Author Archives: Denis Sutherland

Anybody Fancy a Mashup?

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

You may be wondering what a Mashup is and how it impacts you. Here is a simple explanation from Wikipedia: More Web applications have published Application Programming Interfaces (API) that enable software developers to easily integrate data and functions instead of building them by themselves.

Mashups and APIs can be considered to have an active role in the evolution of social software and are both part of the Web 2 .0 revolution. The composition tools are usually simple enough to be used by end-users. They generally do not require programming skills and rather support visual wiring of GUI widgets, services and components together. Therefore, these tools contribute to a new vision of the Web, where users are able to contribute. As you can see from this article, APIs are here to stay. Read More

A Bird’s Eye View with the Click of a Button

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Let’s say you want to respond quickly to a customer who has an outage. You might have these questions: What support contract is the customer on? What Service Level Agreement (SLA) is provided? Does the customer have credit and/or service issues? Where are the contact details? How about a previous history?

You know you have all of this information…somewhere.

But how do you utilize it to your best advantage?

To answer these questions you may need to reference more than just SatManage, as the data most likely resides in different systems. Your operation team would react quicker if there were automated workflows and integration between internal and external IT systems.

Well, the great news is that in SatManage 5.2, iDirect has released a Web Services Application Programming Interface (API) into the system. This makes it easier than ever to make an API work for you. Read More

Offering Service Level Agreements while using DVB-S2

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

SatManage Reports will help you offer premium SLA services

When iDirect designed and developed its DVB-S2 and Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) technology, we wanted to give Service Providers the choice of a best-effort service or to offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs). We succeeded with that, but I continue to hear Service Providers say that while they love the extra IP throughput that ACM offers, they often can’t monetize this for enterprise customers because they need to guarantee capacity over time to meet SLAs.

iDirect’s DVB-S2 with ACM is a more bandwidth-efficient technology for networks with larger outbound capacity requirements. The MODCOD changes as the RF link changes, meaning the IP throughput is variable. This allows each remote to operate at its most efficient scheme depending on location and conditions.

See what OmniAccess has done, first to expand their service globally and secondly to launch a new service with these technologies, along with Marlink, who was among the first in the industry to utilize DVB-S2 with ACM technology on regional, multi-regional and global maritime C-band.

We have found some customers are using ACM and offering SLAs, along with seeing gains of 50% more IP throughput…how do they do it?

The answer is that iDirect also provide Rain Fade Insurance, read on to learn more! Read More

Part II: Using Multiple Service Plans To Help Make Your Business More Profitable

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

In my last blog I detailed how offering different service tiers can make your business more appealing to customers. To continue with that thought, you can see the Diagram below from SM5.2: It shows some statistics over couple of days for one bandwidth group. The requested, allocated, and free bandwidth is shown in one chart allowing for network analysis and thus optimization.

You will see in this case the Black line indicates the free capacity available in the system, and the green the free bandwidth, measured in Kbps IP. Therefore, with some analysis we can see in this network there are periods of this when this bandwidth group is running short of capacity.

This Group could be a number of remotes, and represent one customer, so maybe you should approach them and ask if they would like to upgrade their bandwidth allocation?

Part II: Using Multiple Service Plans To Help Make Your Business More Profitable

SatManage and GQoS working together can enhance the acquisition, manipulation and presentation of key network performance indicators. This allows the network to be fine-tuned to allow key customers to always get their CIR, but also excess bandwidth is removed after having a better understanding of how the network is performing over time.
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Multiple Service Plans Can Help Make Your Business More Profitable

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Can Service Providers be more profitable by offering a number of service offerings to customers? Or does that make your operations and network less efficient?

A study finds that three to four tiers of service would be all that it would take to create better options for consumers and near-optimal profits for providers. 

But how is that achieved in a VSAT network?

You certainly need the infrastructure in place to allow the segregation of groups of customers to take place, and you will also need to report on the different customers groups in your NOC and your Service Level Agreement (SLA) reports, and thus the business velocity to which you respond to such groups.

