by Moe Abutaleb, President and CEO, and Michael Pollack, V.P., Sales and Marketing
2008: Space-segment shortages over the past year demonstrate that demand for satellite services and networks is still strong and certain regions appear to show no sign of decline despite the current economic climate. As an example, Euroconsult recently confirmed that media, military and telecom customers in the Middle East and North Africa are providing more demand than supply for satellite capacity to deliver digital broadcast services. Meanwhile, the Comsys VSAT Report offers extensive research that is optimistic about the both the growth in demand for services and upcoming advances in new technology.
While the trends in the satcom industry have been well documented, the trends in the U.S. Federal Government contracting market are not as intuitive due to myriad events over the past year. One trend that is certain is the growing importance of small business participation in government contracting and the commitment by the government to set aside more than 20 percent of all contracting work to small businesses. As an established and experienced small business with proven performance in satcom integration and managed VSAT services, the government can reap the benefits of small business credits while receiving high quality services.
In 2008, UltiSat continued to build on the previous year's success, which included a large multiregional contract for an international nongovernmental organization (NGO), the provision of numerous transportable and flyaway terminals, and the selection to participate on several government contract vehicles including the GSA SATCOM-II contract. UltiSat designed and deployed a significant worldwide VSAT network employing a diverse organization that demonstrated it is one of the few companies able to provide truly global service for end-to-end managed VSAT networks. We took less than 12 months to complete the migration of a global network that spanned all continents and included locations ranging from densely populated urban areas to remote islands. UltiSat not only provided satellite coverage and equipment, but also the personnel, access, logistics, technical support, maintenance and telecom licenses agreements, and ongoing support and maintenance necessary to operate the network.
Besides the military and its contractors, one of the opportunities that we see is in multiregional networks for a number of market sectors. From mineral exploration to humanitarian organizations to the military, there is an increasing need for networks that can link widely dispersed sites not only to the home base, but also to each other. Challenges for provisioning these networks are not confined to personnel, equipment, and infrastructure, but also include the ability to coordinate access, licenses, and the requisite host-nation approvals. However, we believe that for companies with this expertise there are opportunities to be had in this market.
Our aim is to provide premium customer service with tender loving care (TLC). As a small business, we have the advantage of a nimble and flexible organization that can respond to customer needs quickly. Our size allows us to make sure we fit the network needs to the equipment and to this end we make our services vendor transparent as well as technology agnostic. Additionally, we recognize that satellite, wireless and fiber offer different value propositions and so we will continue to offer hybrid networks, including MLPS fiber networks, that use the most effective mix of these technologies for our customers.
2009: Clearly the current economic crisis presents many challenges for everyone and the effect that it will have on our industry has yet to be measured. The credit crunch makes it harder for customers to purchase infrastructure and for satellite companies to get financing for expansion. Likewise the capacity shortage demonstrates demand, but as Comsys again notes ... the general lack of availability looks like it has already depressed sales and is likely to continue to do so for the next 1 to 2 years. However, there are certain segments of the market will continue to need service whatever the fiscal climate and we believe that there will be abundant opportunities in 2009.
Demand for higher speed networking and video-based applications will continue to contribute to capacity shortages, but additional capacity is imminent in the form of newer technologies and new satellite launches in various bands (such as X-band and Ka-band). Furthermore, more efficient networking techniques and platforms are being introduced, more efficient equipment is coming to market, and next-generation systems are being evolving from their legacy predecessors.
In addition, hybrid systems will continue to increase as customers recognize that the coverage of satellite combined with the cost-effectiveness of fiber offer a great ROI for certain applications. In addition, terrestrial providers will continue to look to the satellite sector to provide them with high-value services, but increasingly we think that satellite-service providers will have even greater opportunity to offer service directly to governmental, NGOs, and commercial organizations.
As we look forward to another productive year in 2009, we acknowledge that the strength of our organization is in its people and our partners. We strive to continue to offer ingenuity and creativity on behalf of our customers, in hand with unmatched customer care and responsiveness, top quality project performance, and innovative solutions.
About the authors
A cofounder of UltiSat, Moe Abutaleb has been involved in various segments of the telecommunications industry since 1977. During these years, he has participated in and managed the definition, development, and implementation of numerous satellite and wireless communications networks and products. Abutaleb cofounded Innovative Communications Technologies, Inc. (ICTI) in 1989. As president of ICTI, he managed the systematic and progressive growth of this self-financed start-up,including the sale of ICTI to a publicly traded corporation in 1999. Abutaleb is a coauthor on several patents and holds a MSEE degree, with emphasis in communications and microelectronics.
Michael Pollack brings more than 17 Years experience to his role as UltiSat vice president of sales and marketing. Pollack most recently served as vice president for government sales at Advantech Satellite Networks, where he was responsible for business development, sales, and technical marketing activities. Prior to that, Pollack spent more than a decade at Hughes (formerly Hughes Network Systems) where he had responsibility for growing business in the US government sector worldwide. In addition, Pollack has similar roles in development business and sales opportunities in the countries of the former Soviet Union and in Latin America. Pollack speaks frequently at industry conferences and has a BSEE and an MSEE.
About the company
A global satellite communications solutions provider, UltiSat, has designed, integrated, deployed, maintained, and operated advanced solutions for government and commercial customers in more than 100 countries on six continents, including dozens of remote islands. To implement its solutions, UltiSat provides a comprehensive portfolio of system integration services that encompass the lifecycle a complex satellite communications network. UltiSat makes design and implementation decisions based on each customers unique needs and its customer-centric philosophy offers you a nimble, conscientious partner to achieve your communication goals.