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Sateliot and Sentrisense forge pact to monitor electric grid

Startups like Sateliot are developing constellations in low Earth orbit to connect with internet of things devices running on terrestrial 5G networks. Credit: Sateliot Credit: Sateliot

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Internet-of-things startup Sateliot announced an agreement Feb. 7 with Sentrisense, an Argentine company focused on power line maintenance, to offer satellite connectivity for electric grid sensors.

The new service will allow Sentrisense to monitor sensors attached to electric towers or power lines, modify the amperage and quickly identify broken wires, fires or other dangerous conditions.

“The massive connectivity between 5G satellites and the sensors will allow far more accurate predictions on wear and tear analysis, and alert to the presence of fallen trees or ice on the lines,” Sateliot CEO Jaume Sanpera said in a statement. In addition, data from the sensors will help Sentrisense determine wire inclination and each wire’s distance from the ground “with an affordable connection of just $1 per month per device,” he added.

Traditionally, Sentrisense devices have relayed data through cellphone towers. Under the new agreement, Sateliot will offer Sentrisense service beyond the reach of cell towers. Sentrisense monitors electric wires in the United States, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Spain and Sweden.

“This connectivity agreement will allow Sentrisense Line guard sensors to connect anywhere in the world, even in remote locations,” Sentrisense CEO Sebastán Cerone said in a statement. “The electric grid, the largest engineering feat of humankind right now, is by definition is an analog asset, and we are fully digitizing it. We want to turn the grid … into a smart tool, able to predict fires and other weather and environmental hazards.”

In addition to relaying data on the condition of the wires, Sentrisense devices report ambient weather conditions like humidity, temperature, wind direction and speed. These reports will help increase the resilience of the electric grid by informing operators of heat waves or blizzard conditions, according to the news release.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree...