by Erik Ceuppens, CEO
2008: The European mobile satellite services (MSS) sector experienced significant growth during the first half of 2008 and this is set to continue into 2009. We can say this specifically for on-demand MSS services in the three key market segments, which are maritime, land and aeronautical. This is the first time that we are seeing growth on all three, which is very positive.
At Vizada we partner with multiple satellite network operators (SNOs) to offer customers in each of these segments with more choice in terms of MSS services. So right now were well placed to tap into that growth.
On the maritime market, growth is spurred by the increase in trade and maritime transport as well as the number of new-builds. These new-builds require communications systems, which is where we come in. Our customers such as V.Ships and Cosco are among the worlds largest shipping companies and we have developed a specific offering for them, meeting their needs in terms of cost-efficiency and remote control of operations. Were seeing an increasing need for data connectivity from services like Inmarsat FleetBroadband or the upcoming Iridium OpenPort, as well as for crew calling solutions. And crew no longer wants to be able to just make phone calls, they also want to stay in contact via email and Internet. Vizadas Universal Card provides voice and data communications in one prepaid card that can be used on over both Inmarsat and Iridium terminals.
On the land segment, growth has been strong and even higher than industry forecasts, and driven more by data than voice. The Inmarsat BGAN service, for example, has seen very strong uptake during H1. Media companies were typically the first adopters as BGAN allowed them to report on events in ways that they were not able to do previously. A good example of this is the coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in 2006 which earned our customer CNN and Vizada two IBC awards. Pictured receiving the award, from left to right, are: Dick Tauber, V.P., Transmission Systems & New Technology for the CNN News Group; Tim Young, Director, Satellite Phone Solutions, L-3 Global Communications Solutions (GCS); Arnie Christianson, Operations Manager, CNN Satellites & Transmissions; Eric Verheylewegen, V.P., Commercial Sales, Vizada Americas; Sardy Bernard, Senior Technical Architect, CNN.
But now were really seeing a significant increase in uptake of BGAN among government agencies and the military as well as oil & gas companies amongst others. And of course between mining employees, government agency representatives, NGO workers and journalists, you obviously have a very different set of communications needs, so we combine BGAN with our portfolio of Vizada SolutionsTM which cover messaging software, prepaid cards for crew and troop welfare, applications to increase communications security, and so on.
In the aeronautical market, demand is being driven by two main elements: like maritime customers there is an increasing need for data connectivity; and passenger communications represents also an interesting opportunity right now. We are currently conducting the first commercial trials of cabin communications solutions with key partners, and I believe this is an interesting market evolution to follow in upcoming months.
A key focus for us is to introduce and develop new broadband and IP-based services and solutions, as we see a real increase in the need for high-speed connectivity in many different sectors. Our offering already includes a number of key broadband services such as Inmarsat BGAN on land and Inmarsat Fleet at sea, and we will continue to extend our portfolio later this year and next with the Iridium OpenPort maritime solution as well as ThurayaIP.
At the same time, we have a great deal of in-house broadband and IP expertise, and have developed a range of interconnection solutions that are designed to meet varying needs in terms of quality, flexibility, security and bandwidth. Whats more these solutions are available over multiple satellite network services, and I believe this will be a key driver in the development of broadband in the MSS industry.
With specific reference to the MSS industry, I can say that after many years operating in a very competitive environment, Im looking forward to a business driven by product innovation: one that provides real value to our customers. Satellite services have become so much more affordable that now I think it is time to capitalize on the expertise we have in the industry and ensure that it is innovation that will drive further demand for mobile satellite services, rather than price.
The way in which we can create value for customers is by driving the MSS industry towards greater simplicity and accessibility. This means making the services and solutions we provide easier to use and to integrate into our customers business operations.
Vizada has some of the best networking experts in the industry with the ability to seamlessly integrate MSS services and solutions into our customers network. This way we ensure that satcoms are an essential building block forming an integral part of a complete communications solution.
2009: We need to make sure that as a company we capture the growth opportunities that Ive just outlined. Vizada has more market share on more satellite networks than any other provider, so we are already in a strong position to meet the needs of the customers I mentioned the shipping companies and charterers, the many different land-based customers with remote connectivity needs, and the airlines and aircraft operators. We partner with the MSS industrys top operators to ensure providing the best and widest range of mobile communications solutions on the market.
We are also operating in a highly-competitive and dynamic marketplace with multiple providers, but we set ourselves apart not only through our unique product portfolio that Ive just mentioned, but also through our indirect sales strategy. In this industry which is both global in that we serve customers in many countries worldwide, but also in terms of their communications requirements its a key strength for us to be supported by our global network of service provider partners. They bring us vital expertise and know-how through local market presence, and play an essential role in extending the reach of our services.
About the company
Vizada is the worldwide leading provider of mobile satellite communications, with more than $400 million in 2007 revenue and more market share on more satellite networks than any other satellite communications provider in the world. Customers include commercial, military and business aircraft companies, merchant shipping vessels, emergency response teams, government and military units, media organizations, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations). We offer our customers mobile communications services using multiple satellite network operators, including Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya. Gateway access is made possible through the Vizada Global Teleport Network, four state-of-the-art facilities strategically positioned around the world. In addition, we provide Vizada Solutions, leading-edge technologies which enhance our basic connectivity services on land, at sea and in flight. Vizada has regional sales offices on four continents and is supported by a global alliance of more than 500 Service Provider partners located in key markets worldwide.