Volume III, No. XI November 2018
Table of Contents
Industry Trends and Analysis: (pg. 3)
Patee Sarasin, former CEO of Nok Air:
"Unlocking the Riches of In-flight Wi-Fi" (pg. 4)
David Bruner, former V.P. Panasonic Avionics:
"Buckle Up! :Turbulence Ahead in Airline Connectivity Markets"
"The Promise of the New Iridium and Aireon Services: Big Advancements in Air Traffic Management on the Horizon" (pg. 26)
Ernst Peter Hovinga, CEO Hiber: "Disrupting the Satellite IoT Connectivity Market: The Promise of Hiber" (p.31)
"Upcoming and Recommended Satellite Mobility Events"
Independent Analysis and Commentary on Maritime, Aero and Land-based Satellite Technologies
In This Issue...
"Besieged by Doubt and CEO Turnover, Can OneWeb Survive?
"Building Carnival's New, Just-Like-Home, Internet Service"
With Carnival's V.P. of Global Connectivity, Reza Rasoulian "Breakthrough Solution for Big Data Transfer via CubeSats"
An Interview with Kepler Communications CEO, Mina Mitry
"Tom Choi's New Road for the "Last Mile"
A look at Curvalux, a New Backbone and Access Technology
More NewSpace Inside!
Satellite mobility World
Table of Contents...
Industry Trends and Analysis (pg.3)
"Besieged by Doubt and CEO Turnover, Can OneWeb Survive?" (pg.5)
"Building Carnival's New, Just-Like-Home, Internet Service
With Carnival's V.P. of Global Connectivity, Reza Rasoulian (pg. 10)
"Breakthrough Solution for Big Data Transfer via CubeSats"
An Interview with Kepler Communications CEO, Mina Mitry" (pg.21)
" Tom Choi's New Road for the "Last Mile"
A look at Curvalux, a New Backbone and Access Technology (pg. 34)
Recommended Upcoming Industry Events (pg. 44)
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Welcome to the November 2018 issue of Gottlieb's Satellite Mobility World. Our November issue features interviews with Carnival's V.P. of Technology Reza Rasoulain; Kepler Communications CEO, Mina Mitry, and well known Satellite industry CEO and entrepreneur, Tom Choi.
In our technology focused November issue, we'll learn how Carnival has advanced Internet connectivity aboard cruise vessels to rival the "in-home" experience, how Kepler has revolutionized the transport of delay tolerant data using inexpensive nano satellites, and about Tom Choi's incredibly clever wireless access and backbone solution to "last mile" data transport. We'll also continue our coverage of the turmoil at OneWeb highlighted by the departure of Eric Beranger after his very brief demotion to President and COO.
Gottlieb's Satellite and Mobility World is published monthly (except August) by Gottlieb International Group., Inc. Suite 100, 1209 South Frederick Street, Arlington, VA USA 22204
© Copyright 2018
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Gottlieb's Satellite and Mobility World is published monthly (except August) by Gottlieb International Group., Inc. Suite 100, 1209 South Frederick Street, Arlington, VA USA 22204
© Copyright 2018
Interested in our unique Promotional Capabilities?
Contact us today!
SATELLITE MOBILITY WORLD
Industry Trends and Analysis
Kymeta Announces Transition of CEO Nathan Kundtz
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kymeta—the communications company making good on the promise of global mobile connectivity—today announced that Chief Executive Officer Dr. Nathan Kundtz will leave his current role with Kymeta next month and will continue in an advisory role to the company going forward. Marc Stolzman, Kymeta’s President and Chief Financial Officer, will guide the company’s day-to-day operations in the interim while the Kymeta Board of Directors conducts a global search for the next Kymeta chief executive officer.
“Nathan is a pioneer whose technical contributions have set a foundation for our company and the industry,” said Kymeta Chairman, Rodi Guidero. “We are pleased Nathan will continue to be a valued technical advisor and we’re looking forward to bringing on additional talent and leadership to launch the next stage of Kymeta.”
“I believe in Kymeta and I am proud of where we are today,” said Dr. Kundtz. “We have taken an incredible idea and turned it into a viable, commercially available product that will play a critical role in providing connectivity to every corner of the earth. That is an amazing accomplishment. Kymeta is now in a true stage of commercial operations, and I share the belief of the full Kymeta Board that our company now needs the leadership experience of someone with a track record of driving significant commercial growth.”
Kymeta recently closed a sizeable financing round while also significantly growing its network of global partners. The company continues to be well supported by its investors and has a strong foundation for continued growth and long-term success.
Iridium Announces Launch Date for Final Mission
McLean, VA - October 19, 2018: Iridium Communications announced it plans to launch its eight and final mission on December 30th from Vandenberg Airforce Base in California. This launch marks the end of an incredibly successful series of launches that have placed Iridium NEXT's advanced communications in orbit and catapulted the company into the technological lead in L-Band services. Inmarsat's new Certus service, based on the NEXT platform, will soon be available to maritime, aviation and land customers offering advanced speeds, full global connectivity, the low latency associated with a low orbit LEO constellation, a low cost, no-moving-parts antenna and for vessels , GMDSS services - all at what we are told will be very competitive price point. The introduction of Iridium's new competitive service marks an end to what has been Inmarsat's near-monopoly of the L-Band market and is a great victory for Iridium.
Phasor announces appointment of Michael Warren to Senior Vice President, Operations
Washington, DC & London, UK, 18 October, 2018: Phasor announces the appointment of highly experienced electronics and ASIC executive, Michael Warren, to Senior Vice President, Operations. Warren will lead the development and execution of Phasor’s global supply chain and outsourced manufacturing strategy and will assume overall responsibility for terminal integration partnerships, including final assembly and testing of Phasor’s products.
With nearly 30 years’ successful experience in fabless semiconductor process, PCB assembly and product manufacturing operations, Warren has held several senior positions in organisations ranging from start-ups through to large multi-nationals, managing multi-functional, multi-site, international supply chain teams. His most recent role was Vice President Operations at Frontier Smart Technologies, a fabless semiconductor and systems integrator company, where he oversaw all operational activities and relationships with suppliers.
“Mike is an invaluable addition to the Phasor team, bringing with him a wealth of experience and knowledge,” said David Helfgott, CEO, Phasor. “As we look forward to entering the commercial growth phase of our company’s development, Mike will enable us to ramp up production and to build a strong, lean operations team to support Phasor’s future expansion.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Phasor at such an exciting point in the company’s history,” said Warren. “I look forward to working in such an innovative environment and to utilizing my industry experience to enable the company to reach its commercial and production goals.”
