Coming Down From Space, Part 2 of 2

BDenis Sutherlandy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Satellite operators’ business models are going to change due to the multi spot beam architecture of HTS. Satellite operators will need to focus not just on space but also on ground infrastructure. This new focus will enable their service provider (SP) customers to cost effectively access HTS via a managed service model. We predict that satellite operators will change their business models to sell Mbps rather than MHz. In my last blog I considered why, but in this one I would like to discuss what impact this may have.

How Do You Sell Mbps?

RSCC recently told SatTV Week that they are an “operator of infrastructure” during an interview at CommunicAsia 2014.

This demonstrates to me that satellite operators understand that they need to sell more than just a satellite’s capability in order to ultimately sell Mbps. Satellite operators must sell what’s on the ground, too; the quality, security and reliability of the ground infrastructure are significant. The ground elements are a critical part of the overall network architecture. Therefore, satellite operators will be responsible for the entire network if they are selling Mbps via a managed service model.

Could The VNO Model Be A Stepping Stone?

Satellite operators can control how their capacity comes to market by choosing one of four business models:

  • Vertically Integrated Model – (Mbps)
  • Managed Services Model – (Mbps)
  • Virtual Network Operator Model – (MHz)
  • Hub Co-location Model – (MHz)

Although all four business models are in use today, I made the case in my last blog that satellite operators that are selling MHz will gradually transition to a managed service model based on selling Mbps. However, the VNO model could serve as transition point for some. Read More

Preparing for a Network 2020 Environment: The Industry Responds

Cisco_Watko_Hi_RezOver the past two weeks Eric Watko, iDirect’s vice president, telecoms and space systems, has helped set the framework for satellite’s ultimate role in the broader converged end-to-end network. And the industry is responding in a positive manner.

Presenting at VSAT 2014 on the topic ‘Preparing for a Network 2020 Environment’, along with a follow-up webinar hosted by Via Satellite last week, Watko outlined the opportunity for satellite playing a broader role in the converged end-to-end network. As communication demands continue to evolve and the need for every access technology to work together within the network becomes more apparent, satellite provides the global reach, resiliency and specialized services necessary for achieving this global IP connectivity.

Watko addressed the technical details associated with gaps that exist with regards to helping satellite become part of this core network, including the need for this industry to embrace modern IP networking standards, among others.

Following the webinar Watko fielded a series of questions related to the topic. Attendees were interested in a wide range of topics, including what this will ultimately mean for the future of the value chain, new markets and enabling technologies. Here is a sample of this dialogue with the market, post webinar:

The role of the satellite service provider: When asked how the role of the satellite service provider will change in this new environment of the converged end-to-end network, Watko outlined a landscape where they become more aggressive with the ability to discover new opportunities. Whereas in the past the terrestrial service provider would be in position to leverage more opportunities, he sees the satellite service provider being able to move up the value chain, expand their influence and offer additional services. Read More

Honeywell and Thales Partner on GX-based In-Flight Connectivity

From Satellite Today

Honeywell Aerospace announced a collaborative initiative with Thales to create a joint In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service using Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) capacity. The companies plan to integrate Honeywell JetWave hardware into Thales cabin network solutions, starting with the Airbus A350XWB and expanding to other aircraft.

Honeywell intends to provide up to 50 Mbps broadband speeds through Thales cabin network solutions starting in 2015. Thales will also offer the option of including Honeywell’s JetWave hardware in new and existing Airbus aircraft. Honeywell has the right to manufacture onboard hardware that connects to the GX Aviation network through an exclusive 2012 agreement with Inmarsat.

Applied Satellite Technology Joins the iDirect Distribution Program

From SatNews

AST customers can now buy directly from the company and it will be holding inventory of all iDirect remotes for immediate dispatch in its warehouses serving Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. This can save customers customs and shipping costs.

