Northern Canada is a growing market for satellite communications. Across several vertical markets, operations require a reliable communications infrastructure that can cover the area’s vast landmass and withstand challenging terrain.
Satellite communications industry analysts also project the emerging growth in Northern Canada as the government and businesses continue to drive communications north to spur natural resource development and strengthen rural societies and economies.
This year, iDirect moved its Canadian head office to Ottawa. The new Ottawa facility will support a growing team of sales, operations, engineering and technical research, and development functions in the area to improve its commitment to the Canadian satellite communications market.
We sat down with iDirect’s Vice President of Sales – Americas, Rob Kilroy, to discuss where he sees the top market opportunities in Canada and what is driving demand in these areas.
- Oil and Gas – In Canada, most oil and gas operations, such as land-based drilling and pipelines, are in the northern area. As companies expand their operations further north to find the next oil deposit, terrestrial networks have a difficult time connecting to these sites. Oil and gas companies are able to leverage satellite networks in these remote areas to run applications like pipeline monitoring and data transfer. Satellite can also support broadband applications like video to monitor drilling equipment as well as voice, data and Internet to improve basic connectivity needs for crewmembers.
- Mining – Northern Canada is rich in natural resources like nickel and uranium. And a lot of research has been devoted to find new areas for mining. Satellite can help bridge communications between mining camps and headquarters by supporting applications such as data transmission and video to help determine new, untapped mining sites. Satellite can also improve employee moral enabling them to access voice, data, video and Internet applications to connect with family members and stream video while in the mines.
- Government Initiatives in Education and Healthcare – Territories and remote villages in Northern Canada lack a foundational communications network to access basic requirements. These needs include voice communications, Internet access, media (TV), medical services and technology to use in classrooms. Government-funded projects can use satellite communications to help deliver these resources such as supporting video conferencing between a hospital and a remote village to transmit x-ray images and give a quick initial diagnosis. Or support Internet access and video streaming in schools.
- Disaster Recovery – Unpredictable weather conditions can obstruct terrestrial networks and leave remote villages in northern Canada in the dark. A national focus is geared to bring accessible communications in these areas for emergency situations. Relief teams can utilize satellite communications to support voice, data and Internet access to keep families connected with one another and act as a back-up system when terrestrial networks fail.
Overall, expanding iDirect’s operations into Canada is a strategic and timely move. The iDirect platform is already widely deployed in markets such as oil and gas, mining and government and defense. With this new office, iDirect’s local partners in northern Canada can be better served and innovative technology can be developed to address the growing need for reliable connectivity. The iDirect team is excited about the tremendous growth emerging in this region and what new opportunities they can capture with their partners.