Telesat’s New Telstar 18 VANTAGE Satellite Now Operational Over Asia Pacific
Ottawa, Canada, October 31, 2018 – Telesat announced today that its new Telstar 18 VANTAGE high throughput satellite (HTS) is fully operational at 138 degrees East and has entered commercial service. Telstar 18 VANTAGE was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on September 10 and will serve growing demand for mobility, enterprise and telecom services across the Asia Pacific region.
Built by SSL, a Maxar Technologies company, Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the latest in a new generation of Telesat satellites with capacity optimized to serve the types of bandwidth intensive applications increasingly in demand by users worldwide. It replaces and expands on Telesat’s Telstar 18 satellite through extensive C-band capacity over Asia, Ku-band HTS spot beams over Indonesia and Malaysia, and five additional regional Ku-band beams.
The coverage of Telstar 18 VANTAGE reaches across Asia all the way to Hawaii – in both C and Ku-band – enabling direct connectivity between any point in Asia and the Americas. Its innovative Ku-band payloads of HTS spot beams and focused regional beams provide customers operating in Southeast Asia, Mongolia, Australia & New Zealand, and the North Pacific Ocean with greater choice and flexibility in deploying high performing broadband networks.
“Telstar 18 VANTAGE is a state-of-the-art spacecraft that combines regional beams and high throughput spot beams to deliver superior performance and value to our growing base of Asian customers,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “The market’s favorable response to Telesat’s Telstar VANTAGE satellites confirms that their innovative payloads provide important advantages to our customers. With the start of Telstar 18 VANTAGE service, we are pleased to be bringing these capabilities to the Asia Pacific region.”
FDS Avionics and Smartsky Networks Combine Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Solution at NBAA 2018
FDS and SmartSky to showcase integrated in-flight entertainment & connectivity
Orlando – October 17, 2018 – With more business jet passengers demanding a premium travel experience in the sky, FDS Avionics has integrated its best-in-class inflight entertainment system with the industry’s only next generation air-to-ground connectivity service, SmartSky 4G LTE, creating a new Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity option.
FDS CEO Reed Macdonald says, “This collaboration between FDS and SmartSky brings together two of the most exciting products in aviation. This pre-integrated solution will give our customers the fastest internet, the best inflight entertainment, and the most immersive moving map technology available on the market.”
FDS has been delivering the doCAPSULE™, a streaming media and moving map platform, for over two years. This multi-media platform provides business aviation with unparalleled access to licensed Hollywood content and an extremely immersive 2D and 3D moving map experience. Combining this solution with SmartSky’s state-of-the-art 4G LTE-based inflight connectivity will provide an exceptionally robust passenger experience for a wide range of business aircraft.
“SmartSky has long touted the benefits of its open architecture, where operators retain flexibility to choose the elements they want from the providers they want, rather than a vendor-locked, all-or-nothing approach,” says SmartSky Networks President Ryan Stone. “This week we are showing customers how they can use their own devices to both stream over our 4G LTE Network and also get the benefits of the excellent FDS inflight entertainment solution.”
The two technologies have been pre-integrated together to create a powerful inflight environment. Contact an FDS Avionics or SmartSky Networks sales representative to learn more about how this full Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFEC) solution changes the passenger experience.
ThinKom Successfully Demonstrates First Aero Terminal Connectivity with SES’ O3b MEO Satellites
HAWTHORNE, Calif. – September 25, 2018 – ThinKom Solutions, Inc. today announced the successful completion of the first ground test of its ThinAir® Ka2517 Ka‐band phased‐array satellite antenna with the SES’ O3b constellation of medium‐Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.
The test was conducted in August 2018 at ThinKom’s facility in Hawthorne, California, in collaboration with SES Networks.
For the ground test, a vehicle‐mounted ThinKom Ka2517 aeronautical antenna acquired successive O3b MEO satellites at 13‐degree elevation and successfully tracked them for 30‐minute periods while the satellites traversed from west to east.
ThinKom said this test is a precursor to a flight test, expected to take place before the end of 2018. This will be the first in-flight demonstration of a ThinKom antenna communicating through a non-geostationary (NGSO) constellation and will demonstrate the ability of ThinKom’s phased-array antenna to auto-track and perform seamless beam switching through aircraft roll, pitch, and yaw motions.
O3b is the first NGSO satellite constellation capable of delivering commercial broadband communication services. The constellation orbits the Earth at about 8,000 km altitude, along an equatorial path, allowing much larger visible Earth angles than low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellations currently being evaluated.
“ThinKom’s unique patented low-profile phased-array antennas have been designed for interoperability on geostationary (GEO) and MEO satellites with the agility and switching speed to move seamlessly from beam-to-beam and constellation-to-constellation. Agility tests have proven that our antenna achieves switching speeds of less than one second, more than fast enough to support beam switching with no interruption in connectivity,” said Bill Milroy, ThinKom Chief Technology Officer.
“The ground test, and the coming aero tests, are important steps in showing the ability of the ThinKom antenna to operate on the O3b MEO satellite network, and will pave the way to full commercialization,” said Milroy.
“Innovation in terminal technology is key for scaling SES Networks’ proven MEO system for mass connectivity. We’re delighted to collaborate with ThinKom and to continue growing a partner ecosystem that will redefine the standard for our industry,” said Stewart Sanders, Executive Vice President of Technology at SES Networks. “This development aligns with our aim to make it faster, easier and more affordable to expand service reach to our customers and their end users.”
Gogo DASH Gives Visibility into Onboard Connectivity Systems for an Improved Customer Experience
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Oct. 9, 2018 – Connectivity is often the biggest influencer on passenger satisfaction today. Passengers on business aircraft expect reliable, seamless connectivity, but they also want visibility into the performance of the connectivity systems on board their aircraft.
To help provide greater insight and better diagnostic tools, Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO) is introducing Gogo DASH, a powerful new toolkit that gives operators and pilots visibility into the Gogo network and the connectivity systems they have installed on their aircraft. Gogo DASH is comprised of the DASH mobile app and DASH portal and provides information for a single aircraft or an entire fleet.
“Before Gogo DASH, a director of maintenance, who is the person responsible for the smooth running of the aircraft systems, would be the last person to know if there was an issue with the system onboard one of their aircraft,” said Dave Glenn, vice president of customer support for Gogo Business Aviation. “Now, with DASH, he or she is the first person to know, which enables them to be a lot more proactive, and that’s critical. It also enables us to get support to them much faster to get their systems back on track when needed.”
Gogo DASH is available to customers with Gogo AVANCE or any other Gogo ATG (air-to-ground) system, and the mobile app and portal feature an easy-to-use, intuitive interface.
The Gogo DASH mobile app gives airborne personnel instant visibility into their Gogo systems during flight, and gives them key information to help diagnose and resolve an issue when working with their ground operations teams or Gogo customer support. Via a touch of a button on their mobile device, users can check network availability, system health status, and see which Gogo services (like Gogo Vision or Gogo Text & Talk) they have onboard.