Mark Sykes, Director of AST said, “The addition of the iDirect range of remotes to our already extensive portfolio of satellite products is very important for AST. It enables us to support iDirect resellers and customers with cost effective and timely iDirect product supply. It also extends our ability to meet the needs of our customers who have both MSS and FSS requirements and significantly enhances our VSAT solution portfolio.”

iDirect’s Stephen Tunnicliffe, Regional Vice President, Europe, added; “We welcome AST to our Distributor network. Their expertise in satellite, combined with proven global distribution capabilities, makes them an ideal partner for iDirect.’

AST is an established Tier 1 provider of satellite airtime, hardware and solutions for the major constellation networks, and an experienced and trusted Distribution Partner for satellite and radio equipment throughout the world. The increased demand for data connectivity, wherever and whenever the need arises, is increasing the requirement for satellite communications. Adding the iDirect product to AST’s portfolio supports these market needs.

Upgrade To iDirect Evolution Helps Telefonica Peru Win Bid For Telemedicine Network

Latest innovation to help communications provider serve upcoming national elections, and expand overall customer base

Herndon, Va. September 24, 2014 – VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of
Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that Telefonica Grandes Empresas in Peru (Telefonica del Peru), a business unit of the Telefonica Group, has upgraded to iDirect Evolution®, running the latest iDX 3.2 software. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

The upgrade to iDirect Evolution 3.2 came in response to one of Telefonica Peru’s existing customers, telemedicine provider ESSALUD, opening-up the bidding process for a network provider. The criteria included being able to achieve a high rate of availability while doubling the IP data rate for delivering services. iDirect Evolution 3.2 offers high data rates, and with ATDMA it maximizes bandwidth efficiency, allowing the network to react accordingly in times of peak traffic. Evolution has helped Telefonica Peru deliver ESSALUD global spectral efficiency of 1.8bps/hz and 99.8% availability to 151 sites.

Going forward, Telefonica del Peru anticipates Evolution will help it serve the upcoming national elections in the region, as well as expand existing services and pursue new opportunities associated with government and enterprise customers around Peru. Read More

An NMS Must Extend Across All Systems

By Chris Burdick, VP Product Management NMS, and Guy Adams, VP Systems Architecture NMS

During this blog series, we’re taking time to explore iDirect’s vision for what an ultimate Network Management System (NMS) would look like and how it should positively impact your business. In the last two posts, we examined improvements in operational productivity and the customer experience.

In order to produce the maximum benefit, the NMS should be integrated with other operational and support systems, in order to effectively communicate with the terrestrial networks that are part of a customers’ total communications environment. Then you can operate at peak performance and serve customers at the highest quality possible.

Open yet secure Web Service API technology plays a key role here. It enables the NMS to connect with other business systems, such as those that manage billing and inventory. This further streamlines NOC operations by synchronizing multiple independent systems and reducing human error. For example, if a remote is being deployed at a new customer site, an integrated NMS would be able to automatically upload remote specifications from the inventory system and then modify the inventory records to indicate when the remote has been provisioned and to what customer assigned.

NMS4-iDirectThe NMS should have a modular design that makes it easy to upgrade components without disturbing the entire platform. This would be true whether developing code to further customize NOC operations, incorporating an off-the-shelf plug-in that enables interaction with a popular billing package or adding a core module tailored for mobility networks that can launch a new mobility-based service plan. Read More

European Partner Summit Energizes Region’s Leading Operators and Service Providers

eps audienceiDirect leaders gathered with more than 70 partners this week in London for the much anticipated European Partner Summit. The event was a chance for iDirect to network with its strong base of operators and service providers in the region, listening to their market insights, while sharing iDirect’s plans for product and business development.

Kevin Steen, iDirect’s chief operating officer, led off the event by highlighting vibrant growth numbers in Europe reported by COMSYS.

