By Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect Europe
A good friend of mine is an artist and has a passion for science fiction. He’s produced some incredible artwork based on franchises such as Star Wars, Terminator, Firefly and Alien. A recent piece features the Aliens Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) that takes pride of place over my desk at work. It was while looking at this piece recently that I started to realise that we’re not that far away from this sci-fi vehicle becoming reality.
In the film, an all-connected squad of colonial marines are kept informed of what’s coming their way with a range of sensors and live communications links. The APC then acts as a mobile HQ, linking the marines to their mothership and chain of command. We’re starting to see this now on the modern battlefield, with APCs not only delivering troops, but then acting as ad-hoc mobile command centres.
Reading through the latest AFCEA journal, gives the reader a good sense of how technology now dominates the battlefield. So much of this technology relies on connectivity; much of it is autonomous, but most of it is bandwidth-hungry with sensors, cameras, tracking devices, etc. Soldiers and Marines on the ground are now more connected than ever with sensors and biometric collection devices commonplace. The devices are becoming ever more sophisticated and more autonomous, with a strong trend towards pushing more data back to central command points.
At the forward edge of battle most of this connectivity still uses short-range technology, such as Wave Relay, but it then needs to be collated and relayed back to a central point, normally over satellite. As the number of users increase and the throughput demands become more intensive, there is a drive towards higher throughput satellites. This central point could be an APC, as in the film, but also could be a static VSAT in a Forward Operating Base (FOB), or an aircraft: either manned, or an unmanned aerial system (UAS). Read More
By Nikola Kromer, Senior Director Product Marketing, iDirect
Earlier this week, NSR’s Claude Rousseau authored a great piece for the iDirect blog that sized up the market for satellite-based connections aboard commercial aircrafts over the next decade. He anticipates that this market will reach $3.9 billion by 2024, with roughly $2.1 billion for in-flight connectivity. And as he points out, there is still ‘leg room’ to grow.
On that note, let’s hone in on growth for higher bandwidth applications in particular. Consider the fact that today about 47,500 in-service satcom units in aero are supporting low data rate applications. As high-throughput satellites (HTS) fulfill the demand for higher bandwidth, we can look to a range of uses for VSAT aboard commercial aircraft going forward.
The Connected Aircraft
Today, nearly every major airline is rolling out or planning to deploy in-flight connectivity. For passengers, this means video streaming, voice connections and Wi-Fi. For the airline, it means a range of operational efficiencies, including:
- Optimizing crew utilization
- Improving on-time performance and charting
- Measurement of key data such as speed and fuel consumption
More and more, the airline industry is embracing VSAT to support all such capabilities. With VSAT, airlines are able to offer higher data rates, with continual coverage for both domestic and international routes. And the advent of HTS is dramatically improving capacity economics, which addresses the traditional challenge of higher operational expenses based on the cost of satellite bandwidth. Read More
Claude Rousseau, Research Director, NSR
The growth in the market for in-flight connectivity (IFC) is driven in no small part by passengers boarding aircrafts with their own personal electronics devices (PEDs). Whether they are using them for entertainment, work or to update social media, an increasing number of PEDs require connectivity. All of this is leading to an increased usage of satellite-based communication to and from an aircraft.
NSR’s Aeronautical Satcom Markets, 3rd Edition report found that having access to data and Wi-Fi services in the air is no longer seen as a luxury, but as a necessity for many passengers who use their time onboard to stay connected with those on the ground. This in-turn feeds airlines’ installation on wide-body and narrow-body airplanes of satellite antennas that offer increasingly higher bandwidth to serve a demanding set of passengers.
As a result, the NSR forecast for satellite-based commercial aircraft connectivity is set to grow to $3.9 billion by 2024, of which about $2.1 billion will be for in-flight connectivity, reinforced by a clear trend towards higher bandwidth demand being delivered by high-throughput satellites (HTS). NSR has also noted that many service providers in the IFC market understand this trend and all the major players such as Panasonic, GEE, GoGo and SITA OnAir have HTS capacity deals to meet this rising demand from passengers.
And there is still a lot of ‘leg room’ to grow for satellite-based services aboard aircrafts if we consider that of the more than 100,000 aircrafts that could be outfitted with a satcom solution, only about 47,500 in-service satcom units are deployed but mainly to support low data rate applications. Most of these units are in smaller airplanes and used for voice and basic data communications. Read More
By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect
Trade show panels always make for lively market discussions. So when I was asked to join “What’s New in Maritime Satellite Communications: A look at the Coming Advancements in Technology” at the Nor-Shipping event in Oslo this past week, I jumped aboard—no pun intended.