The Gogo DASH portal arms flight departments and technical teams on the ground, anywhere in the world, with operational insight and visibility into the Gogo networks, devices, and systems they have installed on their aircraft. It will be available to customers beginning Oct. 16, 2018. Gogo DASH insights help these teams ensure the best possible passenger experience while providing the critical information needed to speed diagnostics and issue resolution – either during a flight or post-flight.
The DASH portal is web-based, device agnostic and provides a rich toolkit, giving ground personnel information about system and network status, and even lets them see how much data is being used in aggregate and by device type on the aircraft.
As users leverage DASH over time, aggregated information will be gathered providing valuable insight into trends that will allow Gogo to improve performance across its network.
While DASH is optimized for the Gogo AVANCE software-centric platform, it is built to support all other ATG systems as well. The AVANCE software-centric design makes continuous innovation possible, so anyone flying with an AVANCE system today can expect Gogo DASH, and other Gogo services, to grow more powerful over time.
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After a fourth shuffle in its CEO suite, lack of ECA funding commitments, an unclear target market and rumors of what appear to be rapidly rapidly escalating costs, Greg Wyler's vision of providing global connectivity is facing ever escalating barriers. With Eric Beranger gone after 3 weeks as president and COO and Adrian Steckle in charge, it's apparent that the venture is struggling to find its footing and its financing.
It's been nearly two years since OneWeb announced its intention to secure ECA funding and with a typical BPI France funding cycle under 12 months, a guarantee may be in doubt, especially given BPI's recent comments questioning the amount of the venture's French content - not surprising considering OneWeb's satellite factory is in Florida.
ECA Funding needs to come soon and if it doesn't come from BPI, who has a vested, political interest in supporting Airbus' ventures, who will fund it?
As the obstacles to the venture's success mount up and with the initial investment commitment likely to have been subject to milestones, including obtaining ECA funding guarantees, we think Softbank may be getting nervous. Without BPI's guarantee or another ECA guarantee of substantial size, SoftBank and its partners will need to come up with a lot more cash and, in that case, may choose to cut their losses.
Further exacerbating the situation is the Japanese government recent pressure on mobile carriers to significantly cut their fees by as much as 40%.
This week, on November 2nd, NTT Docomo, Japan's biggest carrier, responded to government pressure by drastically cutting its fees, and Softbank will almost certainly have to do the same with resulting in a 20 to 40% reduction in revenue. A reduction in SoftBank mobile revenues of this magnitude certainly could have the potential to adversely affect its start-up ventures. Given the widespread industry skepticism over OneWeb, one can only assume that failing ECA funding, any additional funding from for Wyler's venture from Softbank or even the Vision Fund would be in question.
These days it's almost impossible to find any high level industry executive who privately views the OneWeb in a positive light, a view that almost certainly must be shared by any analyst in BPI France who has done their homework.
Even the Russians are questioning the viability of the constellation and have been bold enough to speak out - unlike many U.S. satellite executives who don't want to comment publicly and spoil any chance they have of winning OneWeb contracts.
Consider that in late August of this year, Yevgeny Budinov, deputy director general at RSCC told the Russian News Agency TASS that while technologically possible, commercial success was unlikely.
According to Budinov, "Multi-satellite constellations, providing personal communication services, have already been in operation for quite a while, and almost all major satellite system projects have gone through the stage of bankruptcies and acquisitions. It will be very hard to create a commercially successful system with such a great number of satellites. A minimal number of users for such a system should be counted in hundreds of millions.
Besides, user devices available at
costs not exceeding $100-$500 should also be designed, which is impossible at the moment" and "prices for their services should be comparable to those provided by cellular service providers,”
Budinov went on to explain : "50 per- cent of the planet’s population lives within the 200 kilometer coastal zone, while 70 per cent of the global population inhabits 7 per cent of the global territory. It turns out that the efficiency of a truly global coverage will be fairly low due to a low number of users. At the same time, densely populated areas with great demand and capacity to pay, already have ground-based mobile service operators, which by that time will switch to the new 5G standard."
News coming out of Russia, although somewhat promising, recently has yet to assure the constellation's future in that country. To date, Russia has used a variety of arguments to deny OneWeb access to the country presenting a complex picture.
Last spring , Russia's federal telecom regulator, Roskomnadzor, denied OneWeb landing rights citing the risk of collision with other satellites, and in an October 24th article from Reuters, their security agency is cited as opposing OneWeb based on national security concerns .
To quell this objection, OneWeb has recently announced its intention to reduce its ownership in the venture to 49% which could improve their chances of winning approval.
However, given the different reasons for denial of access by various agencies, the ice cold political climate between the U.S. and Russia, and Russian interest in setting up a similar constellation with China, India who Federal Security Service Official Valdimir Sadovnikov called "non-aggressive,"countries, OneWeb's entry into Russia is still far from assured.
Regardless of the uncertainties in political climate, the biggest barriers for OneWeb continue to be uncertainty of its cost and its market potential - areas no management change can impact.
At this point , the investment thesis appears to be based primarily on Wyler's prognostications and his altruistic vision.
Incredibly, in an article on October 26, 2017, Greg Wyler projected a billion users by 2027, achieved with a $30 billion investment.
According to the Space News, Wyler was quoted as saying "We have a third constellation planned for 2023 which will continue to increase our total capacity until we can support 1 billion consumers globally by 2025. In total, we look to invest nearly $30 Billion to achieve our mission of bridging the digital divide by 2027."
What is especially noteworthy is even a $5 billion investment - a cost recently projected by NSR and cited in their September 19, 2018 article entitled "Can OneWeb Cross the Valley of Death" - would have to yield a company valued at around $50 Billion in five years according to venture capital risk/return criteria. So, a $30 Billion investment would mean OneWeb's valuation would have to ultimately approach $300 billion -1/3 the size of Apple or Amazon.
These are mighty big aspirations that stretch the limits of believability, given the checkered history of expensive, mega-satellite LEO ventures.
From the Editor...
Besieged By Doubt and CEO Turnover,Can OneWeb Survive?
"On November 2nd, NTT Docomo, Japan's biggest carrier, responded to government pressure by cutting its fees by 40%, and Softbank will almost certainly have to do the same. A reduction in SoftBank mobile revenues of this magnitude could have the potential to adversely affect its start-up ventures. especially those with questionable potential. Given the widespread skepticism over OneWeb, one can only assume it would be on of the first ventures at risk."
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With Carnival's V.P. of Global Connectivity, Reza Rasoulian
If you're headed for a cruise, you're going to find that the onboard Internet experience has changed a lot. Just a few short years ago, you paid $.50 per/minute or more for creeping, crawling Internet. You paid, and you logged on and you waited and you waited, while all the time the meter was running. If you remember the days of 2,000 baud modems, service was like that. All you could do was dash off a few short e-mails, and that's was about it. Now it's a lot different, especially on Carnival. There, the cruise ship Internet experience is high speed, making communication an integral part of the cruise experience.
