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YIR: Orbit Technology Group
by Yossi Levy, Senior V.P., Sales, Marketing & Business Development

2008: Orbit Technology group designs manufactures and sells three different product lines: Mobile Stabilized SatCom Systems, Tracking Systems, and Audio Management Systems. Orbit was established 50 years ago and has been in the communication business ever since. Their portfolio is rich and versatile and is based on in-house engineering and scientific know-how that has been developed and nourished over the years, to become what it is today — the foundation of its market leadership, product superiority and their level of advanced technology.

As for the Marine Mobile SatCom field, Orbit maintains a full range of Mobile Stabilized Antenna Systems that vary in antenna sizes, Frequency of Operations and more. This portfolio is used to provide solutions to almost any possible marine satcom application.

Satellite Communications (SatCom) is a dynamic field that is continuously developing in response to the changing market needs. Additionally, the satcom market has to adjust to the recent global economic meltdown. Orbit, as a major player in the satcom market, has been able to maintain leadership position in the marketplace, and is looking forward to reaching new benchmarks.

Though the global economic downturn has impacted everyone, Orbit has been able to continue building, developing, and solidifying its offerings and services. This year we continued to build on the success of the OrSat antenna system that has now established itself as the leading 1.15m Ku Band Stabilized Antenna System. In fact, over the past two years, OrSat established a unique status for an antenna of its size, gaining EutelSat, IntelSat, and Anatel approvals. These very important approvals eliminate the need to individually verify the RF performance of each satcom system prior to entering into operation with each of the satellite operators (OrSat's latest achievement, the Anatel type approval, affords service providers the ability to use OrSat in Brazilian waters immediately). OrSat is now ready for use as a global Ku satcom system, which makes it the only antenna system in the world of its size that has been fully tested on the global route as well as type approved by all satellite companies that cover this route.

We also continue to expand our Advanced Service Centers (ASC) around the world with a new center in England and various joint projects with European companies. All meant to ensure a level of service to our customers commensurate with our products’ performance — anytime, anywhere on the globe.

In addition to our main thrust of activity, marine satcom, Orbit continues to develop its other two satcom product lines for airborne applications and for trains, proudly positioning itself as a one-stop-shop for all satcom solutions — one of the only companies in the world that develops in-house all the different satcom solutions for marine, air and ground – leveraging knowhow from one product line to the other and establishing a technological leadership and technical expertise.

Last, but not least, Orbit is also developing, manufacturing and selling two other product lines: tracking systems and Avionics and Communications Systems (ACS). The first is being used for point-to-point connections (shore-to-sea or sea-to-sea), telemetry tracking, radar systems, surveillance applications and commercial weather tracking systems. While the second offering Audio Management Systems is for aircraft and naval applications.

There have been challenges, as well as technological advances, over the past 12 months. The widespread of the Internet and the ever increasing demand by end users to be connected, every-time and every-where, is slowly but surely penetrating into the mobile satellite communication world in the air, train and ground platforms, and especially in marine applications. Moreover, in today's modern digital communication environment, broadband connectivity at an affordable cost is no longer a "wish" but rather a necessity.

The marine satcom market has developed faster than those of the air and ground applications, primarily due to the fact that trip duration at sea is significantly longer than that of air or land resulting in the marine market demand being much greater. In addition, the early implementation of mobile satcom solutions called for larger antennas needed in order to comply with the basic standards and satellite regulations that existed then. This meant that they were applicable only for larger vessels such as oil rigs, tankers, cargo ships, ferries, and others typical in the marine environment.

This market demand and the obvious business opportunities motivate mobile satcom antenna vendors to develop systems that are smaller in size so that they can fit into smaller vessels. This, in turn, enlarges the potential market that can now include an increasing number of smaller vessels. In fact, in the last few years, several small sized Ku-band antennas have become available at a relatively low cost, opening a broadband channel to smaller sized vessels. These vessels consequently, can now enjoy always-on Internet connectivity at reasonable prices.

Orbit has devoted itself to become a one-stop-shop for all marine, air and ground satcom applications. As such, we have developed our portfolio to include almost all possible antenna systems that are proudly and efficiently serving different markets like cargo, fishing, oil & gas, cruise liners and more. In addition, Orbit is fully aware of the market demands and has invested, especially in the past 12 months, a large portion of its R&D resources in the following:
  • Securing a full portfolio for marine satcom applications, a wide variety of systems that fit any possible application
  • Approvals for the antennas by as many satellite operators and regulatory organizations as possible
  • Adaptation of design to fit global Ku applications
  • Testing of the antenna system in worldwide global testing projects

Orbit is primarily a research and development company with full in-house expertise and capabilities. This means that we can ensure full control over the entire process from initial concept and design solutions to production, installation, service and maintenance. Because of the breadth of expertise we have in-house and the range of marine, air and land solutions we offer our clients around the globe, we can adapt quickly to changes and offer cutting edge technology coupled with the business practices that ensure maximized value for our customers.

