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Deutsche Bahn banks on internet from space

DB startup fund invests in global satellite network • Kepler investment has potential for Internet of Things applications • The benefit for customers will come in global rail and road freight, says DB

DB Digital Ventures, Deutsche Bahn's venture capital arm that funds new digital business models, has invested in a Canadian satellite communications company. By investing in Kepler Communications, DB is banking on innovative technology for fast and secure data transmission.

"Uninterrupted real-time communication has to be there before any other advancements in digitalization can be made," says Prof. Sabina Jeschke, Member of the DB Management Board for Digitalization and Technology. "Kepler's satellite network makes the Internet of Things available worldwide without cell towers, across national borders and independent of roaming agreements. It's a truly pioneering service with incredible potential, especially for international freight transportation and logistics," she adds.

“We are delighted to have with DB one of the largest mobility providers on board and are looking forward to leverage the usage of Kepler technology in the field of transport and logistics”, says Mina Mitry, CEO of Kepler.

Nano satellites transmit Internet of Things (IoT) data around the globe

The Toronto company, which has 20 employees and was established in 2015, is building a global communications network that will offer connectivity for bulk data transmission and IoT applications at any time and in any place without the need for cellular carriers. Kepler plans to launch 140 small satellites, which are about the size of a lunch box, into low earth orbit. Its IoT solution will enable global positioning and allow transmission of data, such as information about the condition of freight being transported through multiple countries by train or truck. Beginning in 2022 Kepler's satellites will allow containers that are in transport to communicate almost in real time via sensors. The benefits for logistics customers include higher quality along the supply chain and seamless consignment tracking, even in areas where there is no cellular network.

What's more, the system will be able to close any reception gaps on the ground when systems are networked digitally. Kepler's technology is also highly secure because it uses its own satellite communication protocol.

DB customers participate in digital progress through investment

DB Digital Ventures is providing venture capital for startups to promote technological innovation that will benefit DB's customers in the long term. Kepler is the tenth startup Deutsche Bahn has invested in through this fund.