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

SkyVision Extends Donation of Satellite Broadband to Crossover Academy in Ghana

From Satellite Today

SkyVision Global Networks has extended its donation of satellite capacity to Ghana’s Crossover Academy for use in e-learning programs. Crossover relies on charitable donations from around the world to continue operating in the remote village of Tongor-Attokrokpo, Ghana. The school’s student body is comprised entirely of orphans.

SkyVision and iDirect began supporting satellite services at the academy in 2013, with SkyVision’s SkyDirect VSAT service, based on iDirect’s platform, providing broadband connectivity. This year SkyVision and iDirect upgraded the school’s communications equipment so students and teachers can continue online educational programs. Continue>

iDirect Makes Waves at Maritime Events

Leading shipbuilders, ship owners and suppliers from around the globe gathered in Hamburg at SMM this week to discuss trends and technologies steering the maritime market forward. iDirect and partners were front and center, helping set the stage for the various ways in which HTS will impact the future of maritime.

iDirect partner Orange Business Services hosted a panel discussion titled “Maritime Communications: What You Need to Know Now, Understanding and Benefitting from the New Technologies”, moderated by Alan Gottlieb, managing director of Gottlieb International Group Inc.

Propeller HeadsTaking part in this panel was Denis Sutherland, iDirect’s senior manager, sales system engineering, who highlighted significant technology enhancements iDirect has made in terms of speed and capacity. At the core, according to Sutherland, is the ability to continually develop products with a number of features that help make satellite easier to adopt and to deploy.

And with HTS set to become a game changer for maritime, the focus remains on developing technology designed to work in a spot beam environment, and enable traditional service providers to access the extra capacity and take advantage of the available coverage and speed.

For example, enhancements to the Evolution platform include: Adaptive TDMA, DVB-S2 enhancements, new remotes, and dual demodulators that help increase capability for different types of services, across different beams.

Overall, the importance in preparing for this new environment, says Sutherland, is to understand how to best leverage the business models. And that it is not a case of one service necessarily being better or more flexible than the other for the end customer. Read More

An NMS Must Raise Operational Productivity

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

In this portion of our blog series, we will explore iDirect’s vision for what an ultimate Network Management System (NMS) should look like and how it should positively impact your business.

A typical Network Operations Center (NOC) is characterized by tremendous activity and diversity. There are multiple networks to monitor, individual tasks to manage and systems to integrate. NOC technicians need to ensure Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met, operational costs are minimized and customer satisfaction is high.

The ultimate NMS should optimize all time-intensive tasks to simplify the job of each person inside the NOC. That means the ultimate NMS should be designed with the user in mind. The NMS should provide tailored workflows for each type of user and the tasks they perform most often, boosting efficiency through easily accessible tools and predictive interfaces. This will lower operational costs and free up critical time to focus on customer service and business growth.

NMS2-iDirectImproving productivity starts when all the common user workflows are mapped and analyzed for everyone that touches the NMS, including NOC technicians, service managers and even customers. Case examples help illustrate the impact of the NMS on specific workflows, such as rapid problem resolution. Then NMS functions can be aligned to maximize each step of the workflow. Read More

Satellite and the Promise of ‘Yes’

Kevin SteenBy Kevin Steen, Chief Operating Officer, iDirect

A promise can be very powerful. Take, for example, the promise that we make everyday to our customers and partners of delivering better technology and greater value. But as an industry we should also be thinking about the bigger promise at stake.

It’s a question I am pondering as I prepare for this week’s World Satellite Business Week conference. I am participating on a panel discussion, ‘VSAT Solutions and Services: Delivering the Broadband Promise’ and as preparation I have been asked to think about promises the satellite industry has delivered, as well as which promises the market should expect us to fulfill in the near term.

Naturally, one big-picture “promise” that comes to mind is satellite’s role as part of a converged end-to-end network. As an industry we are working diligently on what it takes to become part of this network convergence—things such integrating into the core telecom network and driving down the overall cost in order to become more price competitive, and delivering a user experience that parallels terrestrial ones.

Success is defined as the point at which the access technology, whether fiber, wireless or satellite, is irrelevant to the end user—the experience is the same regardless of what access technology is deployed. We must think in end-user terms; words that are used to describe delivery of service in traditional telco language, such as “provisioning” vs. “commissioning” and expectations that end users have based on how telecommunication services are delivered today on a broader scale. Read More

What’s on the Horizon for HTS?

iDirect's CMO, Toni Lee RudnickiBy Toni Lee Rudnicki, Chief Marketing Officer, iDirect

A few trends stuck out from NSR’s earlier released Global Satellite Capacity Supply and Demand, 11th edition. In particular, trends associated with High Throughput Satellite (HTS) contained in the report set the stage for the next stage in its growth.

In terms of bench-setting data for HTS, NSR’s report shows that leased HTS capacity increased by 25.6% in the last year and the wholesale revenue equivalent derived from the global HTS market in 2013 was estimated to be nearly $ 246.3 million, up 14.6% compared to 2012.

