Dutch company reevaluates IoT, cites satellite hardships

Hiber abandons plans for IoT satellite constellation


Hiber cubesat
Hiber says two of the four satellites it has launched to date are no longer operation and the other two have suffered technical problems. Credit: Hiber

Hiber, a Dutch company offering Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity for devices around the globe, has pulled out of the space-asset game citing both technical issues and non-operating satellites in the first 4 of their planned 24 satellite constellation. The company has surrendered their market access authorization from the FCC, hopeful to avoid surety bonds from the government agency.

Because of their non-functional satellites, the company is blocked from generating revenue outside the 26 million euros ($30 million) raised from the European Innovation Council Fund. Hiber’s original goal for the funds was for “in-house-developed satellite constellation” and “to further expand the satellite network and grow its customer base.” Now, the company plans to use other commercial satellite networks to provide their IoT services to customers. Hiber representatives stated that they have “pivoted [Hiber’s] business operations and intends to provide Internet-of-Things services through leased capacity on a third-party satellite network.”

Hiber was one of many startup companies to plant roots in the IoT services field and partnering with other companies to provide on-orbit service is common amongst small businesses. However, therein lies risks of cyberattack and the need for proper cybersecurity measures. Company-to-company hostility is not unheard of in such a niche market. Relying on partner companies to provide critical infrastructure could lead to hacking, seeking out critical data about the relationship, the contracts, or the companies themselves. Furthermore, a client company may be totally unaware of the cybersecurity practices of their service provider as well as the vendors supplying the parts. Therefore, policy between industry partners needs to be established by a collective of commercial and government entities that defines the relationships for space-as-a-service companies and their clients, requiring a specified level of third-party vendor management.