  • Service revenues grew 3.7% to $7.2 billion (U.S.)
  • Hardware revenues grew 22.3% to $1.06 billion
  • Enterprise shipments grew by 13.8%
  • Enterprise sites in service grew to more than 1.5 million
  • Satellite consumer subscribers passed 2 million this year

Kevin then outlined how iDirect is engineering its platform to support this growth trajectory. This ranges from enabling larger scale, higher throughput networks to advancing satellite to play a major role in driving the end-to-end IP network. Kevin also spoke to iDirect’s strategy to lower the total cost of ownership and remove long-standing barriers to satellite adoption in the broader telecom market – key objectives on the path to mainstream opportunity. Read More

20/20 Vision for Building the “Network 2020 Environment”

Cisco_Watko_Hi_RezEric Watko, Vice President, Technology Initiatives, iDirect

It’s tough to say you have 20/20 vision on anything, much less a goal that is roughly six years down the road. But as we continue to talk about satellite’s role in the converged end-to-end network, some things are coming into clear focus about the path we need to take as an industry to get there.

I’ve been asked to present this week at VSAT 2014 on the topic “Preparing for a Network 2020 Environment.” And as I think about what that environment will look like, and the role that satellite must play, I cannot help but reflect on my past where I saw a similar path towards network convergence play out.

Prior to iDirect, I was a senior engineering development and business manager for Cisco’s space systems group.

During that time, Cisco was a major part of a transformation in the telecommunications industry from dedicated circuits to IP networks to end-to-end services.

I see the satellite industry following a similar path, starting with legacy networks more than 20 years ago, through the development of IP-based satellite communications, pioneered by iDirect. And now satellite communications is poised to join the converged end-to-end network, ready to deliver unique value in terms of global reach, unique applications and market opportunity.

Yet, as we talk about satellite taking that next step on its path, there are definite gaps that need to be filled. One of these gaps exists with regards to network standards, similar to the way in which terrestrial-based technologies like wireless, wireline, DSL, and optical shifted from disparate networks to become one core network. Read More

An NMS Must Deliver a Superior Customer Experience

By Chris Burdick, VP Product Management NMS, and Guy Adams, VP Systems Architecture NMS

During this blog series, we’re taking time to explore iDirect’s vision for what an ultimate Network Management System (NMS) should look like and how it should positively impact your business. In the last post, we reviewed the importance of a well-designed NMS to operational productivity.

Another critical function of an NMS is to extend service plan knowledge to end users. It’s common today for an NMS to provide limited network visibility. However, a customer portal must be more than just a window to the network; it should also allow customers to actively manage their service.

A customer portal must enable customers to view real-time data and bandwidth utilization reports and interact with the network through self-service features, such as scheduling additional bandwidth for a big event or requesting changes to their service plans.

NMS3-iDirectThe NMS should also be a means by which service providers develop additional, differentiated offerings for their customers. Through Web Service APIs, service providers can leverage the NMS to create a broad variety of tailored apps that meet unique end user or market needs. For example, an app can offer customized reporting tools for a captain on a cruise ship, or enable a utilities field engineer to find the location of deployed equipment along an oil pipeline. Turning knowledge about how customers operate into innovative service features can deliver unique value and build customer loyalty. Read More

What’s On-Tap for iDirect’s European Partner Summit?

EPS-blogLondon will be the destination point this week as iDirect plays host to 80 key partners for its European Partner Summit. Held one day prior to the kick-off of VSAT 2014, this event will provide partners the opportunity to hear from iDirect’s executives on the company’s vision and plans for future development.

Market opportunities in this region should be heating up with NSR expecting HTS bandwidth demand in Western Europe to increase from just under 10 Gbps in 2013 to more than140 Gbps by 2023. NSR points to government/military, enterprise data and commercial mobility as fast-growing contributors after broadband.

That means partners in this region will be eagerly anticipating details for how iDirect can help them further capitalize on new market opportunities.

Hosted by Stephen Tunnicliffe, iDirect’s regional vice president, the agenda will cover many high-priority discussions facing partners in this region, including:

Market Direction

CEO Mary Cotton will discuss iDirect’s path for transforming into a larger, more ambitious organization to help capture even greater market opportunity. This point is underscored by the fact iDirect partners are building their business on iDirect technology.

The key will be in providing more value, services, training, and enhancements to help partners expand their business and best leverage their investment the technology. Read More