As a research and development company with the ability to offer a complete solution for each client, Orbit has been working on meeting changing needs and market realities for years. We have been engaged in developing and offering systems designed to meet all these objectives. This has earned us a position as a leader in the industry. We are able to offer a range of unique products backed by an equally unique combination of type approvals and Ku-Band capability.

We offer OrSat with its industry unique combination of type approvals, as a global Ku coverage ready system, which is backed by real worldwide testing and performance record. In order to achieve this distinction, OrSat capitalized on its selection by a multinational international consortium of market leaders for a unique field test. OrSat has successfully completed this rigorous field test on board a tanker that traveled from a northwestern European port through the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, the Indian Ocean, to Yokohama, Japan, and back. Throughout the voyage, OrSat demonstrated flawless connectivity with seamless roaming between satellites on the route. During the entire journey personnel on board enjoyed uninterrupted, full satellite communication connectivity via Internet, engendering enthusiastic responses from the crew. All this was done without having to change or replace any parts in the system, and without further human intervention.

The ability to get type approvals, so critical for users, depends on a balance of elements working in concert. These are: antenna size, the quality of the RF system, and the system’s production repeatability capability, as well as its dynamic and tracking performance properties. The difficulty in attaining the balance required, by having to meet satellite regulations while keeping dimensions small, is challenging. Orbit’s OrSat can offer a combination of approvals, connectivity, and size.

2009: We are continuing to build on the success of all of our systems and products to date. In the coming year Orbit will unveil several important projects boasting new technologies as well as expanded partnerships and cooperation agreements.

Early in 2009 Orbit will unveil a new, small maritime stabilized antenna system. This is a 60 cm Ku-Band antenna ready for Global-Ku coverage and intended specifically for small platforms.

Later in the year, we plan to unveil our new and unique satcom solution, a Stabilized Mobile Satcom Antenna that is specifically designed for trains. This product represents a real breakthrough in the field with no matching competitive alternatives on the market. The new system has already been successfully tested and approved by a leading European rail service provider. We take great pride in being the first company to offer this exciting product that was conceived from its inception specifically for use on trains. Additionally, this product underscores our continued collaboration with partner companies as it is the result of a joint development with a European company. We expect our collaboration trend to continue and grow in the future. Feedback from users testing the system has been great with train travelers enjoying uninterrupted Internet service. We are so confident of this system’s performance that we have geared up for an increased system rollout, and we expect it to become a world leader among on board satcom train systems. Shortly following product launch, our systems should begin to appear on trains throughout Europe.

We are making certain that Orbit is ready to capitalize on the industry trend of sharply increasing consumer demand for satellite communication connectivity to be available to all, anywhere, any time, under all circumstances, in every environment, and for every platform. The coming year should see an even greater leap in technology as well leading to smaller, yet more powerful systems, installed on a greater variety of platforms. In order to meet the technological, quantitative, and geographical challenges presented by the marketplace, 2009 will also be characterized by an increase in the collaborations of companies from around the globe, as everyone recognizes the need to marshal resources and streamline operations in a global marketplace and for a world made increasingly small by ever more capable communications systems. We at Orbit are ready and poised to meet the coming challenges with new technologies, full regulation compliance, and new products.

About the author
Mr. Levy is an Admiral (Ret’) of the Israeli Navy. He served in his last position as Deputy Chief of the Navy. Mr. Levy joined Orbit in November 2005 as VP Business Development and in 2006 added the Sales & Marketing Department to his responsibilities. Prior to his present assignment, Mr. Levy held various senior management positions in the public and Hi-tech worlds gaining vast experience in the field of business management. He brings extensive leadership experience as well as management abilities to Orbit. Admiral Levy is a graduate of Naval War College from Newport R.I, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Derby.

About the company
For more than 50 years, the Orbit Group has met the stringent demands of the world’s leading defense and commercial communication leaders. The Group is active in three core businesses within the framework of wholly-owned Group subsidiaries. They are engaged in a wide variety of state-of-the-art communications technologies. With in-house development and production capabilities, Orbit Group members can swiftly and cost-effectively customize solutions to customer demands. Avionics & Communication Systems Business Line specializes in digital and analog audio communication systems, command and control systems, digital and analog audio matrix as well as power supplies. Marine Business Line offers marine stabilized TVRO and Tx/RX satellite communication VSAT systems for TV, data, internet, video conferencing, telephone and fax. Tracking Business Line is noted for major sub-systems, such as pedestals, controllers, servo amplifiers, antennas and RF equipment, as well as complete turnkey tracking systems.