Home >> November 2019 Edition >> A Fusing of Expertise: A chat with Kevin Steen and Thomas Van den Driessche,
A Fusing of Expertise: A chat with Kevin Steen and Thomas Van den Driessche,
Kevin Steen is President and Chief Executive Officer, ST Engineering iDirect and Thomas Van den Driessche, President of the Executive Strategic Board and Chief Commercial Officer, ST Engineering iDirect


The satellite industry is undergoing significant evolution. While there’s more opportunity than ever for growth, service providers and operators require virtualization for scale and accelerated technology transformation to remain competitive and enter new markets.

As a result, two industry-leading companies, ST Engineering iDirect and Newtec, have come together to combine their talents, uniquely positioning them to become one of the most influential and important companies in the satellite industry.

Historically, you have been competitors. How do you plan on bringing the companies together?

Kevin Steen.

Kevin Steen
We’ve been competitive in the past, but our companies actually complement each other in several ways. We both have teams striving for innovation. We both have a strong focus on the customer. We share similar go-to-market strategies.

These strengths are nicely complemented by Newtec’s pioneering innovations in performance and efficiency. This acquisition brings two powerful market leaders together into a fully integrated, single, dynamic new force in the ground infrastructure market.

I know that jointly we can build the world’s most advanced satellite ground capabilities with customers’ success in mind.

Thomas Van den

Thomas Van den Driessche
As Kevin mentioned, ST Engineering iDirect and Newtec are similar in many ways. We have been working toward a similar vision, on complementary technologies, with common business goals. However, by bringing together our innovations and our platforms, we will be able to reach further than either company could on its own.

This merger will give us momentum to deliver the best possible solutions to the market, to lead in the innovation and transformation of the SATCOM industry. Overall, this merger is a gain for both companies and, more importantly, our customers.

How will this merger affect your technology strategy?

Kevin Steen
This is a great time of transformation for both companies, as well as our industry. Therefore, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to all sit down, look at all of our products and offerings, and identify how to leverage them to best serve our customers’ needs.

Generally, we’ll be combining the complementary strengths of each: our unparalleled networking and mobility features and Newtec’s exceptional performance and efficiency. This combination gives us the scale to accelerate our technology strategy and deliver products to market faster than was previously possible.

By building our different areas of expertise into a converged technology offering, we will be at the forefront of industry transformation, especially as it relates to 5G, to enable new applications with a focus on mobility, global defense, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart nations.

Thomas Van den Driessche
We’re creating a new, unified organization that leverages the best of both companies and sheds the legacies of each.

We have already started moving toward greater platform virtualization. Over the next few years, we will shift our technology from hardware-based to software-based solutions. That will enable further integration and more rapid feature development.

We will also work toward full convergence through a common, cloud-based, multi-orbit, multi-access technology platform. In this way, we aim to create a unified technology strategy.

Our combined product portfolio will also allow us to grow our market position, allow our customers to offer new services, and allow the ecosystem to expand for everyone.

What does this merger mean for your customers?

Thomas Van den Driessche
Our number one focus is to ensure the best path for our existing customers so that they realize the benefits of our joint capabilities with minimal operational disruption.

In the near term, customers can expect three things: An enhanced and integrated product portfolio leveraging each company’s technological strengths; quicker time to market with new innovation; and expanded access to growth markets, from fixed and mobility segments to ultra-high throughput broadcast and low-bandwidth, high-volume IoT segments.







Kevin Steen
Customers can expect the same customer-focused service and passion for innovation that they experienced from both companies beforehand. In the grand scheme of things, we can simply serve our customers to a greater degree than ever before.

With ST Engineering iDirect, customers will gain access to a partner with the scale needed to succeed in our ever-changing market.

The company will now be able to offer a wider breadth of integrated capabilities and offerings, that can innovate at an accelerated pace required by the transforming industry, to proactively meet needs across multiple market segments.

What are the main goals of ST Engineering iDirect moving forward?

Thomas Van den Driessche
We want to create the industry leading platform and be the preferred technology solution provider for all space-based telecommunications services. That means offering a variety of business and operational models.

We will develop leading products and turnkey solutions that span from baseband to converged virtual infrastructure. When it comes down to it, all of our integration efforts, new strategies and innovations have the ultimate goal of better serving our customers’ needs as the industry evolves.

Kevin Steen
This acquisition was a bold move with the intention to bring two satellite industry leaders together. As a unified force, we are in the perfect position moving forward to expand the market so the entire ecosystem can innovate.

Like Thomas said, our mission is straightforward: We want to create the world’s most advanced satellite ground capabilities to enable our customers’ continued growth and success.