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When you stargaze at a clear night sky, do you ever notice any satellites? Satellites will appear like a star slowly moving across the sky and are visible to the naked eye. In the next year, spotting them may not be difficult, as hundreds of new nanosatellites will be launched by over a dozen startups. These satellites are not exactly new, but they have become exceedingly popular because of their promising capabilities to connect the world.

Nanosatellites track plastic pollution

Satellite and cellular technologies were used to track a special bottle, called a “bottle tag”, that started in Bangladesh and traveled 2845 km (1767.8 miles, or more than the distance from Miami, Fla., to Maine) in 94 days. According to the research group, the use of this technology demonstrates its ability to “significantly increase understanding of the location of accumulation areas and the timing of large inputs of plastic pollution into the aquatic system.”

Further use of “bottle tags” have the potential to educate communities about plastic use and plastic’s harm on aquatic environments in hopes to alter social behavior.

Internet of animals

Scientists have also attached small tags to animals that bounce messages off satellite networks to relay updates on the animals’ locations and environment. In London, researchers use cameras to remotely track the health of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. These cameras could transmit their own status — damaged, battery life, lens covered in ice, etc. — to their owners via satellites.

Smart Parks is another organization that uses satellite technology to monitor animal movement. Specifically, they try to limit poaching of elephants and rhinos by leading them away from dangerous areas, and an elephant collar is being developed that has a battery life of ten years and connects to satellites where internet is not available.

This idea of creating an “internet of animals” to connect animals to humans will be beneficial for future research and necessary for the safeguard of species.

Nanosatellites for everyone 

Nanosatellites are a promising new technology in the Internet of Things (IoT), and using them for tracing pollution and animals does not even touch the surface of their capabilities. Unlike large and expensive satellites produced by NASA and SpaceX, nanosatellites are cheaper, smaller, more technologically advanced, and have diminishing launch costs.

Future-thinking companies like Swarm Technologies may be the first to deliver commercially available nanosatellite constellations that allow customers to individually use satellites at leisure. They expect to have 150 satellites in space before 2022, which allows an infamous world-wide connection. These ham sandwich-sized nanosatellites — their size allowing them to be efficiently low cost — make it imaginable to track Amazon packages or anything else you desire.

Swarm also prioritizes environmental conservation by using satellite technology in energy, ground transportation, maritime, and agriculture. Their goal is to stay connected to your devices across every square mile of the Earth. Whether it be pipelines and wind farms, fleet telematics systems, buoys, cargo ships, or soil monitoring and animal tracking, Swarm ensures data transfer and device connection everywhere, for everything.

Starlink, a development from SpaceX, is also driven to create technology on an individual level. Since 2015, Starlink has worked to use satellites to deliver broadband Internet access to locations where Internet is expensive, unavailable, or inefficient. Consider it like satellite radio, where no mountains, trees, or remote locations could prevent deliverance of a signal. Starlink’s plans to expand to nearly global coverage in 2021 is impressive and advocates for people domestically and internationally.


If throwing a bottle down a river in Bangladesh led to impressive developments at Swarm Technologies and Starlink, imagine how much further we can go. Nanosatellite constellations depict a future that showcases innovation as proximity and the Internet of Things as something attainable for and personal to an individual. Connecting people to themselves and the things in their life will continue to unite the world in an easier and potentially sustainable way.

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?