caused by weather conditions, surrounding geography, or other external factors.

While slow connections or intermittent downtime might be acceptable for some activities, such as personal internet browsing, connectivity limitations are not tolerable for certain mining applications. For example, OTA file transfers and software upgrades, as well as the ability to remotely control or autonomously operate heavy mining equipment, have the potential to improve safety, increase productivity, and reduce costs dramatically. However, capitalising on this capability depends on the presence of ubiquitous and uninterrupted connectivity.

As mining organisations continue to recognise the value of digitising mines and mining activities, more solutions and applications will require a non-negotiable level of ever-present connection. With the increasing reliance on technology to connect and automate, the demand for a premium and ultra-reliable level of connectivity will only accelerate.

Finding reliable connectivity sources to meet these demands requires looking beyond cellular and terrestrial options. With the ability to reach far-flung locations and deliver connectivity unencumbered by events on the ground, satellite communications networks have a significant role to play as the mining industry continues to speed towards digitisation.

Whereas satellites once were thought of as expensive and only accessible via heavy, complex, and immobile equipment, advances have made satellite communications technology ideal for mining organisations looking for either a primary or redundant connectivity option.

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