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.

The way I see it, these are objectives towards an ultimate goal; something that can be considered: The Promise of Yes.

Let me explain. Every customer who expects to pick up any device and perform any function in any region or situation around the globe isn’t interested in the details of how it happens. They simply want to know things like:

  • Can I get immediate coverage, and can I get it everywhere I go?
  • Will your network extend to all my locations and provide a consistent experience?
  • Can you provide me with ease of use?
  • Will I experience simple and complete end-to-end provisioning and billing?
  • What about when I change services? Will the update be simple, quick and seamless?
  • Is the connection secure and scalable?

Yes. As an industry, that’s the response needed for each of these questions—and many others. And each member of the satellite ecosystem has a distinct role to play.

At iDirect we have many roles in fulfilling this expectation. For me, in particular as Chief Operating Officer, my priorities for reaching this ultimate goal run deep. They include leading strategic business development initiatives and guiding iDirect’s overall vision to expand the market for satellite IP connectivity. At the same time, my team and I must ensure we scale operations and improve the user experience in order to better support our partners in their pursuit of different market opportunities.

Collectively I consider this ‘promise of yes’ somewhat of a change in mindset we all must embrace—one where we remain focused on delivering the core objectives, but always keeping that ultimate goal in mind foremost in every decision that we make.

The ultimate payoff will be an experience that includes seamless end-to-end provisioning throughout the entire network, a consistent user experience regardless of the service and the delivery high-value applications. Overall, it’s how we play our part in that true experience of connecting anyone, anytime, anyplace.

I am eager for the panel discussion this week during which the group will certainly cover specifics on the steps we need in order to deliver as an industry. But all the while, let’s keep in mind the underlying promise of “yes” and what that means for the future of how our world connects.

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