It's almost like home. While the satellite infrastructure and bandwidth are still expensive, you can now log on to social media, surf the Web and soon, you may be able to watch streaming video - all at speeds and pricing that make communication a pleasure. To find out how Carnival has achieved this remarkable technological feat - delivering near land like Internet performance miles from shore, we interviewed Reza Rasoulian, V.P. of Global Connectivity for Carnival cruises, the world's largest cruise vacation company.
SMW: During the last few years, there have been tremendous advancements in the quality and speed of Internet connectivity aboard Carnival vessels. Can you compare what connectivity was like in terms of speed, cost and pricing plans and passenger satisfaction five years ago vs. today and how you see it evolving five years into the future?
Reza Rasoulian: Thanks Alan, yes, there have been some significant advancements in cruise connectivity as a result of Carnival’s efforts in this space. We have been able to drastically improve the speeds, reliability, and pervasiveness of our Wi-Fi solution. As a result, we now have the ability to deploy this solution to exceed our guest expectations which was one of the key goals we set out to achieve in the connectivity space.
Five years ago, cruise connectivity left a lot to be desired. While many ships had a decent experience, others had significant challenges providing a good Wi-Fi experience. Pricing was almost entirely minute based across the industry which led to dissatisfaction especially at the slow speeds previously available.
One of the early innovations Carnival initiated across many brands were our social media and voyage length plans - launched in late 2015. When they were deployed, we had significant success and improvement in our guests’ satisfaction in that Internet access was no longer metered, but instead was available in a variety of plans and sold on a daily basis or for the entire cruise. Passengers could choose a very inexpensive social media plan, a plan that allows basic web surfing or a high-speed plan suitable for more demanding connectivity and services such as Skype and Facetime.
Now, with our NextGen programs that were initially deployed in late 2017 and early 2018 on several ships, we further enhanced the capability by increasing speeds, reliability, and availability.
Our plan is to deploy this solution across the entire Carnival Cruise Line Fleet over the next few years. With many of the enhancements to be rolled out fleet wide over the next 12 months which will drastically improve our guest connectivity experience.
In the next five years I see consumer demand continuing to elevate. New applications will become available and guests and crew expectations will continue to rise. I believe we will continue to see a growth in bandwidth needs, and multi-device plans will become more apparent in mobility connectivity.
Five years ago, a typical cruise ship might employ a 5-10 Mbps link. Today, we are looking at over 100 Mbps, and I think we could reach a situation where many ships operate at Gigabit speeds in the near future.
SMW: Do you see think the amount of bandwidth you are purchasing will continue to increase year after year or do you foresee a level of capacity where demand will level off? What might that level be in terms of Mbps?
RR: We believe the data shows that demand will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. While we cannot know for sure what the future holds, we do have a good indicator based on historical consumption and growth rates, both within our users and the broader industry.
However, there is some variability in predicting how users will leverage connectivity in the future. As with the overall consumption, we do have historical data to model future use but given the innovations in mobile devices and the applications that run on them, nobody can say for sure.
There may come a point where the bandwidth per user levels off but as we improve our service we expect to see our take rate continue to rise, driving the overall demand higher and requiring Carnival to continue to add and optimize the delivery of bandwidth.
SMW: In terms of usage, how have passenger usage patterns changed? What are passengers doing with the connectivity?
RR: Certainly, we’ve seen changes in consumption as applications demand more bandwidth and users stay on-line longer. We’re also seeing more multi-device use, but the biggest driver is video, and the way social media applications use video, automatically playing videos for instance.
We’re also seeing more users needing to stay connected for business purposes even if it is only to check in from time to time to see what is happening in the office. Having great connectivity enables them to take an amazing cruise vacation but still be able to interact with the office or manage their small business if they need to.
And finally, the Internet of Things is having a big impact. The number of connected devices continues to increase, as do the capabilities of those devices.
We are obtaining more and more telemetry from our business operations, technical operations, and systems operations that we are turning into actionable events which help in creating positive outcomes both from a guest experience perspective, as well as a business and ROI perspective.
For example, five years ago we had around 1000 connected devices and now have far in excess of that.
SMW: How has the connectivity infrastructure evolved to meet demand and can you describe how the infrastructure has evolved in detail i.e. frequencies and antennas deployed, use of DVBS2X, modem technology, use of channel bonding and speed enhancement technologies such as Xiplink?
RR: We have worked hard to better understand our user’s needs and have committed to exceeding their expectations through continuous improvement and innovation in the connectivity space.
We created a connectivity discipline within the company designed to push the industry to deliver what we need. For example, Carnival partnered with Intellian to design and deliver the world’s first smart Tri-band antenna to increase stability and utilize the best bandwidth frequency in any given situation.
We have also worked closely with Xiplink and use a majority of the features they offer including acceleration, compression and caching.
In addition, partnering with modem and optimization providers such as Comtech, iDirect and other technology providers has allowed us to develop solutions to continue to deliver the amount of bandwidth we need without requiring costly and time-consuming hardware upgrades. There is also a proprietary element in our connectivity solution which is effectively our “secret sauce” that enables us to fully leverage, distribute, and consume bandwidth—this system working in unison creates the land-like experience the industry has been working to achieve for many years. It’s not just about bandwidth, but the overall system that delivers the connectivity experience.
So, working with multiple industry partners in this way, we develop solutions to meet and advance our vision. We expect these efforts to yield continued success in mobility connectivity delivery.
This proactive approach has resulted in some really creative solutions to problems that have long impacted connectivity performance in the cruise market and other broadband VSAT markets.
In fact, many of these solutions have not just moved connectivity forward at Carnival. They have moved performance forward in maritime, Oil and Gas and other markets.
SMW: I understand that the Intellian Tri-Band antenna is rather unique. Can you tell is more about it?
RR: One of the key requirements that we had was to get an intelligent antenna system that would mitigate blockage, be frequency agnostic, and also would enable us to ingest bandwidth from multiple satellite operators. That was the goal and the primary reason we elected to put in multi-band technology across all brands three years ago.
Previously, we had single band antennas on these ships and we suffered a lot because we would get into blockage situations or the needs changed on networks as demand increased. So, the new Tri Band, Intellian antennas give us the capability to connect to any satellite, regardless of operator, on any relevant commercial frequency band resulting in huge redundancy and capacity. That's six possible transmission paths with two antennas, nine with three, and so on.
Although not the only element in our connectivity design, the antenna system capability is a key element - along with the modems, optimization, Wi-Fi, etc. - that enables us to deliver a vastly superior, land-like user experience. A year or two ago, we did not have this unique technological capability.