But going forward NSR believes that the global market for HTS is still emerging. Projected HTS demand growth rate is expected to rise above 30% annually with broadband access services to be the mainstay of demand. Overall, NSR forecasts that HTS capacity demand will surpass 1,000 Gbps by 2023.

A deeper look into the trends reveals that NSR believes the future of HTS should accelerated once we move past the current “land-grab phase” and business cases beyond typical broadband access start to pan out.

Mobility. Going forward, NSR anticipates mobility applications for both commercial and government/military clients to utilize both traditional FSS capacity along with next-generation HTS and MEO-HTS.

And NSR believes both segments could see even greater demand, should certain factors eventually play out further. In the government/military segment, for example, an increase in requirements associated with certain foreign policy initiatives could have substantial impact. With regards to commercial mobility, an increase in the number of deployments for aeronautical and maritime will be among the main accelerating factors. Read More

A Vision for Creating Value with Your NMS

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

High throughput satellites (HTS) will make it increasingly difficult to differentiate based on speed or price. Instead, service providers (SPs) will need to differentiate by delivering unique and meaningful value to their customers. While advances in technology may level the playing field, no one understands an SP’s customers better than that actual SP. Therefore, no one is in a better position than that one SP to deliver the value that the customer needs now and in the future.

To create value, a business and network must be primed to operate at peak performance and have access to key insights across the operations and customer base in order to make decisive, strategic decisions. What if there was one system that could improve all of these business aspects, one solution that could advance operations, optimize the network and increase customer satisfaction?

NMS-iDirectThere is such a tool – a system that already plays a central role and has the potential to be transformational to the business; this tool is the Network Management System (NMS). It’s through the NMS and inside the Network Operations Center (NOC) that key events are managed and important decisions are implemented that impact profitability, growth and differentiation. The NMS provides the visibility into the network and customers, and tools to optimize operations. It enables delivery of new and better levels of service, and creates added value in the ways customer care about most. Read More

Executive Spotlights: The iDirect Executive Team

From SatMagazine

Mary Cotton, Chief Executive Officer • Kevin Steen, Chief Operating Officer • Toni Lee Rudnicki, Chief Marketing Officer • Greg Quiggle, Vice President, Product Management

Mary CottonMary Cotton, the CEO of iDirect, possesses more than 25 years of technology leadership, creating and driving growth in her previous roles as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in various organizations.

Prior to joining iDirect, she served as Senior Vice President for SAP, one of the world’s largest business application software companies. Cotton joined SAP in 2005 after she orchestrated the sale of Frictionless Commerce, a provider of supplier relationship management software, where she served as CEO.

Prior to SAP, Cotton held several top management positions, including COO and CFO, at Aspen Technology Inc. (AspenTech), a provider of software and services that helps companies improve their manufacturing processes. There she executed a growth strategy that built AspenTech from a $6M private company to a $320M publicly traded, international solutions provider. The strategy focused on continued product development and innovation, international market expansion and the acquisition of more than 20 software and services firms.

Seven years have passed since you took the reins at iDirect, which has experienced strong revenue growth and dominance in several key vertical markets and HTS leadership. What is the key to iDirect’s success?

Mary Cotton
When I joined iDirect in 2007, the company had established a remarkable track record of innovation. The introduction of an IP-based satellite platform enabled enterprise-quality applications for the first time in the industry. And this helped transform satellite from a “technology of last resort” to a powerful solution that can handle core network applications and take broadband into the heart of critical enterprise, military and public sector operations. Continue>

ST Electronics Opens Satellite Systems Center

From SatNews

Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited (ST Electronics) has opened their ST Electronics Satellite Systems Center, a new state-of-the-art facility custom-built for the design and manufacturing of satellite systems.In attendance at the event was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S, Iswaran.

Constructed in about a year, the six-story ST Electronics Satellite Systems Center, located at 6 Ang Mo Kio Electronics Park Road, has a total floor area in excess of 11,000 sq. meters. The Center accommodates well equipped laboratories for development work on remote sensing satellites in the areas of satellite attitude control and determination, high-throughput satellite communications, advanced computing, intelligent power control and management system as well as ground station infrastructure. The Center also includes a 12-meter high high-bay clean room for the concurrent Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) of two satellites. ST Electronics has used the facility to successfully construct and test the Qualification Model for TeLEOS-1, which is the first commercial Remote Earth Observation Satellite wholly designed in Singapore. ST Electronics is currently constructing the Flight Model for TeLEOS-1 which will be launched into space in 2015.

“This ST Electronics Satellite Systems Center affirms our long term commitment to build a vibrant and globally competitive satellite eco-system in Singapore,” said ST Electronics President Lee Fook Sun. “Working hand-in-hand with Economic Development Board (EDB), we will help the local industry to level up technologically and increase their value-add.” Continue>