Satellite 2015: Opportunity Rises Across Satellite

Satellite-2015-booth-2One of the key themes emerging from Satellite 2015 last week was this: The opportunity for global connectivity is at an all-time high, and satellite is in prime position to capitalize.

There is a great deal of excitement surrounding our industry, with a wave of new entrants coming into the market, an infusion of fresh IT talent and new opportunities emerging in such key markets as enterprise, mobility and government. In all, it speaks to the fact that continued demand for connectivity will lead to expansive opportunity across the entire industry.

Have Your HTS Plans Ready

Anchoring the event was a message from the executives of Intelsat, SES, Telesat, and Eutelsat: It’s time to start putting a high throughput satellite (HTS) plan in place. During the session “Big Four – Crunch Time Approaches,” they spoke of a coming period of acceleration in the market; one that will necessitate HTS plans to be in place sooner rather than later.

In fact, executives from both SES and Intelsat indicated new innovations coming to the FSS satellite market, such as the faster production of satellites and more intelligence through architectures that support “software-defined payloads” providing greater flexibility, lower operational costs and quicker time to market. All in all, the buzz around HTS was as hot as ever at Satellite 2015.

Capacity supply and demand was the topic of NSR’s 4th Annual Breakfast Briefing under the theme: “The Satellite Capacity Bubble: Will it Pop?”

Roughly 51% of respondents to an NSR survey said that they believed that a satellite capacity bubble is indeed forming, and 53% did not believe that additional capacity coming online has sufficient demand on the ground to sustain business.

The impact of HTS supply is still to be determined but in this case past precedence is not dictating future supply. While much uncertainty related to HTS remains, all signs point to this being the year that it will all start to gain traction on the ground.

New Entrants

Furthering the discussion of supply is the projection of roughly 25 Tbps of satellite capacity filling the sky from new LEO entrants like OneWeb and LeoSat. Likewise, the launch industry is in the spotlight as well, with companies like SpaceX, Virgin and others championing the idea of lowering launch costs – a great overall move for the industry!

Such developments generated substantial buzz, prompting the question: Will it all present more threat or opportunity to the existing market?

Panelists during the “Who Prevails in a Potential HTS Ecosystem War,” including OneWeb, O3B, ViaSat, Leosat, Intelsat, Airbus and Newtec, agreed that signs point toward opportunity.

The panelists emphasized that a lot of interesting developments are taking place in the technology that is being deployed on satellites in general, from flexible software defined payloads, to lighter or smaller materials, to energy efficient propulsion systems. They all agree that successful service still comes down to bandwidth, price and user experience in the markets or segments that they target.

For iDirect, we believe that as new satellites are launched and greater capacity hits the sky, satellite will become a bigger part of the broader connectivity discussion. These services can make satellite a competitive, or at least complementary solution to many terrestrial solutions. Higher speed, lower latency and advanced technologies will enable new applications and enhance those that already leverage the value of satellite.

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