It is no longer a secret to anyone that the lifestyle and needs of people and companies have drastically changed thanks to technological advances and the need to be more competitive, agile and efficient every day. Many of these new needs have been generated by the different technological advancements that make our lives easier and more controlled.
In particular, businesses are increasingly more efficient and productive thanks to the emergence of new technologies. Software and applications developed to allow companies to be more productive are making them more dependent on communications, breaking geographical barriers working online and making strategic decisions regardless of where you are. This plus other technological developments have increased the demand for capacity continuously in recent decades and will continue to do so going forward.
A few examples:
Technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IOT) have increased the amount of connected devices seeking to systematize and automate processes in order to reduce risk, costs and human errors. The applications in the business fields are extensive, as devices devices are used to permanently capture information applicable to many economic sectors. IOT allows for faster and more accurate decisions through visualization of critical variables in a practical and efficient way.
In a few years all cars will have tracking devices in response to regulatory issues and to give passengers access to information and entertainment.
The tourism industry, particularly large cruise ships have changed their service experience models to focus on the use and access to Internet for all the crew and users.
Terrestrial mobility with mass transport, within the scheme of smart cities to offer new features for its users in terms of entertainment (television, radio, streaming) and security (vehicular tracking, failure or emergencies report and telemetries)
This growing demand for capacity will be applicable not only for terrestrial technologies, but will allow other technologies such as satellite, to become even more permanent players. Not long ago, satellite service providers sold communications channels of 64 Kbps and 128 Kbps, but thanks to better capabilities and features is not the case anymore. There was a time when satellite technology was basically used for Internet, to check email or to access your bank account. Today, the technological gap with terrestrial connectivity is smaller, becoming a communications tool that allows companies to be more productive and efficient, improving decision making and real time control of companies operations. Today satellite communications capabilities make it a valid player in many verticals where there are limitations of terrestrial infrastructure. Additionally the price gap between terrestrial and satellite solutions is closing. Five years ago the difference in prices between the two could be more than 10 times, currently is closer to 3 to 1.
Plus, the traditional verticals where satellite is the natural technology to use, will continue to evolve grow and demand more capacity. Verticals such as the aeronautical industry will demand more and more capacity not only to deliver a better experience for their clients inside planes (to watch online TV, navigate on internet, talk on the phone, make video calls, watch Netflix, etc.), but to improve security and operational efficiencies
Similarly satellite cellular backhaul will continue to expand due to the growing penetration and use of mobiles, not only in the main cities, but in the intermediate and rural areas where terrestrial networks have limitations. It is already evident how satellite operators are complementing terrestrial networks facilitating the expansion of MNOs and expanding the transport capabilities required by 4G-LTE cellular technologies.
The demand for capacity will continue to expand. With the changes in satellite technology, we can expect to be a more significant player in the telecommunications playing field. Satellite communications will likely grow faster than the rest of communications technologies. In the future, the problem for players in the satellite value chain will not be a lack of demand for satellite communications, but more likely how revenues will grow as the core product – bandwidth – becomes more and more commodotized.
Pablo Hoyos is the vice president of product and operations at Axesat. He has more than 15 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications sector. Hoyos has led the development and the portfolio of the company, always having as an axis of work the innovation which has allowed Axesat to position itself as a leading company in the region and for five consecutive years has been recognized by the WTA as one of the operators of the most important teleports in the world.