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A Conversation with Richard Jacklin
Director of Sales, ViaLite Communications

Richard Jacklin is the Director of Sales of ViaLite Communication which is one division of the Pulse Power & Measurement Ltd. (PPM) group. Richard’s office is located in Swindon, UK.

His role of director of sales is the result of more than 25 years’ experience in the wireless communications, audio and test and measurement sectors including; R&D, Test Services Management, Sales and Sales Management, Strategic Business Development, Product Management, and board-level positions.

Richard explained that ViaLite Communications is part of PPM, which is comprised of four divisions. Three of those are born out of the same base technology — RF over Fiber (RFoF).

ViaLite focuses on the commercial applications of RFoF, such as satellite communications, broadcasting, timing distribution and synchronization (TDS), etc. The other divisions offer the same basic technology, but address a different market pertaining to test and bespoke military applications.

According to Richard, 2019 has been a busy year for the company They started with the launch of their C-band product that ramps up to 7.5 GHz. They have also launched a product called the ViaLite System Designer Tool. This is an entirely new concept in the industry. ViaLite has taken their IP and know-how to build a cloud based software tool that the customer can access and use for simple links to long distance (> 100 km) type solutions.

With these types of systems, one has to design in multiplexers, optical switches, optical amplifiers, and so on, must be designed — normally, the customer is unable to do such design work easily, so ViaLite has tried to incorporate all of this into a single software tool.

ViaLite’s ODE-Mini.

Over the next months, ViaLite will be expanding on this approach of using software to help customers with both the design of products and use/application in their daily operations. As a trend, the company has typically been seen as a hardware business, but they are envisioning a need for the use of software to expedite the design and make the systems more operationally efficient.

For example, the System Designer tool can be used for site diversity system architecture design and, in the future, ViaLite also expects to expand its operational software to assist the site diversity switch over decision process.

Richard shared that the industry is on the cusp of seeing how the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite rollout will evolve. When the firm looks at the press, the coverage has been on what the constellations looks like in the sky, but not so much on the ground-based equipment. The development of ground station gateways and how to make them efficient will be important to observe.

Expanding the ViaLite product range toward that goal — they are determining how to scale their business and how to make it into a form factor that is usable for LEO.

The demand ViaLite is receiving for LEO is reflected via the ViaLite development of the ODE-Mini (ViaLite’s smallest, most economical and versatile enclosure).

Richard said that a huge factor of the success for any business is customer support:

ViaLite’s customer support consists of two parts: (1) a human element and (2) an automated diagnostics element.

ViaLite maintains a customer support engineering team that is hired specifically for after-sales delivery and operations, available for clients.

The ViaLite’s Horizons SNMP product has event reports included in them in the software and maintains a history of issues that have occurred in the system over time. This can be downloaded by the customer into a file and emailed to them if there are ever any issues that need to
be addressed.

Richard explained that IBC is great for them as it covers many of their markets; satellite communications, outside broadcast, timing and non-commercial defense applications. Additionally, many of their customers also attend this event, so ViaLite attends to make certain the company stays relevant to their customers .

Richard commented they bring sales and marketing people, as well as Product Managers to the show. The product managers track the conversations they have with customers to better understand how their products fit into a full solution and how they can ensure that their products better fit their customers’ needs.

The broadcast side of the business tends to increase and decrease, based on large events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup. When one of those events is scheduled, such as the Olympics in 2020, more traffic is experienced at IBC which, overall, has a positive effect on the company’s business.