Fielding questions from Space In Africa, Dr Olugbenga Leke Oyewole, the Chief Executive of Atlantic Factorial, said the company started operations in 2005, focusing on maritime surveillance using traditional and coastal automatic identification system(AIS) to locate vessels in the coast and later logged on to the use of Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) which afforded the company the “ability to see globally”.
Satellite AIS depends on transponders to track cargoes, in absence of this, maritime surveillance is challenged leading to loss of vessels and cargoes which adversely affects the economy of a nation. Against this background, Atlantic Factorial recently, took a step further to solidify its operations by acquiring a partnership with a radiofrequency analytics company capable of tracking ships “everywhere, anywhere and anytime” which defeats the illegalities perpetrated by criminals, and consequently, reduces economic sabotage in the maritime and aviation sectors.
According to Dr Oyewole, since 2010, the startup has also diversified its operations and spectrum of services to include radiofrequency analytics, maritime and trade solutions, cargo tracking, aviation, space and software solutions through the utilisation of proprietary satellite data and algorithms. The company has also ventured into smart farming, security solutions, weather services, fleet management, oil and gas facility surveillance, pipeline and pollution monitoring.
Atlantic Factorial focuses on continually amassing and automating data from constellations of satellites at high, medium and low resolutions; guaranteeing live and historical data for use in maritime, aerial and terrestrial activities to monitor changes and effects.
The company’s milestones include collaboration with its international partners, which includes Hawkeye 360, a commercial radar satellite service provider, and Spire, a radiofrequency analytics company which provides up-to-date data on maritime vessels and aircraft. The company also has a reseller agreement with Planet Labs, an American commercial Earth-imaging data provider.
Atlantic Factorial boasts of access to a large constellation of about 200 satellites and 100 ground stations belonging to its partners and licensed to the company for commercialization on per day-use basis.
In its service capacity, the company has the capability “to track and monitor aircraft for the hours they have done in the air and be able to know when they are due for service so that maintenance is enforced by the relevant government agencies”.
“We also provide weather data with a high resolution which is like 100 metres and 0.1°C in temperature. So we can tell of weather difference in every 100 metres in Nigeria, and we acquired these computations from 70 kilometres vertically, which gives us the best recognition in this field. From weather service to aviation to maritime and for agriculture, it is very superb”, Dr Oyewole explained.
It is also important to note that the company monitors flights for altitude, latitude, longitude and speed in near-realtime, especially over the oceans for safety and recovery from disasters. It tracks any aircraft equipped with an ADS-B transponder, including helicopters with each satellite receiving up 180,000 messages per hour; keeping track of interference on signals and locate the source of interference: geo-fence terminals, rigs, facilities etc. to monitor ingress and egress of vessels.
Its Cargo Track & E-Solution tool allows clients to stay updated on the status of their consignment. These make it a notable force in the logistics industry as it relates to the provision of assured services to businesses, government agencies and private agencies in their service areas.
The company also provides past, present and forecast data and consultancy services to government agencies and private companies in order to make informed decisions and policies. The company reportedly helped Skye Bank, one of Nigeria’s commercial banks, to recover a lost vessel which the bank had provided financing for. “We look forward to servicing other relevant government, public and private companies in the nearby future”, Dr Oyewole said.
In line with its vision: ‘to be the biggest repository of empirical data to the government, institutions, corporate bodies and individuals for informed decisions”, the company in February 2019 signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA). The joint venture agreement with NASRDA will enable Atlantic Factorial to provide satellite services to government agencies in Nigeria.
Atlantic Factorial is a privately owned company currently bootstrapping its operations with no external investment. The company is primarily focused on the Nigerian market, and operates from Lagos, Nigeria, but looks to expand to other West African countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo and Zambia, in the near future.
In retrospect, Atlantic factorial is evolving and has bullishly embraced opportunities to provide satellite-as-a-service solutions to new partners/clients across various sectors.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.