In the satellite industry, we have been talking about change for years—about a bold new chapter in our story where innovation will accelerate, and new markets and applications will redefine opportunity.
To prepare for this era, we have seen the launch of ambitious Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations, the strategic planning of 5G working groups, the redesign of satellite antennas for a new range of mobility use cases, the consolidation of key industry players and more.
Clearly, we are crossing a divide. In one sense, it’s a divide of scale. Today, we chart opportunity in terms of thousands of network sites and hundreds of megabytes on a remote. We define manageability in terms of provisioning.
We view interoperability in terms of network management and billing systems. As we shift our attention to future growth plans, we need to think in terms of millions of sites, gigabytes of throughput per remote, true service orchestration within an end-to-end telecom network, service that expands across satellite orbits and access technologies that roam across waveforms and third-party networks.
In another sense, we need to cross over into a new spirit of market readiness. Now is the time to make big moves into the future. Players in the industry must be able to face a larger, more dynamic market with higher stakes. To see a sustainable and substantial return on investment, companies will need to capture revenue quickly and on a larger scale than they have before.
We made our big move this year. In October, ST Engineering officially acquired Newtec and integrated the business with ST Engineering iDirect. With this acquisition, two powerful market leaders have come together to evolve into one dynamic team.
For our customers, this means greater value now and into the future. With our combined strengths, we can better lead our clients and the satellite industry to future market opportunities.
The Evolution of Product and People
Although historically ST Engineering iDirect and Newtec have been competitors, both companies have developed complementary strengths that have evolved from a shared focus on innovation and customers. In particular, ST Engineering iDirect brings together Newtec’s innovations in performance and efficiency with iDirect’s innovations in networking and mobility.
For our customers, this means access to an expanded product portfolio and to a wealth of expertise. With our combined product solutions, we can build pathways into a broader range of markets than either company could serve on its own.
This new scale will also allow us to dive deeper into current markets — such as aero, cellular backhaul and media — and enable emerging markets and applications, such as land mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT). As a result, we will be able to serve our customers as a single partner that provides technology solutions, market strategy, custom consulting and more.
Of course, none of these achievements would be possible without the right people. Our combined world-class engineering team has the knowledge and skill sets necessary to develop solutions for the future. This will greatly accelerate our time to market so we can keep pace with where new market opportunity is heading.
With our new scale and capabilities, backed by a global, high-touch sales force, we can serve customers no matter what their business model, company size, industry or goals.
We will continue to work closely with customers to help them evolve with the best technology solutions at the right costs, addressing the unique challenges and opportunities emerging in our industry.
Expanding the iQ Series and Driving Customer Growth
This year, we were also busy with other developments that lay the groundwork for industry change.
2019 saw the introduction of Evolution® 4.1.3 software, our go-to release that rounds out the advanced capabilities of our iQ Series remotes through additional features such as 16QAM and AES encryption.
We are achieving the ultimate balance of speed and efficiency to serve markets that demand a cost-effective and high-performance solution.
Building on this momentum, we launched several new remote solutions:
- The iDirect iQ LTE, a software-defined hybrid modem that offers high-efficiency connectivity over satellite or LTE
- The iQ 200 for enterprise and maritime customers
- And the iQ 200 with iDirect SatHaul XE, which provides a cost-effective, high-performance solution for 2G/3G/4G networks within the cellular backhaul market
In 2019, we also expanded our iQ Series on the iDirect Velocity® platform. With the release of iDirect Velocity 2.0, we brought the iQ 200 and iQ LTE, as well as enhanced features such as Layer 2 over Satellite and advanced beam switching, to satellite operators so they can deploy managed services in enterprise, cellular backhaul and maritime markets.
Several of our customers around the world embraced the iQ Series to launch new networks and capture fast-growing opportunities.
- STC Solutions (STCS) adopted the iQ Series this year to launch the first iDirect DVB-S2X network in the Middle East.