Now, we can leverage the best satellite (and satellite operator) at the right time to meet our guest needs. Some ships have four or five antennas which could all be pointed at different satellites thereby allowing us access all of that bandwidth and do it in a smart way, so as to minimize any interruption to our guests. This adds redundancy, resiliency, and fault tolerance. Elements we did not have with single band antenna systems.
Speedcast has also been a great partner as our managed service provider, enabling us to leverage the best capacity on any satellite operator via our end-to-end connectivity approach. This gives us the ability to maximize the available bandwidth for our global fleet.
So, we mitigate weather events, do least cost routing, and everywhere we operate, we are able to get enough bandwidth because we can access any satellite regardless of operator .
SMW: I understand that in addition to having significantly enhanced the speed and quality of connectivity, you have some unique monitoring tools to assure passengers consistently high quality connectivity. Could you tell us more about what you are doing in this area?
RR: Using Splunk software and our own proprietary monitoring, remediation and analytics platform, we are able to proactively address individual users' issues and in many cases predict problems before they occur or re mediate issues before they negatively affect the customer experience. This is a huge step forward.
Prior to the establishment of this capability, we would not be able to act until guests, crew or leadership complained. Now, we know beforehand hand what is causing the issue and we can take actions, early on, to correct a problem, whether it is a satellite, Wi-Fi or customer equipment issue.
SMW: Can you elaborate more on how you are using Xiplink to improve network performance?
RR: We’re always trying to get the most out of our efforts so we invest a lot of time in network optimization. Whether it’s bonding, balancing or acceleration, we’re always looking at ways to get more out of our connectivity infrastructure.
Xiplink has been a great partner in pushing the limits with us and we continue to partner closely to continue our optimization process. In the connectivity space, it’s not a “one and done” approach, rather, an iterative, inventive yet pragmatic approach to ensuring we exceed our guest expectations. Our optimization solution is multi-tiered optimization strategy that enables the enhanced guest experience there Xiplink is a part of the overall optimization stack.
SMW: Other than purchasing more bandwidth, are their other techniques for improving on board Internet performance?
RR: There are so many factors that make up a world class connectivity experience that there is always something we could be doing. The number of users on-line, geographic location, satellite network performance, wireless signal strength, even the battery level on a user’s device factors into performance.
Of course, we look at what will provide the best experience to the greatest number of users but even that can change from minute to minute. Essentially, we have over 100+ floating cities across the Carnival brands and each one unique with its own set of challenges that are constantly changing.
SMW: What about LEOs? Are the lower latencies possible with these constellations sufficient incentive to move away from GEO services – assuming competitive price per Megabit?
RR: We are closely monitoring all of the activity in the NGSO space and we feel that continued work in this space and the availability of alternate forms of bandwidth will only benefit our guests and team members. We are optimistic that many of the systems being developed will help us achieve even more connectivity success, but we are still a few years away from available solutions as a number of companies are working hard to execute their vision and designs.
However, we have also been able to achieve great performance with MEO and GEO satellites, on a global basis, regardless of our itineraries.
SMW: We talked about passenger demand for connectivity. What about corporate use? How has improved connectivity compliment business operations? Can you give us some examples?
RR: Certainly, onboard corporate users are more productive with the increased speeds and connectivity we have deployed. There are many more benefits to improved connectivity. We have safety and security systems that require real-time data, regulatory compliance documents that must be sent and shore-side users that must connect to the ships to deploy updates or provide support.
Our onboard hotel management systems now can interact in a more real time basis to shore-side systems to further enhance our guest experience by enabling us to be more proactive in the care we provide our guests and team members. We also see a significant shift to cloud-based applications therefore one of the key elements of our connectivity implementation is to ensure a “cloud-ready” state.
SMW: It been my understanding that one of the major reasons to invest so much in improving passenger connectivity was to compete favorably with the services offered by land-based resorts and thereby satisfy the Millennials and other demographic groups who are essentially wedded to always-on connectivity. Do you feel you have achieved that goal?
RR: Absolutely. As we deploy this connectivity solution, Carnival will be in a great position to to provide our guests with a content rich and immersive experience. Streaming video, chat, text, Skype social media access or Web surfing - services that either never existed or were very challenging before on a cruise vacation. Our goal is to exceed our guest expectations by providing amazing vacation experiences, and connectivity is a part of the experience for many of our guests.
SMW: Thank you Reza. I look forward to trying out your Internet service on my next Carnival cruise.
Building Carnival's New, Just-Like-Home, Internet Service
For more information
Carnival Horizon's massive VSAT Installation
"Five years ago we had single band antennas on these ships and we suffered a lot because we would get into blockage situations or the need change networks as demand increased. So, the new Tri Band, Intellian antennas give us the capability to connect to any satellite, regardless of operator, on any frequency band resulting in huge redundancy... That antenna capability is a key element - along with the modems, optimization and Wi-Fi - that enables us to deliver a vastly superior, land-like user experience."
Carnival-Speedcast 3. 2 Gbps Demo
About Reza Rasoulian
Reza Rasoulian is the Vice President of Global Connectivity at Carnival. His responsibility includes the leadership of the connectivity design, development, deployment, and operation for the largest cruise company in the world with over 103 ships, and over 12 Million guests per year. Carnival brands include AIDA, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Seabourn, and fathom. With 22+ years of experience, Rasoulian previously led the implementation and launch of highly reliable mobile and high throughput satellite systems at Hughes Network Systems and Comtech EF Data.
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Today Big Data and IoT technologies are becoming more and more important to large enterprises, yet, in the mobility world and at remote sites, use of these technologies has been constrained by relatively narrowband VSAT capacity, making the required high volume data transport from cargo ships, cruise vessels, oil rigs, offshore service vessels and remote mines a near impossible challenge. That is, until now.
Using CubeSats, Kepler Communications, an innovative start-up company based in Toronto, Canada, has just introduced a solution that promises to revolutionize high volume data transport via satellite.
By equipping tiny satellites with software defined radios and off-the shelf satellite tracking antennas, Kepler is able to transfer gigabyte sized files and, in the future, massive IoT traffic at 50 Mbps over a store and forward network and deliver them, via the Internet, to the customer. In essence, the technology opens up vast opportunities for bulk data transfer for cruise lines, oil companies and other mobility intensive business and business with remove operations, where bandwidth limitation and exorbitant prices are the norm.
To find out more about this exciting new company, its technology, and its vision for the future, we met with Kepler Communications CEO, Mina Mitry.
SMW: Can you tell us more about Kepler? Our readers would like to know why you started the business, the technology you developed and the problems you plan to solve.
