A Texas Sized Challenge: Virgin Technology Aims to Take On the Permian Basin Oil and Gas Market

From Market Wired

Virgin Technologies Inc., is pleased to announce its recent opening of a new office in The Midlands, Texas. The office is an extension of its oil and gas rentals division, with offices in Williston, ND, and Calgary, AB. The Midlands is home to the Permian Basin and, in part, has powered the revolution in shale production in the United States.Virgin Technologies rents a full range of communication products to oil and gas customers — everything from construction and man camps, to oil rigs, completion sites to fracking operations. While there is a healthy market for communications rentals in the oil and gas industry, what makes Virgin Technologies unique is that it also manufactures its own rental fleet of auto-aiming satellites, along with its own iDirect teleport operation.

Typically rig communication set ups in the Texas area rely on traditional static satellite, but Virgin Technologies is betting that once the marketplace gets a taste of the advantages of auto-aiming technology the benefits of such technology will become obvious and drive demand.

“Static satellites are extremely sensitive insofar as if they are nudged offline, they simply lose the signal and have to be re-pointed, requiring someone to drive to the site with the expertise to do so. The site then loses communication, and also requires the same every time the site is moved,” notes Virgin President Robert Smibert.

Auto-aiming satellites can be deployed with the simple push of a button by anyone, and then auto-acquires the satellite signal within minutes. As Virgin also operates its own teleport, its network operations centre (NOC) can also trouble shoot any issues remotely, and typically resolves over 90% of field calls within 10 minutes or less.

“As a company, we have lived and breathed the oil and gas market for 15 years, and we know the demands and expectations day in and out. We are betting that with superior products, and with local boots on the ground who know the marketplace, we will be positioned to disrupt the marketplace and provide new options to operators in this region,” say’s Smibert. Continue >

iDirect’s Richard Deasington to Speak at Mobile World Congress: Leveraging Satellite Backhaul for 3G and 4G Coverage

The mobile industry continues to experience exponential growth and nowhere will that beMWC 2015 logo more apparent than at the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona. More than 80,000 people will come together to see the latest innovations, from advanced networking infrastructure to the newest consumer technology that all of us will want to have.

iDirect will be in attendance at the show as a primary sponsor of the Small Cell Forum’s stand. We will be in hall 7 at stand 7F61 where show attendees can see the latest in small cell technology from many different companies, and listen to presentations from vendors and key market analysts.

iDirect’s own Richard Deasington will be “bringing you up to speed for 3G and 4G rural Richard Deasingtoncoverage” during his presentation times in the Small Cell Forum’s stand. If you are attending the show and want to learn more about iDirect SatHaulTM, Richard will be presenting on Tuesday, March 3 at 12:00pm and Wednesday, March 4 at 1:30pm. The full list of speakers at the Small Cell Forum’s stand can be found here

Satellite has a growing role to play in helping mobile operators meet the challenges they face bringing high speed, reliable services to their subscribers in remote and rural areas. Advanced satellite capabilities combined with small cell technology enables mobile operators to expand their services in a cost-effective way.

The iDirect SatHaul solution combines the latest in satellite infrastructure with advanced transmission techniques, including mobile specific optimization of signaling, voice and data content to offer the most profitable business case for 2G, 3G and 4G over satellite. If you are interested in meeting anyone from the iDirect team at Mobile World Congress, please send an email to mobile@idirect.net.

One more note: The Small Cell Forum will also be releasing a series of new content about rural connectivity as part of their content release program. Release Five is focused on rural and remote connectivity and will provide a series of papers that discuss many of the different capabilities that small cells can offer in these various challenging environments.

MTN Communications Gets Together With Premier Cruise Brands

From Satnews

MTN Communications (MTN) has announced the expansion of its cruise client base with three additional operators leveraging enhanced services for passenger, crew and corporate communications. MTN provides products, solutions and content to address each line’s unique passenger segment with Internet and calling communications, entertainment and content. The following operators have contracted with MTN:

  • Noble Caledonia specializes in “small ships delivering big experiences.” With the goal of generating lasting memories for like-minded travelers, the operator revolves its itineraries around world events, and focuses on reaching new and unusual destinations in the world’s far-flung corners. With the goal of creating the ultimate onboard ambience, passenger camaraderie, and a warm and friendly atmosphere, Noble Caledonia strives for a personal and caring service touch. This UK-based operator offers itineraries to every continent around the world.
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line, based in Boston, has been creating cultural connections for 50+ years, operating small ship and river cruising worldwide for American travelers. Immersing passengers into other cultures, Grand Circle’s focus is making customers feel comfortable and well-cared-for every step of the way. Grand Circle itineraries cover every continent in the world.
  • Celestyal Cruises, a new brand of Louis Cruises, renewed its contract with MTN, extending a relationship that has spanned more than 12 years. The cruise operator is part of a leading tourism organization hosting travelers from around the world who want to experience the Eastern Mediterranean. Based in Greece, it is the preeminent cruise line for the Greek Isles and Turkey, and operates six ships.

