Innovating in Space and on Ground Will Advance Satellite in the Broader Communications Landscape
By Thierry Guillemin, EVP and CTO, Intelsat
Satellite-enabled services have been present in the lives of millions of people around the globe for a long time, from broadcasting to enterprise networks, from maritime communications to disaster recovery. Today, the demand for broadband connectivity – anytime and anywhere – is growing exponentially around the world, coming from areas such as enterprise, mobility, media, government, and Internet of Things. In order to meet that demand, our customers have told us they want high-performance capacity that is efficient, tailored to meet their needs and able to be implemented rapidly.
Technologically, the satellite sector is creative as ever and already responding with next-generation high-throughput satellites – such as our Intelsat EpicNG platform. Combining technological innovation with inherent advantages such as reach, ubiquity, reliability, point-to-multipoint economics, fast deployment and security, satellite will play a critical role in addressing the evolving needs of a broadband world.
But we are also focused on new technologies that will usher in a sea change in terms of performance and accessibility – ones we believe will propel satellite into a much larger role in the overall communications ecosystem.
For example, we are undertaking efforts to improve accessibility – making it easier to access our satellites and expand the opportunities available to our customers – by leveraging innovations in new technologies like phased arrays and metamaterials. Our work with antenna manufacturers, Kymeta and Phasor, is yielding more powerful, lower form factor antennas that will be easy to install and able to automatically acquire and track a satellite signal. The result: satellite broadband will be an option for almost any connected object or site, enabling new services for segments as diverse as the automotive industry, business jets, and wireless operators deploying faster networks.
Even though Intelsat has an extensive fleet of geostationary satellites that covers the globe several times over, we have invested in the OneWeb low earth orbit satellite constellation. This will add coverage of the Polar Regions for mobility customers as well as provide higher elevation angles in urban areas for Internet of Things applications of the future like connected cars.
The satellite sector is transforming itself, and with innovation in space being matched by new developments on the ground, satellite will assume a greater role in in the next generation of broadband networks to provide connectivity everywhere.