“SpaceX’s move towards standards-based IoT solutions in the direct-to-device market reflects the industry’s shifting landscape from proprietary solutions to standardisation.”
SpaceX made its first-ever acquisition in August 2021 when it purchased Swarm Technologies, a start-up known for its early adoption of proprietary ultra-narrowband satellite IoT solutions; a move that signalled SpaceX’s intention to expand its capabilities and diversify its offerings to cater to a broader range of customers. However, Swarm’s announcement in July 2023 that it would cease selling new devices has raised eyebrows. Swarm’s decision appears to be directly linked to its parent company’s intention to shift the focus of its IoT strategy towards the direct-to-device/cell (D2D/C) market.
Why is this worth noting? In other verticals – specifically broadband access, enterprise, mobility, and government – that are using the Starlink offering, SpaceX is offering proprietary solutions, which has enabled it to scale rapidly. However, it would appear that integrating with telcos in the IoT market requires a different approach for achieving scale and success.