“One size does not fit all in cruising, and each brand needs to deliver a customized and unique communications experience for passengers, as well as reliability and affordability for crew,” said Brent Horwitz, senior vice president and general manager, cruise and ferry services, MTN. “No matter where they sail and no matter what they offer onboard, we concentrate on providing each the most robust and specialized communications solution. These operators are addressing the explosion of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) passengers and crew onboard vessels. Our approach enables them to deliver impressive Internet speeds; the ability to download and upload bandwidth-intensive images, videos and files; access live global TV; and stay in touch with family and friends. These are initiatives to exceed the high expectations of quality service at sea as we welcome these organizations to the MTN family.” Continue >

WTA Names Elara’s Jorge Luis Villarreal Schutz 2015 Teleport Executive of the Year

From World Teleport Association

elaraThe World Teleport Association today announced that Jorge Luis Villarreal Schutz, CEO of Mexican-based Elara Comunicaciones, has been named as its 2015 Teleport Executive of the Year. Mr. Villarreal Schutz will be honored during WTA’s Teleport Awards for Excellence luncheon on March 17 during SATELLITE 2015. The Teleport Executive of the Year award is presented to an individual for demonstrated entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation in the development or operation of a teleport-based business.

A successful entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the satellite industry, Villarreal Schutz is the founder of an outstanding telecommunications company that has transformed satellite connectivity. His company has excelled in ethics, professionalism and commitment, continuously fostering the use of tailor-made satellite solutions through values such as customer service, honesty, teamwork and innovation, allowing him to reach others and generate a positive impact by providing satellite technology in new frontiers.

“The 20th anniversary of the awards has produced a Teleport Executive of the Year from a part of the world which, two decades ago, had not yet made its mark in the industry,” said WTA Director of Development Lou Zacharilla. “Jorge is not only an excellent tactical leader focused on customer service systems and innovation, he also has enabled his company to profitably address the most pressing economic issue in Latin America, the digital divide. Under his leadership, Elara is part of a digital inclusion effort with the government of Mexico that provides coverage to more than 3,000 small villages. His teleport helps make a better world.” Continue >

Satellite 2015: iDirect Speakers Tackle Your Interests

Don’t look now, but Satellite 2015 is a little more than three weeks away. As the premier Satellite-2014-iDirect-Booth-9event for satellite technology, Satellite 2015 promises a highly educational experience covering a range of different topics. But with an agenda that is chock full of informative sessions, it becomes difficult to determine which are the right ones to attend.

As always, iDirect will be well represented throughout this year’s program, covering a wide range of subjects. In order to help guide your personal experience at this year’s show, below is a quick snapshot of where and when you can find iDirect speakers—tailored by your specific interests for VSAT.

Your interest: Small cell, mobile networks
Attend: The Small-Cell Civil and Enterprise Applications in Orbit panel
Monday, 10:30 a.m.
iDirect speaker: Richard Deasington, Director of Business Development
What to expect: How to turn small cells into portable, standalone rapidly deployable mobile networks for site-specific uses. The importance of understanding how small-cell networks can be deployed efficiently over satellite without compromising the level of service expected from a broadband technology.


Your interest: TDMA or SCPC?
Attend: Technological Solutions to Solve the SCPC vs. MF-TDMA Debate session on Monday, 1:30 p.m.
iDirect speaker: Guy Adams, Vice President, Software Engineering
What to expect: Information that addresses the debate between SCPC and MF-TDMA. Help with choosing high-efficiency with dedicated capacity per site; or lower efficiency with on-demand bandwidth allocation and sharing the bandwidth across multiple sites.

Read More

Mobil Satellite Technologies Picks Up + Goes …To Disasters

From Satnews

At the International Disaster Conference and Expo, Mobil Satellite Technologies announced immediate availability of the new ECT-10 Emergency Communications Trailer, providing robust broadband communications at any disaster scene or remote location within just a few minutes.

This mobile emergency communications solution provides Public Safety Agencies and First Responders high-quality broadband services, voice, video, and data, along with site power, scene lighting, surveillance, and much more.

“This is just the latest innovation from Mobil Satellite Technologies,” said D.M. “Bud” Burton, President of Mobil Satellite Technologies, “We are currently developing a complete line of emergency communications trailers up to 20′ to serve the Emergency Management and Disaster Response markets”.

The Mobilsat ECT-10 trailer weighs in at just under 3,500 lbs. and can be towed by any half-l ton pickup truck. Setup is quick and convenient, complte deployment takes less than 10 minutes by a single untrained operator. There are stabilizer jacks for each corner, so uneven terrain is not a challenge. Standard features include a 5 Kw Onan Generator, 15 Gallon fuel tank, 27′ air operated mast, dual PTZ cameras, two full-size equipment racks, and an 8,000 BTU HVAC system. Continue >

Raising the VSAT Opportunity

From VSAT Voice Blog

By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

These days tremendous buzz surrounds the satellite industry. I’m not talking just about allDenis Sutherland of global billionaires looking to launch “micro satellites” in the coming years. Excitement exists in the traditional satellite market as well, with opportunity abundant for those that step forward as leaders.

Market demand is high, next generation satellites are being launched and the talk of satellite going mainstream is as hot as ever. Let’s examine each of these further.

