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29 January 2022 - On 8th December 2021, we announced our Group’s investment in hiSky Ltd, an Israeli start-up developing an affordable and agile Satellite Internet of Things (IoT) solution. We led the US$30m Series A round, with participation from a UAE sovereign wealth fund — Tawazun Holdings’ Strategic Development Fund, and hiSky’s existing shareholders. This investment will strengthen ST Engineering iDirect’s partnership with hiSky and we look forward to both teams working together to co-create breakthrough solutions and launch the next generation satellite IoT solution.

Technology and Solution
hiSky has developed a suite of IoT terminals that are mobile, cost effective and compact for the commercial IoT data and voice applications. The terminals operate in the Ka and Ku spectrum complementary to iDirect’s hub solutions, and the hiSky team has developed an optimized proprietary waveform that is designed for both IoT and Mobile Satellite Services (MSS). The dynamic terminal has an electronically steerable flat panel antennas that allow the terminal to stay connected on the move and to non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites. hiSky has also developed a cloud-base network management and operation support system called “hiSky 360”. hiSky 360 allows a user to orchestrate network assets and service provisioning anywhere with the flexibility to host in the cloud or on-premises.

Collaboration with ST Engineering iDirect
Today, ST Engineering iDirect and hiSky are jointly offering an IoT Solution to service providers for IoT use cases. The IoT solution is a full end-to-end solution of terminals, hubs, network management system and flexible service enablement model including IoT as a Service model, for customers to rapidly deploy use case specific IoT solution. ST Engineering iDirect customers can leverage on existing Evolution, Dialog or Velocity hub infrastructure to pair with the IoT terminals, reducing their need for upfront capital investments and operational complexity to bring an IoT offering to market.

Use Cases
hiSky is able to provide mobile, cost-effective satellite IoT services utilizing the Ka and Ku spectrum, suitable for a wide range of IoT applications, from static remote monitoring to time sensitive fleet management. A report of Northern Sky Research (NSR), a leading market research firm focused on the satellite and space sectors, projected that by 2029, there is US$1b worth of service revenue for VSAT and MSS IoT services. Our goal for ST Engineering iDirect and hiSky’s IoT solution is to capture market share from existing incumbents as well as participate in the projected Industry 4.0 efforts to automate manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, IoT, cloud computing and cognitive computing to create smart factories.

Team
The company is led by seasoned executives with a strong mix of commercial and defense experience. CEO Shahar Kravitz was previously leading subsidiaries from Rafael Advanced Systems Ltd and CTO Moti Litochevski is a highly regarded RF specialist with senior R&D roles with Rafael and Infineon. To overcome due diligence constraints due to COVID travel restrictions, it was fortunate that Christopher Chen — ST Engineering Ventures’ Israeli Representative was in-country to physically engage the hiSky management in Rosh Haayin, Israel. He was pleasantly surprised to find a team of passionate engineers eager to create the next revolutionary solution. The hiSky team showcased the suite of terminal products and also performed a demo of the mobile terminal in action on a moving vehicle.

Future Developments
We believe in the start of hiSky’s journey as they are constantly innovating and designing future-proof solutions. The dynamic satellite terminals are designed to be capable of tracking multiple satellites simultaneously across multi-orbits (geostationary equatorial orbit GEO or low-earth orbit LEO) to provide a resilient network with an option of higher throughput if necessary. 5G Satcom networks are also of great interest to both ST Engineering iDirect and hiSky, and we look forward to a close strategic partnership with our latest portfolio startup.