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January 2012 Edition
Small Satellites
A Case In Point
A Case In Point: How To Run A Tight Ship, Managing Maritime Communications
PACC Ship Managers Pte. Ltd. knows how to run a tight ship. They do it for their parent company, Pacific Carriers Limited (PCL), a Singapore-based company that is a leading owner and operator of dry bulk carriers and product tankers. In addition to serving as PCL’s in-house ship management arm, PACC also manages vessels for third parties: A total of 46 vessels including dry bulk carriers, product tankers, chemical tankers, container feeder vessels and multi-purpose vessels, with home ports in Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Ship management companies are the outsourcers of the maritime industry. Their clients’ core business is moving cargo, and ship managers look after everything else, from manning and equipping to provisioning and maintaining the ship and its systems. Communications is a key piece of the puzzle, for safety at sea, ship management and crew morale.
Executive Spotlights
Executive Spotlight: Dan Berkenstock, EVP + Chief Product Officer, Skybox Imaging
Dan Berkenstock is an entrepreneur and engineer from Chicago, Illinois, with a healthy respect for the risks and rewards of doing business in space. He is also fascinated by scalable and novel data streams that revolutionize the ways that consumers, businesses, and governments make decisions in their day-to-day lives.
Executive Spotlight: Janne Morstøl, COO, T-VIPS AS
Janne T. Morstøl is COO of T-VIPS AS, a technology company providing professional video transport solutions. She is one of the founders of the company, and manages key functions within the company including R&D, Support, Finance and Administration. Ms. Morstøl joined T-VIPS from TANDBERG Television where she served in several management positions in Engineering and Business Development. In 2001 and 2002 she worked as Program Director at Zonavi, a Telenor-owned ITV company. Ms. Morstøl is also on the Board of Directors of Vizrt, a Norwegian-based provider of 3D graphics and asset management tools for the broadcast industry. Ms. Morstøl holds a Siv.Ing (equivalent to Master of Sciences) from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and an MBA from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. Ms. Morstøl currently resides in Oslo, Norway, and has been a member of the Company’s board since November 2010.
Focus: Progression In The World Of SATCOMs @ Sea, by Casper Jensen, V.P. Maritime Business Unit, Thrane & Thrane
The maritime industry has always had a challenging time trying to keep its workforce in place. The financial reward for going to sea, often for months at a time, can be significant but the fact that seafarers are required to spend so long away from home means that many of them don’t view life on the ocean waves as a job for life. So crew retention is a major concern for ship operators’ human resources departments. The companies with the best track record in supporting long term careers at sea are those that see fit to invest in the best facilities for their crew aboard vessels. Ensuring that there is a safe working environment and that crew members can relax and enjoy their time when off-shift is vital to long-term workplace sustainability, and the majority of major shipping players see SATCOM as a cost-effective way of enabling this.
Forrester’s Focus: Newtec — Expanding... + Compressing, Simultaneously!, Chris Forrester, SatNews Publishers’ European Editor, interviews Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec
“This past year has seen the U.S. dramatically reduce its equipment buying levels, and this is the first time we have seen this in the U.S.,” says Serge Van Herck, CEO at Newtec. “We have been able to grow very nicely in other parts of the world and this has stabilised and compensated those lost revenues. Our view for 2012 is that the U.S. market is at last picking up, and we see clear signs of this already. But, like everyone else, we hope that Europe does not move into recession.”
Gottlieb’s Focus: Iridium, Inmarsat + Globalstar... Which Service Is Best?, by Alan Gottlieb, Global Maritime Editor
As satellite phone airtime prices have fallen and lower cost phones have been introduced, the market for satellite phones has grown substantially. With the introduction of Inmarsat’s low cost IsatPhone Pro and the likely coming revival of Globalstar’s duplex voice services, selecting the appropriate provider and hardware is more complicated than ever. Of course, low priced services and hardware that do not fit the user’s needs are never a bargain. Deceptively low pricing can be a dangerous allure to the unwary, in particular, for those who have not properly analyzed their needs to determine which products are the best fit. While the new services do offer lower cost terminals, each is distinctly different, making a careful comparison of features and coverage essential. Consequently, an accurate analysis of how and where the phone will be used — U.S. only, +70 to -70 degrees north and south, globally (including Polar and Far North) and for what purpose — exclusively voice, long calls, short calls, email, data — is essential.
Heyman’s Focus: Aerosat: A Brilliant Idea Gone Wrong, by Jos Heyman, Contributing Editor
In the early 1960s various ideas for dedicated application satellites were advanced including one for aeronautical communications that was being considered in the United States as well as the European nations, the latter through the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO). Unfortunately the market was not ready for this development and the proposal was cancelled. However, today and many years later, with new technology and in a different market, this may be one application that deserves revisiting. The impetus for the use of satellites in aeronautical communications originated from the need to find better communications facilities for the ever increasing fleet or airliners. After World War II, HF communications were being used for aeronautical communications but the efficiency was poor as HF suffered from interference from electric storms making, at time, communications fade altogether. HF had, however, the advantage of being able to bounce on the ionosphere, allowing long distance communications.