Crunching the Numbers
The demand for connectivity has reached unprecedented new levels. By 2020 it is projected that nearly 4 billion people will be connected to the Internet, according to Cisco. With this influx of users comes three times the global IP traffic than what we have today. That translates to a growth rate in IP traffic of 21%.

Add to this the projected 20 billion devices and 50 billion machines communicating via IP by 2020 and you realize that there is a need to redefine how communication networks are designed and what they need to deliver.

In fact, enterprise markets are already gearing up for acceleration in demand. Here are some eye-opening projections to consider:

  • By 2023 NSR expects that 33% of the 49,855 VSAT-connected vessels at sea will be on HTS.
  • Over the next ten years, we will see an increase in the number of aircraft connected from just over 3,000 aircraft to more than 13,000, says Euroconsult.
  • Ericsson is projecting an additional 2.4 billion mobile subscribers by 2019, many of which will come from emerging markets.
  • Military VSAT services worldwide will reach $10 billion by 2021, says NSR
  • By 2023 10% of connected O&G sites will be for exploration and production, (12% of those sites will utilize HTS capacity), generating 50% of retail revenue and using 77% of bandwidth in the market, says NSR. Continue >

SES + Astra Connect For Communities Take Internet To All The Country’s Nooks + Crannies

From Satnews

SES today announced that its Astra Connect for Communities solution will be used in a U.K. Government-funded Market Test Pilot (MTP) project. These Pilot projects aim to assess which technologies and commercial models are best suited to deliver superfast broadband to the final five percent of households in the U.K. that currently do not have access to high-speed Internet.

SES is working with Satellite Internet, the U.K.-based Internet Service Provider, to deliver its satellite broadband solution to the villages of Simonsbath and Luxborough in south-west England. The villages, each with a population of about 200 residents and located in Exmoor National Park, will benefit from a Satellite Distribution Node (SDN) and a Wi-Fi head-end technology providing homes with Internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps.

Last year SES successfully rolled out several Astra Connect for Communities networks in Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Baden-Wurttemberg states. Another 35 networks are due to be completed by the end of June 2015 in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Satellite Internet was selected for this project by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in June 2014, having applied for funding from Broadband Delivery U.K.’s GBP 10 million Innovation Fund. The provider has worked closely with Connecting Devon and Somerset, a public-private partnership of six local authorities set up to deliver next generation broadband infrastructure to areas where commercial investment plans are absent. Continue >

Signalhorn Makes The Grade For PCI Compliance

From Satnews

Signalhorn has achieved Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification as a global service provider.This advances Signalhorn’s credentials and capabilities in the global card payment industry with the enhanced security. Signalhorn manages PCI DSS compliant services employing an integrated combination of satellite, 3G, DSL, MPLS and Internet-based solutions for more than 6,000 petrol/gas stations and retailers throughout Europe and Africa.

The PCI DSS security standard has been developed by the international card payment industry to provide protection against criminal activities for cardholders and is considered the Gold Standard. Any organization that processes, stores or transmits cardholder data is required to comply with these security standards. To achieve compliance, a service provider must implement strict security measures and go through a comprehensive annual assessment.

Compliance to PCI DSS is mandated by the international card payment industry. It protects clients from credit card fraud, and lowers the risk of fines. Continue >

Maritime VSAT Revolution or Evolution? Back to the Battle of the Bands

By Thomas Bopp, Director, Sales System Engineering, VT iDirect

The maritime satellite communication and shipping industries convened this week in IMG_5078Bergen, Norway for the Digital Ship Conference. Prior to the kickoff of this event was the Marlink VIP Customer Update and Dinner, during which many important discussions unfolded related to advancements in maritime communication and the various ways in which shipping companies can leverage these advancements.

Broadband VSAT has become business-critical for the maritime sector. That being said, the limits of reach, availability and throughput are continuously being pushed further. This ultimately begs the fundamental question for the user:

Will the technological innovations prove disruptive or will they transparently integrate and introduce efficiency gains so that the user experience is enhanced?

This was the topic of my presentation at the Marlink event. In some ways, this particular IMG_5087discussion starts with the debate between bands. Here are a few key takeaways to this debate:

  • Ku-band is now dominating maritime VSAT service delivery with C-band still holding on to its market spot.
  • Ka-band has entered the market with a larger and higher frequency range, and the promise of additional capacity and higher throughput, smaller antennas and the use of more efficient modulation and error codes.
  • Challenges facing Ka-band include the higher susceptibility to rain fade and phase noise and the entry cost of any new technology at the beginning of a product cycle.
  • The satellite industry has responded with well-proven carrier adaptivity, maximizing spectral efficiency and availability, and hub diversity and advanced quality of service (QoS) to protect service-level agreements (SLAs) during fade conditions. Antenna vendors bring to market cost-effective solutions that integrate satellite routers based on the OpenAMIP standard.

The Ka-band vs. Ku-band discussion feels like a déjà vu of the older Ku-band vs. C-band discussion a few years ago. As the dust begins to settle, it becomes clearer that the choice will be less technical and driven more by such factors as market and value. Ultimately, it is safe to say that the frequency ranges will coexist for the foreseeable future. Read More