Mina Mitry: When we started the business in 2015, our mission was to orbit an in-space relay network composed of CubeSats, the focus of which was to provide wideband communication capability for assets orbiting the earth. For example, to offer high volume data transport from other orbiting satellites such as LEO imaging satellites or the International Space Station to the ground.
To do this, we designed nanosatellites with inter-satellite links, high-capacity software-defined radios and onboard processing capable of transmitting large sized files.
As the ultimate opportunity for such a network was still years away, we decided to target enterprise needs in maritime, offshore, mobility and remote sites, using this technology to overcome the bandwidth limitations inherent to existent geostationary satellite networks. What I am talking about is transmitting delay tolerant data that has a lot of volume - for example, seismic data, CCTV camera footage, weather information and delay tolerant e-mail.
SMW: Can you tell us more about the technology and how you are able to achieve such high data transfer capabilities?
MM: At the heart of our technology is a proprietary software-defined-radio that enables us to really miniaturize the size of spacecraft required to achieve our high data rates. The radio can change frequencies, modulation and coding schemes enabling us to serve both wide and narrowband data transfer markets. We also have a lot of processing capabilities on board which is unusual for satellites.
For example, with a 60 cm antenna, we can close a 50 Mbps up-link using Ku-Band. During one pass from horizon to horizon, in the process of communication, we can change our modulation and coding throughout the path to improve our send and receive capabilities. In addition, we don’t use a “bent pipe” architecture and we don’t need to operate all times. So, we get power savings.
SMW: I understand that in addition to moving gigabyte sized files, your network has significant advantages in the transfer of IoT data. Can you explain the suitability of your technology for IoT?
MM: I want to distinguish between what the network will look like now and in 12 months or so. The key to addressing the millions of devices that exist out there is being able both uplink and downlink the data efficiently.
When you think about getting to a really large scale, the quantity of devices will result in high volumes of data. So, the first part of the problem is how we transfer these volumes of data from one location to another, and the second is how do you do it when IoT encompasses hundreds of millions of devices?
We have solved the first problem, and we are commercializing that capability today. Our first two satellites offer a high-data-rate link using conventional, 60 cm stabilized antennas.
In the IoT model, which is designed to move messages rather than large volumes of data, we will employ a small, battery operated, narrow band terminal costing around $50.
For IoT message transfer, all of the narrowband messages are aggregated on the spacecraft and sent down via a high-data- rate link in a single pass. So, we handle both a low and high data rate within the same satellite. It enables us to support a very large enterprise customer with expansive IoT requirements - an advantage allowing us book significant revenue from a limited number of customers.
That capability is very unique, and we know that it cannot be done by other small satellites.
An additional difference between the wideband data transport - branded as Global Data ServiceTM - and the IoT service - everywhereIOTTM - is that the latter is a duplex service, offering bi-directional communications making it suitable for market segments that need acknowledgments of messages sent and received via their ground devices.
SMW: How does the wideband service work? What hardware does a current VSAT customer need to do to use your network?
MM: First of all, we offer a complete end-to-end service. We operate our own teleport and have our own hub and modem infrastructure. So, to access our network, the customer merely has to install our modem and connects it to standard, stabilized 60 cm antenna.
We are fortunate that the current stabilized dish antennas have motors capable of providing the tracking function, and all they require to provide this functionality is a software update. However, we are also exploring the use of Electronically Steered Phased Array antennas, having successfully tested our satellites with the Phasor antenna.
SMW: I understand that you are planning additional satellites. What is their mission and what are your future launch plans?
MM: As you know, we launched one satellite later this month. The focus of the first two satellites, KIPP and CASE, is to transfer high volumes of data that is delay tolerant – essentially uploading the data at speeds of 50 Mbps and via store and forward, delivering it to the customer in a timely manner via the Cloud.
While KIPP and CASE will deliver the wideband connectivity necessary to move large volumes of data, they will have the same software- defined-radio onboard that allows us to change coding, and change transmission power thereby allowing the satellites to also provide lower data rates connectivity as well.
The third satellite, TARS, to be launched in 2019, in addition to the wideband capability, will carry a very low data rate payload. Outside of the conventional software-defined radio capability of reducing bandwidth to reduce data rate, there will be an additional dedicated payload for narrowband connectivity on board. Thanks to the software-defined radio, TARS will be able to aggregate signals from hundreds of IoT devices and downlink all this data at high speed to the ground at once.
As to the next round of satellites which we call GEN 1, we expect these satellites to vary in payload, as well, in order to accommodate different customer requirements.
SMW: In terms of competitive advantage, it would seem that your ability to handle high- bandwidth transmission with small, inexpensive satellites, would be the sustainable advantage. How does your solution differ from data transfer that could be offered OneWeb, Telesat, Leosat or Starlink or HTS GEOs?
MM: I want to be very cautious in not making any broadband claims regarding our network. It's important to note that we offer fundamentally different services and are not designed to offer broadband Internet connectivity in the conventional sense.
While we have wideband capability, we focus on the delivery of data rather than delivery of Internet.
Because our services are based on cubesats and a store-and-forward infrastructure, unlike real time Internet services, we can make money from a single satellite. As we ramp up our constellation to include around 15 satellites, we'll be able to substantially shorten the data transit interval making us even more attractive to customers that require near real time data transport at an attractive cost.
In comparison, Internet constellations need to provide real-time connectivity, and they cost billions of dollars to build. You need to either have a multi-million GEO satellite or a Global LEO constellation in order to claim Internet capability, and you need to have something like 99.9% reliability that requires a fair amount of redundancy.
SpaceX and OneWeb are spending the right amount of dollars to get there, but that is not the type of service we plan to deliver. In regard to our service vs. a LEO or GEO global Internet provider, there are other technical and sales and marketing differentiators that sustain our competitive advantage in the markets we plan to serve.
In the Internet world, service is typically asymmetrical with high capacity on the downlink. Our IoT and high transport services require the opposite: high data rate uplink and a low data rate downlink to the data origination point.
In the Internet model you also need to have more gateways in the network, and the sales and marketing issues are different as you move from country to country further complicating the business model. In a mega LEO or GEO model you have to understand the demographics and sale patterns in every market you serve and accommodate them with the appropriate business structure.
Our market, on the other hand, consists of corporate or government customers with tightly defined needs and the financial resources to pay for the services.
We also have more flexibility than the mega LEOs in meeting terrestrial licensing requirements due to our software- defined-radios which allow us to operate at different frequencies and modulations and the fact we are a private, not public network and not a common carrier. Of course, much of our market is in the open sea, where there are no significant licensing barriers at all.
SMW: At the moment, your major competitor on the IoT side would appear to be Iridium with their new NEXT constellation and possibly GEO operators. How do your services differ and what would be your competitive advantage(s)?