- Castor Marine in the Netherlands upgraded its global maritime Ku-band network to support all of its vessels using iDirect iQ 200 remotes.
- Vivacom, the largest telecommunications provider in Bulgaria, also announced it will launch a DVB-S2X maritime service leveraging iQ 200 Series remotes.
- AiTelecom debuted the first iDirect DVB-S2X network in Mexico, using iQ Series remotes across a wide range of enterprise markets.
- IP Access International, which runs the largest satellite network for emergency responders in the U.S., shared plans to integrate the iDirect iQ 200 Board and Evolution 4.1.3 into its HARRIER terminal, a portable and hybrid communications solution for first responders.
A Milestone Year for Newtec
For Newtec, 2019 was a year full of innovation and great success.
In May, Newtec extended its partnership with Marlink to future-proof the company’s global VSAT network through its Newtec Dialog® platform.
Telenor Satellite also expanded its offerings with Newtec to satisfy rising demand from its customers for higher throughput maritime services on its THOR 7 Ka-band High Throughput Satellite with the Newtec Dialog® platform.
At IBC 2019, Newtec teamed up with DVB-I, an initiative to develop technical standards for delivering television services over IP, to showcase the future of universal over-the-top (OTT) television services.
The DVB-I demonstration utilized Newtec’s MCX7000 Multi-Carrier Satellite Gateway as a receiver and revealed the “single hybrid offering” that DVB-I brings. Historically, satellite has been overlooked as an enabler of OTT services, but its synonymity with broadcast and its capability to deliver high-quality, reliable transmissions anywhere makes it ideal to enable universal OTT television services.
Newtec also continued on its mission to connect the unconnected. Newtec deployed a Newtec Dialog® hub for the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE), which will enable the organization to extend access to residential broadband to at least 6,000 users.
Newtec also provided a Newtec Dialog® to SATSOL, a teleport and Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the Solomon Islands, to help connect remote inhabitants.
The platform also was selected by broadband satellite operator Kacific for its new high throughput satellite, Kacific1, to significantly expand broadband service delivery in underserved areas of Southeast Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Newtec was excited to sponsor the Leuven-based Belgian Agoria Solar team this year on their Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a 3000 km race across Australia powered entirely by the sun. With the help of Newtec and a few other project partners, the team had access to SATCOM-On-The-Move (SOTM) to adjust their navigation and route planning based on the most up-to-date weather patterns.
The team was also able to live stream video interviews and backhaul action video clips to its thousands of followers — sharing every moment of their journey with their online audience.
Driving the Upcoming Era of Innovation
Throughout 2019, both iDirect and Newtec pushed the industry toward a satcom-5G enabled future through involvement with various consortiums and initiatives, with several successful milestone demonstrations providing proof-of-concepts for the integration of satellites into a 5G testbed.
In 2019, ST Engineering iDirect expanded our participation in global initiatives to prove the value that satellite connectivity can bring to a 5G network model.
We teamed up with key SaT5G members at EuCNC 2019 to demo high-speed video streaming over a 5G multi-link satellite and terrestrial network.
At the FOKUS FUSECO Forum, we partnered with key SATis5 members to bring to life Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and
Meanwhile, Newtec played a key role in the world’s first demonstration of 5G backhaul over a LEO satellite with global satellite operator, Telesat, Vodafone and the University of Surrey.
Heading into 2020
At ST Engineering iDirect, we are crossing into 2020 ready to take our customers further into the future.
We will set our sights on building our expanded areas of expertise into a converged technology offering to amplify opportunity in our customers’ core markets and to enable new applications with a focus on mobility, global defense, IoT and smart nations.
2019 was truly a remarkable year, and each member of our newly expanded team is brimming with focused energy and a deeper commitment to our ambitious customers.
Our goal is to create the world’s most advanced satellite ground infrastructure — uniting our technology heritage and passion for innovation — to deliver far more than the company could previously ever have considered possible.