InfoBeam, Latest News Items, by the editors
News and Notes of Interest to the Satellite Community
Insight: Rapid Response To Libyan O & G Comms Requirements, By Katy Harrison, Marketing + PR Manager, Hermes Datacommunications, Ltd.
One of the most challenging projects the Company has faced in recent months was during the civil uprising in Libya for the oil & gas patch. With the demise of Colonel Gadaffi on October 20th, 2011, Hermes Datacommunications worked feverishly to renew operations in the country and recently announced the Libyan oil fields are now fully operational. Subsequent to that announcement, Hermes installed two new VSAT systems for companies working in the oil and gas sector, providing communication links from clients’ offices based in Tripoli to their headquarters in Europe via the Hermes teleport in the United Kingdom. In November, Hermes won a contract from a major oilfield services company to provide a multi-site 4mbps C-band SkyWire cloud to provide connectivity for their headquarters in Tripoli, enabling the client to re-establish office connections. Glynn Wagg, Country Manager Libya, said, “The contract was signed and the system was installed by the engineering team from Tripoli just five days later. I believe the client chose Hermes not only because of our proven track record in delivering reliable, efficient and cost effective comms solutions but also because we are now fully operational in Libya and we are able to respond quickly to customers VSAT requirements.”
InSight: Solar Weather Effects On Satellites, by Peter Brown, Freelance Author, + Tobias Nassif, V.P., Operations and Engineering, Intelsat
Every once in a great while, a report surfaces about a communications satellite which has been partially or completely disabled as the result of a sudden knockout blow delivered by the sun. The first thing to keep in mind is that these things can happen. The second thing to keep in mind is that they happen very rarely.
Insight: Spatial Repurposement + Honor, by Janet Stevens, V.P. Marketing + Communications, Space Foundation
Space folks don’t always feel the love these days… U.S. human spaceflight capability has lapsed… the NASA budget languishes at a measly 0.45 percent of the federal budget… citizens, distressed with the economy, muse about why we spend anything on space… People who are in the space business know very well that the space industry deserves a lot of respect — and love ­­— for many things… the joy of pure discovery… the ability to publicly signal scientific and technological prowess… the boost that high-tech jobs and high-tech manufacturing give to our economy… the inspiration for some darn good movies and TV shows… and, most of all, the way space research makes our lives better, easier, safer and more comfortable.
Small Satellites: Changing The Size Of The Industry
Re: Sources — Careers: The Road To The Future — Sales Support, by Bert Sadtler, President, Boxwood Executive Search
These are extremely challenging times for employers who need to acquire top level talent as well as for those seeking a career change. Today, companies’ economics compel them to re-assess their talent needs in order to remain competitive and drive growth. The satellite communications industry remains ripe with new opportunities. Employers are challenged with making a “great hire.” For the candidate, finding an opportunity can sometimes be a rather difficult proposition. To assist with career searches, we asked Bert Sadtler of Boxwood Executive Search to respond to readers’ questions regarding the processes of recruitment and hiring as well as how Companies can retain crucially-needed talent. Boxwood is located in the Washington DC region and has success in senior level recruitment in satellite communications, government contracting, and within the intelligence community. If you would care to submit a recruitment, hiring, or retention question specific to our satellite communications and related industries for Bert to answer, please email your question to BertSadtler@BoxwoodSearch.com.
SatBroadcasting™: Media Server Considerations, by Matt Allard, Director of Marketing, Servers & Digital Production, Grass Valley
A media server is a much more complex system than one might first think. When choosing such a system for a facility, there are a wide number of issues that should be carefully considered. Today’s best media servers leverage the core technologies of the general IT industry, and then optimize and enhance those technologies specifically for the real-time, high-availability requirements of television broadcast and video production. The best suppliers build systems that use standard file systems, storage, and networking. These suppliers provide added value by optimizing and tuning IT technologies for media applications in ways IT vendors can’t or won’t. The implementation of the latest technology produces more cost-effective solutions.
TechTalk: Bridged Point-to-Multipoint, by Mark Dale, V.P. Product Management, Comtech EF Data
Satellite networks are often designed to support connectivity for Internet Protocol (IP) data traffic. In many networks (particularly government networks), data traffic is encrypted prior to arriving at the satellite communications element of the network. In encrypted IP-based networks, it is often highly desirable to have the satellite network transparently bridge traffic (i.e., operate at “Layer 2” in the OSI model, rather than Layer 3 or higher). This eliminates the requirement to support routing protocols and other Layer 3 functions in the satellite communication equipment on the “black” side of the encryptor, which in turn greatly simplifies the configuration and operation of the overall network.