MM: Where we sit vs. Iridium is that we can transport large volumes of data or carry support for significantly larger numbers of customers in a store- and-forward mode at very low cost.
Characteristically, the majority of IoT communications are not in real-time and they don’t have the same reliability needs, and that’s where we are focusing our efforts.
What Iridium has done is to build a network capable of enterprise grade, high reliability real time communications, and they are re-purposing it for certain IoT applications. So, they are looking for applications that demand high reliability, always on, enterprise grade connectivity. In order to justify their investment, they need to have a minimum monthly charge for an individual customer and to command a premium price.
GEO operators, on the other hand, need more electrical power to operate their stabilized antennas and to close the link to distant GEO satellites in remote orbit - costly resources and equipment for the multitude of sites that IoT services require.
Because our satellites are much closer to the earth, we can uplink data using low cost, battery-powered terminals – an essential requirement for many IoT applications since a particular customer may require hundreds or thousands of IoT links at dispersed locations.
SMW: In the transmission of delay-tolerant bulk data over VSAT, it would appear that you have a sustainable advantage over conventional GEO operators, yet in real-time data transmission they would appear to have an advantage. Is there some way in which you can work with them to enhance their service offerings?.
MM: In that market, we plan to partner with GEO operators and offer complimentary services. There are many scenarios where there are advantages to one network vs. the other.
For example, in areas where they have saturated geostationary beams, they can offload non-time sensitive data to our network, and there are other cases in which there is demand for higher data rates from similar size antennas, and that’s where our network can become more valuable vs. a GEO stationary network.
For example, in store-and-forward applications, if an oil company wants to transmit seismic data or a broadcaster wants to transmit CCTV footage, we can provide faster uplink and downlink data rates than traditional GEOs.
However, in other instances the customer requires always-on connectivity, we would tend to go to a GEO stationary provider and use their network to provide a service.
So, essentially, through a combination of low- cost nano satellites, proprietary software defined radios, and a store and forward network architecture, we have created a uniquely economic, ultra-high-speed wide band communication network enabling high volume data transfer which is vastly superior to conventional VSAT capabilities.
On the business side, What is unique about our model is we are able to recognize revenue with minimal CAPEX based just on one or two spacecraft vs. GEO and LEO providers who need to spend hundreds of millions or billions of dollars before they can serve a single customer.
Given this low risk model and a highly targeted market, we have quickly raised the capital we need to move forward and complete our 15 satellite constellation. On October 15th we announced closing of our "A" Round of financing raising $16 Million. So, we are ready and eager to move forward.
SMW: Thank you, Mina. I think your service has significant potential in the VSAT world.
An Interview with Kepler Communications CEO, Mina Mitry:
Breakthrough Solution for Big Data Transfer via CubeSats
"As the ultimate opportunity to deploy a inter-linked network in space is still years away, we are offering our unique technology as a high volume data transport network, thereby enabling mobile and remote assets overcome existent bandwidth constraints"
"I want to be very cautious in not making any broadband claims regarding our network. It's important to note that we offer fundamentally different services and are not designed to offer broadband Internet connectivity in the conventional sense. While we have wide-band capability, we focus on the delivery of data rather than delivery of Internet." "
Click for More Information
About Mina Mitry:
Mina is a fervent leader with experience conceiving and scaling disruptive companies, one of Kepler’s co-founders and the company’s CEO.
He co-founded Kepler Communications in 2015 with the ultimate mission of bringing Internet connectivity to space and has lead Kepler to design, build and launch a telecommunications satellite in a span of only 12 months, the first of its kind.
Under his leadership Kepler was named one of the most innovative companies in the world by fast magazine."
Mina holds a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto.
In rural areas where fiber or cable connectivity does not exist or in areas where cellular operators need to connect thousands of 5G base stations, achieving cost effective connectivity is challenging.
In Internet-to-Home rural markets, companies like ViaSat and Hughes have struggled with cumbersome, expensive and difficult to install customer premise equipment. New satellite broadband initiatives attempting to reach third world rural markets face even greater challenges and in the cellular world, connecting the multitude of required connections poses similar obstacles.
Finally, the technology to surpass this connectivity barrier is about to enter the market, bringing with it the promise that greater numbers of rural users may soon be able to experience the high speed Internet access long taken for granted in urban markets.
Well known innovator and entrepreneur, Thomas Choi, is about to introduce a highly disruptive wireless mesh network topology based on a multi-beam phased array technology that can deliver a uniquely efficient and extraordinary low cost solution. He calls the it Curvalux.
Using unlicensed frequencies in the 5 GHz Band, the technology could soon open up huge opportunities for companies such as telecommunications and wireless ISPs looking to expand high speed access to previously untapped rural markets and vastly speed up and lower the cost of 4G and 5G deployment for cellular operators - at home and abroad.
We contacted Tom about his new technology venture to find about his very interesting new venture.
SMW: Thanks for telling us about Curvalux. Getting this far with a new project in such a short time since you left ABS is really amazing. Can describe how you got started in the project, how the technology works and his vision on where and when it might be deployed and the business model?
Thomas Choi: I have been interested in radio communications since my college days, and I’ve deployed many satellite networks during my days as CEO of Speedcast and ABS. So, I have a very good understanding of how wireless radios work, and I always wanted to get involved in terrestrial wireless systems.
Late last year, I looked at the existing terrestrial wireless systems and closely examined how can we improve upon what is currently available. Since it is only logical to get the most throughput out of any wireless spectrum, I saw the opportunity to create a multi-beam, phased array platform that would be superior to systems employed today. So, I created Curvalux.
Given the lack of broadband access in rural areas in developed and developing countries, my colleagues and I saw these geographies as the ideal environments for initial deployment of Curvalux. We also saw a big cellular backhaul opportunity for Curvalux in 4G and 5G deployments where mobile operators have difficulties laying fiber optic cable to their base stations.
SMW: So, Tom, can you tell us about the technology and how it works?
Thomas Choi: Curvalux is an advanced multi-beam phased array wireless access and backbone technology with a built in backhaul relay architecture. Within that infrastructure, we are able to provide frequency re-use, high directivity and gain of the antenna, thereby dramatically increasing the throughput and range of wireless broadband connectivity to low powered and low cost end-user terminals.
The network itself consists of a series of "Edge Nodes," one or more sets of two flat panel arrays of proprietary design, one for transmit and another for receive mounted on a single tower. Each set of panels covers field of view of 60 degrees and emits a sequence of sixteen beams which can operate in 3 or 4 color reuse.
Depending upon the range and gain of the user antenna, each beam has a capacity of 300 to 600 Mbps at Wi-Fi frequency with a range of approximately 15 kilometers and is capable up servicing up to 500 to 1000 users.
