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With demand for reliable and ubiquitous connectivity increasing across a broader and more diverse array of vertical markets, including heavy equipment, commercial vehicles, trains, and agriculture, satellite networks continue to emerge as a critical part of the connectivity solution and more than just a redundant backup. Across these industries, satellite connectivity is helping enterprise users embrace new technologies and, ultimately, manage their businesses with improved efficiency, profitability, and safety.

In a recent session of Thursday Morning Conversations, Via Satellite’s weekly interview series with satellite industry leaders, Intelsat’s Joel Schroeder offered his perspective on the drivers for next-generation, satellite-powered land mobility services. In the chat with Via Satellite’s Mark Holmes, Joel explains how the multi-orbit, high-throughput nature of Intelsat’s FlexMove is delivering reliable and resilient connectivity for a broad portfolio of customers and powering momentum for Intelsat’s land mobile business.

Unrelenting Thirst for Bandwidth and Connectivity Driving Demand

In addressing the state of the mobility market and changing requirements for satellite networks, Joel believes that the general intolerance among both businesses and consumers for an absence of connectivity, particularly given today’s work-from-home environment, has elevated interest in and consideration for satellite networks like FlexMove that can not only plug connectivity gaps but deliver connectivity at a significantly higher data rate than what traditional Mobile Satellite [CT1] Services (MSS) have delivered. Essentially, with FlexMove, Intelsat is capitalizing on this insatiable demand for higher-performing and higher-throughput connectivity and is doing so by providing managed services and end-to-end solutions, not just capacity.

Breadth of Interest Spread Beyond Traditional Markets

Regarding customer interest in the incredibly diverse and fragmented land mobile marketplace, Joel states that initial traction came from traditional markets like governments, first responders, and media organizations eager to use the platform to broadcast live from remote sites. More recently, however, interest is coming from less traditional, industrial markets like agriculture, construction, and mining, all of which are deploying connected heavy equipment, including autonomous and remote-controlled machinery, that requires uninterrupted connectivity for effective operations. In many of these use cases, satellite is not just a redundant option, as it has traditionally been, but rather integrated as one of many connectivity options.

Interest in High-Throughput Satellite Driving Unprecedented RFP Activity

The high-throughput nature of FlexMove and its ability to interoperate alongside terrestrial connectivity options has led larger enterprises to issue RFPs for satellite solutions on a scale never before seen across the industry. The demands are also evolving as prospective users are eager to leverage satellites to monitor machine operations, interact with applications and platforms in the cloud, and send and receive copious amounts of data to and from a remote asset. With autonomy continuing to gain traction in so many industries, the need for awareness of what’s happening around these assets is driving up demand for high-performing satellite capabilities with equipment that can be integrated into the asset itself.

A Bright Future for the Land Mobile Business

While land mobile has not traditionally been Intelsat’s main segment, Joel sees it as one of the highest growth potential areas for the company. Increasing demand for connectivity combined with the presence of significant gaps in terrestrial coverage means the opportunities for land mobile are essentially endless, especially as innovation continues to reduce equipment size and cost of services while enhancing the ease of use and service delivery.

Optimism Around Prospects for Deals and Partnerships

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2023, Joel is bullish on the prospects of new deals coming to fruition as the year speeds along. The team is engaged in discussion with OEMs across a range of market segments, all of whom require a connectivity solution platform that can support a much higher volume of data transmission without breaking the bank. The team also continues to engage with potential hardware manufacturers and other partner companies that sit between Intelsat and the end user to ultimately accelerate the integration of satellite into the connectivity ecosystem.