Sofant (1)

A focus on improving sustainability has won Scottish radio technology company, Sofant Technologies £6.2m in financial backing from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to support the commercialisation of its low-cost, low-power satellite communications platform.

Applying patented radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS), Sofant Technologies’ platform solves the most pressing power consumption and heat problems faced by the next generation of 5G and satellite communications systems.

The funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) – secured under an ​​Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) contract – will support Sofant Technologies to complete the commercialisation of a satellite communication terminal. This will allow users to connect to the cloud via a new generation of low-latency, super-fast satellite networks. 

Eliminating the need for complex and expensive cooling systems, Sofant’s platform will enable Satellite Communication (SatCom) and 5G wireless networks to operate with 70% less power – a significant step forward as 5G adoption accelerates towards one billion users by 2022.

By connecting devices wirelessly via a satellite network, Sofant Technologies’ terminal will reduce the need for terrestrial infrastructure and make it much easier for people in rural and remote locations to get online. 

With COP26 underway, Sofant’s technology is moving towards further environmental savings, with the potential for the technology to be powered by renewable energy. Those relying on solar or wind technology in rural locations will have the ability to connect via their own power sources, further reducing individual carbon footprints in the pursuit of neutral carbon emissions by 2050.

Commenting on the ARTES contract, David Wither, CEO of Sofant Technologies, said: “We are honoured that the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the ESA have agreed to support the commercialisation of Sofant’s technology. They have a clear understanding of the technical challenges faced by the satellite communications industry as it seeks to exploit the promise of a new generation of satellite networks. They also share our belief that a scalable technology platform which solves power consumption and heat problems in phased array antennas is critical for the future of wireless communications. We look forward to working with the team at the ESA throughout this project.”

This announcement comes as Sofant Technologies gears up for its first Series A funding round, to scale its base in Edinburgh and triple its headcount from 16 to 48 over the contract period. This will create numerous highly skilled jobs within Scotland’s engineering sector, from antenna and product design to component, product and software engineering.

Key takeaways…

  • Sofant Technologies, a Scottish radio technology company, has secured a £6.2 million contract with the European Space Agency
  • This funding will support the development of a low-cost, low-power satellite communication terminal, which will help address concerns surrounding the overheating issues experienced by current SatComs and 5G communication systems
  • This technology will reduce carbon emissions within the energy-intensive space sector and help people in remote and rural locations to easily connect to the internet - even if relying on renewable energy sources – for more information about Sofant Technologies visit: sofant.com
  • For more inspiration and advice on improving sustainability visit UMi platform’s COP26 hot topic: https://www.weareumi.co.uk/webapp/hot-topics/cop26-the-un-climate-change-conference

 

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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