The hot topic of the panel, hosted by Gottlieb International and sponsored by Speedcast, was High Throughput Satellites (HTS). More specifically, how to prepare service providers for delivering high-speed services to the maritime market. You can find my presentation from the panel here.
For those who aren’t quite convinced that maritime is a growing market for high-speed voice and data services, take a look at what the experts have been saying lately:
- NSR hones in on significant growth projections in its latest Satcom Markets Report, indicating capacity (both HTS and FSS) driving annual revenues past the $5 billion market by 2024.
- According to the COMSYS Maritime market report, we’re entering a new phase of growth and the defining factors include rising end user adoption and service diversification.
I believe that the advent of HTS has huge implications for the shipping industry. Here’s a taste of what that demand in which COMSYS is describing looks like today:
- VSAT broadband networks are providing higher bandwidth applications to improve operations, productivity and crew welfare. Applications like route planning, engine diagnostics and weather applications are in high demand.
- When it comes to cruise, passengers want to stay connected using their personal wireless devices for social media, video and mobile calling services.
And all such opportunities are indeed real. Speaking on the panel, Simon Gatty-Saunt from SES gave a glimpse into some of the exciting HTS plans for the company. This involves three satellites planned for launch in 2017. Read More
The Small Cells World Summit kicks off next week in London, and with it comes a focus on the solutions that help mobile operators deliver the best quality user experience in the most cost-efficient manner. In the case of satellite technology, when combined with small cells, it can help shift the cost dynamics and deployment methodology for connecting remote and rural areas.
iDirect remains at the center of such discussions. Visit booth 81 where our product experts will introduce you to iDirect SatHaul. This TDMA-based solution provides an efficient satellite transport for small cells using traditional broad beam or High Throughput Satellites, along with advanced optimization capabilities that reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for voice or data.
When you package it all together, what you get is an efficient satellite backhaul solution that helps operators expand voice and data services into rural and remote regions more reliably and cost effectively than ever before. Read More
By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect
The advent of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology means that the VSAT industry is poised to enter a new era of innovation and possibility. Challenges associated with quality, reliability and cost have been addressed, positioning satellite communication for exponential growth and mass adoption.
At the most fundamental level, HTS represents a major advance in satellite architecture design.
Compared with a traditional broad-beam satellite, HTS can be defined by three primary characteristics, as depicted in the diagram below:
The use of multiple spot beams changes where infrastructure must be located and how it will be deployed and managed. With an HTS feeder link design, an operator can no longer place hubs anywhere under a beam. Instead, the entire hub infrastructure must be located within a feeder link managed by a single network operator. Read More
We are one week away from CommunicAsia 2015, one of the biggest events for communications in Asia Pacific. This is a region that, according to NSR, could become the largest two-way broadband VSAT market worldwide in the next decade.
Be sure to see iDirect at this year’s event. We will be in booth IP3-01, showcasing how our products are helping satellite operators and service providers meet market demands across Asia-Pacific.
Here is a closer look at how some of the biggest trends in the Asia-Pacific region intersect with the technology you can expect to see from iDirect at CommunicAsia 2015.
The Trend: According to NSR, in the next 10 years Asia Pacific will experience a spike in installed base growth due to the impending influx of new High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity. Much of this increase in capacity is driven by new technologies or services that will provide more capacity at lower cost.
The Solution: iDirect’s Evolution® Product Portfolio
Today, more than 350 satellite service providers are leveraging Evolution. The product line consists of a universal hub and network management system, a series of line cards, operating software and a portfolio of remotes to provide investment protection with the flexibility to upgrade to higher capabilities in the future. Read More
VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that iDirect Asia Pte Ltd partnered with ST Teleport Pte Ltd (ST Teleport), a Singapore-based full-service satellite and fiber communications solutions provider, has launched a unique and advanced vessel-location tracking and network-monitoring platform to help maritime customers achieve greater operational and cost control, and improve customer satisfaction. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.
Marketed as Nautical, the platform is a proprietary solution built by ST Teleport using iDirect’s award-winning Network Management System, SatManage, which features a comprehensive suite of web-based tools that enable automation, monitoring and integration of hybrid satellite networks and Network Operating Center (NOC)-based applications from single or multiple locations.
As a unique service offering, Nautical is fully customizable and offered as a standalone or “white label” solution to customers. Its interface provides an in-depth view of real-time and historical VSAT performance statistics, “live” tracking of vessels and timely automated generation of detailed network utilization management reports. The platform’s compatibility with popular mobile devices means customers can access vital network information anywhere and anytime. There is no further hardware investment required for customers that are already using iDirect VSAT terminals. Read More