Or maybe you want to allocate bandwidth to specific applications, to prioritize specific applications and ensure some apps don’t consume the network. This is becoming more and more important to service providers:

I have talked a lot about SLA reporting, and how to provide proactive support, but some iDirect features help you build a network that support high-end SLAs, and thus attract high-value customers. In this blog we will look at Group Quality of Service (GQoS), and within the series we’ll look at DVB-S2/ ACM, and the tight link between them that allows them to work together for maximum benefit! It’s even better now that they are available in SatManage!
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SatManage 5.2: Move from a Reactive to Proactive Support Model

Denis Sutherland By Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Over the last year I’ve posted a lot of blog articles about SatManage and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and I have had many discussions about SLAs with Service Providers and their end customers: it seems more and more SLAs are being utilized. Why? VSAT is used more frequently to support business-critical applications.  One example of this is in the maritime vertical where VSAT originally would be used to deliver crew welfare services, Internet, and telephone, but now is used for a range of business applications.  The shipping industry is even asking for SLAs … at a recent GVF event, a shipping captain had quite a lot to say:

“Kuba Szymanski of Intermanager wrapped up the conference with a very feisty presentation, hurling questions about the shipping industry to participants to demonstrate that the service providers didn’t know enough about the market they were selling into and complaining that VSATs had been sold on the basis of being as reliable as L-Band, but without providing any Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to support this.  Orange Business Services is one company that has already responded to this complaint and is offering a 99.95% end-to-end SLA for its system to the maritime industry.  However, as would be expected, this is a high-end solution and is likely to be out of range of many of the ship operators.”
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IT Automation with SatManage

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Systems Engineering Manager, iDirect

IT automation enables you to relieve humans of monotonous, even dangerous tasks, reduce costs and errors. A big challenge that network operators face is dealing with day-to-day operations, which can include unforeseen emergencies. Instead of spending the better part of your day responding to these unanticipated events, why not look instead to an automated network management system?

An automated system can enable your business and your customers’ systems to run smoother. You can anticipate outages and upgrades, improve response time, reduce errors, and allow your staff to work on other projects while the network runs itself. This technology is not new, but many network managers are turning to IT automation to create a more efficient and cost-effective environment.

SatManage, SLAs, and Automated NMS

As networks become more complex, they can become costly to manage and upkeep, not to mention the amount of man hours involved. With Service Level Agreements (SLA) becoming more stringent, you may find yourself with less time to react to any issues. IT Automation can ensure a timely response before a huge problem may arise, and is a way for you to assure your customers that you have the ability to keep their networks running with little or no downtime.

Our automated Network Management System (NMS), run via SatManage, a suite of web-based software tools for the automation, monitoring and integration of hybrid networks and NOC-based applications, can help you.
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What is Data Visualization?

Denis SutherlandDealing with the Data Deluge
By Denis Sutherland

As everybody in the Satellite industry knows it’s not the signal that’s important, but the signal-to-noise ratio. But surprisingly this also applies to digital data storage as well as to analog transmission of waveforms.

The difference is the source of the “noise,” in a data storage environment noise is irrelevant data.   A small amount of noise may come from “natural” sources such as mistakes in data transmission and storage devices, which are still analog at their core.  But the vast majority of noise in databases is valid but useful or routine information. These include warnings, events, and routine messages…this is the data deluge.
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GVF – Broadband Maritime Europe 2011

Satellite service providers supporting the maritime connectivity market gathered June 28th & 29th in London for the GVF Broadband Maritime Europe 2011 Conference. The conference was focused on current communications trends within the maritime market and the applications that are driving connectivity. 

iDirect participated in the conference by presenting on two different topics that were relevant to the audience. On the first day of the event Denis Sutherland and Roger Adamson from Stark Moore MacMillan, presented the findings of a market research study that iDirect commissioned to provide insight into the implementation, understanding and usage of VSAT technology within the maritime shipping industry. We have provided a summary of the results in a whitepaper that is posted on the iDirect website. 

On the second day Denis presented an overview of the latest updates and enhancements to SatManage and how this tool provides insights to maritime end customers by enabling service providers to provide real time network reports and information about every vessel in the network through the use of customer portals. SatManage collects and displays detailed data from all VSAT terminals enabling service providers to offer detailed service level agreements to their maritime customers. 

Overall the conference provided a good forum for increased discussion on the future of maritime communications and the increased adoption and requirements for data connectivity on board vessels.

Customer Portals

Denis SutherlandOffer your customers drill-down access to what’s important
By Denis Sutherland

The Customer Portal within iDirect’s SatManage product focuses on what matters most – ensuring superior customer service and a user-friendly application that gives you all the information needed in a single location.

iDirect’s SatManage software tools can be used to deliver information to internal or external user groups. This means that the NOC staff could have different dashboards than the engineering team, or if the CEO wants a simplified summary of the network activity, it can be provided, too. 

Are you worried what your customer would do with all this technical information on your network?

You can set up a portal and not all of your customers need to have the same information.  Top customers could have a myriad of tools and metrics, while other customers may be restricted by the number of sites they can analyze at one time, for example:

  • Your Gold customer could have Google earth and be able to see weather, EIRP foot prints at any one time
  • Your Bronze customer maybe only have the 2D Google Maps and only see one remote at any one time  

Thus, you can differentiate your service offerings with your customer portal.
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