Each year, Via Satellite magazine and its readers recognize a handful of technologies for either their notable level of innovation, their contribution to the development of the space and satellite industries as a whole, their influence on global events, their notable success in the market, or a combination of these achievements. We’ve nominated six standout technologies for our 2022 Satellite Technology of the Year Award, representing a wide range of products and services in connectivity, imagery, software, and emergency services. The 2022 list also includes our first nomination of a technically non-satellite company.
The winner of the award will be determined by a public vote combined with the votes of the Via Satellite editorial board. The winner will be announced during the Via Satellite awards luncheon on Wednesday, March 15, at the SATELLITE 2023 conference in Washington, D.C. Voting is open online from Feb. 22 to 12 p.m. on March 14 and can be accessed at satellitetoday.com/vote. Here are the 2022 Technology of the Year nominees.
Apple iPhone 14 with Emergency Satellite Messaging
There have long been suspicions and rumors that the Apple iPhone could eventually be a satellite device. Each new iteration of the iPhone came with whispers: “Will this be the one?” This is now a reality. With the iPhone 14, Apple brought life-saving emergency text messaging to the world’s most popular handheld device, via satellite. The service is already operational and making an impact. When the service officially saved its first life, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, BBC, and hundreds of other leading cable news shows ran with it as a top story.
To make this difficult satellite-to-cell connection possible, Apple designed and built custom components and specific software and algorithms so that iPhone 14 antennas can connect to the unique frequencies of satellites. It also built ground infrastructure to take data packets relayed from a satellite to emergency services. Apple even built an infrastructure for message relay centers to send critical information to emergency crews when local emergency response infrastructure is not able accept texts, to ensure the service is always available. The company is making a large investment of $450 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to support the infrastructure for the service, and has done a lot of work behind the scenes to make this service a reality.
Apple has the money to invest in its own satellite network, and keeping technologies in-house has been a cornerstone of Apple’s corporate culture. Yet the company made the decision to go with an external partner Globalstar, with an existing satellite network. Via Satellite recognizes this as an extraordinary decision because it brings a much-needed technology to market faster, saving more actual lives today than potential lives in the future. Apple is recognized for the design and implementation of the texting service on such a widely distributed platform. With the iPhone 14 satellite emergency messaging, Apple is bringing a life-saving technology to the masses and raising the profile of what is possible with satellite technology.