i2CAT and Sateliot: a long-term partnership to make research a reality


The Catalan Research Centre i2CAT and the Barcelona-based satellite communication service provider Sateliot began cooperating in 2020. For i2CAT, as a centre specialising in 5G, IoT and space communications, becoming Sateliot’s partner was an opportunity to put research to use in real-life scenarios. For Sateliot, as a startup innovating in space communications, it was a chance to solve some particular challenges with a tailor-made solution.

The partnership is a win-win situation and a success story. That is why it was featured in the “The Barcelona Startup Ecosystem” study, a report by Mind The Bridge and Tech Barcelona that explores the key figures and reasons why Barcelona is rapidly gaining global significance and becoming a prominent player in the global Innovation arena. It was presented at the Tech Spirit event last December.

For Sateliot, there was a clear need to find communication network cores that could meet the needs of both ground-based and space environments. i2CAT’s research teams investigated several methods to overcome the challenges of combining both environments, such as communication delays, authentication, etc. As a result, i2CAT designed and developed an adapted communication core network validated in a laboratory environment. Both teams are still collaborating to gradually build Sateliot’s system: a customised Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) core network featuring standard 3GPP interfaces accessible to users and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

Thanks to the unique solution designed by i2CAT’s team, Sateliot has demonstrated its business idea, secured investments and closed deals with important players in the ecosystem. For i2CAT, Sateliot is a strategic partner that brings challenging projects to the research teams, allowing them to transfer their knowledge and research into a new product.

According to Clàudia Mateo, Innovation Business Manager for the Space Sector at i2CAT, “the partnership with Sateliot is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with an innovative company based in Catalonia that has the potential to impact the sector at a global scale. It is also very exciting because it allows i2CAT to apply research to novel products and services, such as this one, which is enabled by the combination of satellite and ground networks.”

As this case demonstrates, combining the experience gained in years of international research with the possibilities offered by the private sector results in unique and comprehensive products that focus on specific needs.