All of the Edge Nodes can be interconnected via a 1 Gbps backbone link through the use of one of the sixteen phased array beams. By daisy chaining the Edge Nodes, we can go beyond 100 km from the backbone.
Depending on the geography to be covered, individual nodes may be deployed pointed at a single usage point i.e. a town across a bay or in an omni directional configuration where six sets Edge Nodes are mounted on a single tower to provide 360 degree coverage. Of course, the number of users which can be served is still limited by the capacity fed into the network, which can be added to any "node" via either fiber or satellite.
The next generation 5G mobile systems are also multi-beam phased array technologies but Curvalux beats those systems in terms of mass, size, power and most importantly cost for the fixed wireless access application.
SMW: So, Tom what are the economic advantages of your infrastructure vs. the two use cases: provision of rural connectivity and 5G deployment?
Thomas Choi: : In the rural use case, because our antenna uses beam forming technology, we can connect towers up to 40 Km apart and end users up to 15 Km from an Edge Node, thereby serving a very large area wirelessly. In most cases, our infrastructure and hardware eliminates the need for long distance fiber or microwave backbone and the hundreds of dollars of CPE, installation and maintenance cost associated with direct to home satellite service. In our model, end users would only require a relatively inexpensive Wi-Fi based CPE which they could self install, or in areas where the users are close to the tower below 4Km they could get Internet using Wi-Fi on their smart phones or tablets.
Because a site could be served by a relatively minimal number of Edge Nodes, the network could be deployed quickly resulting in improved cash flow for the operator. In the cellular world, the push to 5G also creates the need for a low cost backbone technology.
In the 5G model in an urban environment, thousands of closely spaced base stations would be required. So, connecting all of these base stations with fiber would be expensive and time consuming. Our system will make the cost per Mbps backbone access drop below 5 cents per Mbps — a figure unheard of in the past for microwave, fiber, or satellite backhaul.
SMW: You mentioned that your infrastructure could have significant implications for the over supply HTS satellite market. Can you explain?
Tom Choi: :The point is that our ultra low backhaul and access infrastructure cost opens up a lot of new markets for HTS satellite capacity. Instead of being a primary access tool, HTS satellites can now be deployed as a backhaul technology.
Instead of directly connecting each user to the satellite, we connect the satellite to the Curvalux network and provide 1 Gbps+ of capacity over a wide area to thousands of users thereby creating viable new business opportunities for HTS satellite operators and their local resellers.
To deploy the technology, our plan is to work with satellite operators leveraging our technology to help them breach these rural markets.
SMW: What is the current status of the project, Tom? Have you tested it, and if so, what, when and where are you going to commercially deploy it?
Tom Choi: The system has been installed in Hong Kong for the last two months and we are doing live testing in the 5 GHz unlicensed band.
By November, we will be testing in five countries around different parts of the world. The biggest telcos, Internet giants and satellite operators have all expressed significant interest in Curvalux.
In the near future we will develop a low powered version of our system that can fit within a VSAT deployment budget and another version of Curvalux that operates in the licensed bands between 2-3 GHz for wireless operators who have their own licensed spectrum.
SMW: Tom, what exactly is the business model: How do you monetize your technology? Are you a service provider or a hardware provider or both? Have you any estimates on market sizes, your market potential share and how big a business you can create? That would be a critical issue in securing funding. I'm sure my readers would find that of interest.
Tom Choi: This is an interesting question. We do not want to play the role of a typical hardware provider.
Our plan is to work with exclusive distributors in 15-20 key markets where the very affordable equipment will be made available in exchange for royalties or revenue share. In other markets, we will sell the hardware and charge annual license fees. The system we designed will be available to the market in Q 4 2018.
The market opportunity is quite big. Global mobile operator revenues are already above $1 trillion dollars a year and yet 3.5 Billion people still do not have any form of broadband.
Up to now, my partners and I have self-funded the product development of Curvalux.
We feel pretty confident that the combination of customer orders and exclusive partnership fees will be sufficient for the developments we are planning for 2019.
After that we have several options for funding Gen II and Gen III versions of our technology including working with strategic investors or taking the company public.
SMW: Thank you, Tom.
A look at Curvalux, A New Breakthrough Backbone and Access Technology
Tom Choi's New Road for the "Last Mile"
Edge Nodes: Each with a set of two panels that cove 60 degrees
and emit a series of 16 beams which can operate in three or
four color reuse.
For More Information...
Omni Directional Gateway
HTS Deployment Model
About Thomas Choi...
Thomas is CEO of Curvalux.
Prior to founding Curvalux, Thomas Choi was the CEO of ABS, one of the fastest growing satellite operators in the business.
Thomas is one of the best known and respected executives and entrepreneurs in the satellite industry and has over 20 years’ experience in the Satellite and Aerospace industry.
Prior to ABS, Tom was the founder and CEO of Speedcast. He also worked at Hughes Communications International and at Rockwell International. He has a MBA and B.S. in Aerospace Engineering both from the University of Southern California.
Tom is a member of the Board of Directors of the Asia Pacific Communications Council (APSCC) and previously served on the Board of CASBAA.
Tom was the Satellite Executive of the year in 2012 and the Satellite Executive of the year in Asia Pacific Award 2012 (APSCC).
There are many mobility related satellite industry events and unless you have an unlimited budget, here are the "must attends" and others that may be of interest. Note that the "hot" sectors are Cruise, Aero and Yachts.
****DC5G: November 12-13 - Washington, D.C.
Given the potential opportunities for satellite services in the coming 5G infrastructure, we recommend attending this conference.
***PTC: Honolulu, Hawaii: January 20-23. FROM PIPES TO PLATFORMS 20–23 JANUARY 2019 | HONOLULU, HI. PTC’s annual conference is the Pacific Rim’s premier telecommunications event. The Conference is a strategic springboard for the global communications industry, providing all attendees with a three-day platform to focus on planning, networking, and discovering what the new year will bring.
***Small Satellite Symposium: February 4-7. Silicon Valley. Relatively new (4th event), the conference has received good reviews.
Satellite 2019: Washington D.C. May 6-9: We consider this one of the two most important Satellite shows and conferences in the industry, the other being the World Satellite Business Week in Paris, held the second week of September.
*******Small Satellite Conference, Logan, Utah, August 8th-12th 2019. While a bit out of the way, this is the primer conference in the industry. With most of the innovation in satellite coming from this segment, it's a must to attend. Last year, over 3,000 attendees from all over the globe attended - far more than any other conference focused on the topic.
*Other Conferences/Shows of Interest:
***Digital Ship CIO Forum/Cyber Resilience Forum: Held in numerous locations around the world, these events are notable for their focus mainly on IT related issues including cyber security, IoT and M2M. Sponsored globally by Marlink, they are held nearly everywhere.
Upcoming and Recommended Satellite Mobility Events
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