As part of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Space-D programme an IoT gateway connecting satellites with Earth-based assets has been developed.
The gateway, which was designed and fabricated at DEWA’s inhouse Research and Development (R&D) Centre, is designed to connect terrestrial sensors to satellites and ground networks.
As such the gateway has various physical, operational technology (OT) connectivity and IoT edge protocol libraries to support the latest communication network including LoRa, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy.
The device is aimed to suit utilities as well as a range of other industrial applications, including infrastructure, asset tracking, agriculture, smart cities and fleet management among others.
Other features include a long battery life to support the communication requirements and compliance with international IoT device security standards, including OT security.
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said in a statement that researchers at the Centre were working to employ advanced tools to create the best solutions and technologies to support the space sector in the UAE.
“Through DEWA’s Space-D programme, we aim for nanosatellite technology to complement terrestrial IoT communication networks and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of DEWA’s operations and support the digitisation of our electricity and water networks,” he said.
“This will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our planning, operations and preventive maintenance for our production, transmission and distribution divisions, as well as our smart grids and electric vehicle charging stations. It also reduces costs, improves asset use, enables knowledge and experience transfer, and trains Emiratis at DEWA.”
DEWA has pioneered the utility development of satellite technology with its Space-D programme, which was launched in January 2021.
Two satellites – or more correctly nanosatellites – have been launched to date, both developed in the R&D Centre, the 3U DEWA-SAT 1 in January 2022 and the larger 6U DEWA-SAT 2 in April 2023.
(The ‘U’ references the size of the satellites, which are CubeSats built with 10cm cubes, thus a 3U is 30cm and 6U 60cm. They are popular as a low cost option for space experimentation and observation with over 2,100 launched to date).
Both DEWA-SAT 1 and 2 are operational, but while DEWA-SAT 1 was intended primarily as a demonstrator, DEWA-SAT 2 has a comprehensive earth observation payload.
DEWA has not revealed the next steps for the Space-D programme but at its launch indicated potential delivery of a constellation of satellites.