Venture capital firm for Saudi oil company Aramco invests in OQ technology for satellite IoT

An OQ Technology IoT device. Photo: OQ Technology

Satellite IoT Company OQ Technology closed a €13 million ($13 million) Series A funding round led by Wa’ed Venturesthe venture capital arm of the Saudi oil and gas company Aramco and Phaistos Investment Fundsdirected by 5G companies in Greece.

CEO and Founder Omar Qaise said By satellite the company’s IoT technology is intended for enterprise and specialized use for the oil and gas industry. Aramco is the largest oil and gas company in the world, and Qaise sees a big opportunity to serve the sector.

“We’re bringing IoT over satellite to enterprise customers, not consumers. We’re very specialized. We put a lot of emphasis on private networks and high security,” Qaise said. security, which is good for business.In oil and gas, security is a very important thing, for example, wellhead monitoring, asset tracking, pipeline monitoring for leaks and the vandalism, and the same with offshore platforms.

The company’s technology follows 3GPP-based cellular standards for narrowband IoT, so customers’ IoT devices can switch between terrestrial and satellite connectivity. It has two commercial satellites in orbit, which have been used to demonstrate the service to potential customers, including Fortune 500 companies.

OQ Technology plans to use the funds to further develop its own technology solutions, acquire more spectrum licenses and expand the constellation. Qaise said the current two satellites offer “very limited service”, but the company hopes to have around seven satellites in orbit by the end of next year, which will provide revenue-generating service.

The company is strongly focused on enterprise customers and although it has interest from nearly 1,000 potential customers, it plans to roll out a pilot program for approximately 100 customers.

Also with the funding round, OQ Technology recently established two new global subsidiaries, one in Athens, Greece and the other in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi subsidiary will host a 5G Satellite Network Center as a data and network operation center for 5G satellite services in the Middle East. OQ Technology will use the subsidiary to engage with oil and gas companies in the region.

The company is based in Luxembourg and also has subsidiaries in Dubai and Rwanda. Qaise said the new Athens branch can be a starting point to expand service to Eastern Europe and Asia. The company does not operate in the United States, but has demonstrated its technology for international operations of US-based companies.

Qaise sees OQ technology taking hold in the machine-to-machine communications part of the 5G ecosystem, and sees the market as a “virgin” opportunity.

“AST Mobile and Lynk are looking to connect to mobile phones. SpaceX is now moving in that direction. It’s the future. We are building infrastructure to solidify our position in 5G narrowband communication,” Qaise said. “5G offers three services: broadband, machine communication and ultra-low latency communication. We focus more on machine communication. I think this would be very beneficial both for customers, but also for other satellite operators who wish to work with us. »

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