Three Keys to Enabling

Smarter Mines

 

Three Keys to Enabling Smarter Mines
By Morten Hagland Hansen, VP, Segment Market Management Energy SES Networks

Mining companies operate in challenging and highly adverse working environments, whether on the surface, underground or offshore. These sites are typically in remote and geographically dispersed locations where communication infrastructure is scarce, which creates numerous operational and safety challenges for mining companies to consider.

Digital technology promises a way to improve these operating conditions. As modern mines transform practices built around legacy information and operations systems (IT/OT) into connectivity-integrated, ultra-intelligent smart mining operations, they are embracing communications technology across all aspects of their operations.

But enabling the necessary level of performance and availability for remote operations isn’t a simple endeavour. Expensive and time-consuming infrastructure rollout is not an option for operations without a fibre backbone in vicinity, while traditional VSAT satellite systems lack the broadband and scalability needed to support massive operational requirements.

SES Networks’ multi-orbit satellite system addresses this challenge by providing a unique hybrid of MEO and HTS GEO capabilities—with ‘fibre-like performance’ and redundancy for resiliency, available anywhere in the world. With this hybrid solution at its disposal, smart mines can now set up their desired network connectivity to accelerate digital transformation, no matter where they operate.

Here’s a closer look at how SES Networks is helping to address challenges specific to the mining industry:

1] Connecting geographically distributed mining operations

Satellite technology eliminates the need for costly and time-intensive fibre deployments, which is key for geographically dispersed mining operations.  The combination of comprehensive GEO coverage and fibre-equivalent MEO connectivity allows mine operators to improve safety, productivity and efficiency via systems such as business process automation and remote asset inventory, regardless of location.

On the ground, engineers and mining personnel can work more efficiently with a host of low-latency data applications—such as high-quality voice and video communications, as well as real-time monitoring, maintenance and control.

2] Remotely monitoring and controlling mine equipment

Sustaining mining lifecycles and long-term profitability under constantly changing market conditions requires extensive planning and management. A machine-to-machine (M2M) network can enable more efficient utilisation of mine resources, equipment and critical assets if the appropriate connectivity is in place. SES Networks’ ability to deliver connectivity services with 99.5% to 99.9% guaranteed reliability, backed by service level agreements (SLAs), provides a critical basis for the secure, scalable network architecture required to support multiple sensors, M2M protocols and access to real-time voice, video and data.

For instance, SES Networks’ MEO-enabled solution delivers satellite data round-trip latencies at below 150 milliseconds—on par with standard fibre connectivity to keep thousands of sensors and equipment across the mining ecosystem running around the clock.

3] Delivering an unrivalled Quality of Experience (QoE)

SES Networks further empowers mining companies with differentiated Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities. Operating the industry’s only satellite-based network able to offer MEF-certified Ethernet services, SES Networks can provide high-performance, application-aware access to the Internet. In a mining environment, this is critical for optimal use of cloud and private network content and business applications.

Hence, mining end users can benefit from an unrivalled Quality of Experience (QoE) to achieve full mine automation and business-critical performance improvements by leveraging applications such as ERP, logistics fleet tracking, cloud-based file sharing and Office 365.

Mines can open themselves to any of the latest technology solutions that they deem most beneficial to their productivity, efficiency and safety—to benefit from digitalisation like any operation with fibre connectivity would.

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As mining companies look to implement the latest technology solutions across their operations, the demand for remote connectivity and low-latency solutions has never been greater. SES Networks will continue working with stakeholders across the mining ecosystem to digitally transform operations and adapt to a constantly changing market.

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