October 13, 2020

Sensemaking: Humanify Tech To Thrive


Technology has become part of our lives, yet it is something that we often separate from the ‘human’ element of our lives. How do we relate the technology to us as human beings? It’s an interesting question that our parent company, ST Engineering identified as the result of a survey it conducted into the market. The aim of the survey was to better understand how to promote its collective family of companies and technologies, advance as a thought leader and engage with customers – all during a pandemic.

The major theme that came out of the survey was ‘Sensemaking’. What does it all mean? How do we unify emerging technologies using experimental thinking to develop solutions and products to sense, connect and act, whilst adding the human element into how we use technology so we can develop smarter, safer and more sustainable solutions. The result was an event, or more accurately, a marathon that featured a grand total of 38 experts from around the ST Engineering family that shared their expertise and insights into 28 use cases across 6 humanify tech tracks, all held within a 13-hour virtual event on September 10.

SensemakingOne of those experts was our Head of International Government Satcom, Koen Willems. Koen took to the virtual stage to discuss how new ways are being sought to deliver efficient and effective high-speed connectivity services to all parts of the world and how satellite and terrestrial technology can work together in government and mobile use cases. In terms of future technology, the key enabler will be 5G.

Given the global demand for broadband services, 3G and 4G networks are struggling under the strain. The amount of video traffic and other applications both established and emerging, is on an upwards trajectory. Secondly, there is the need to support and create services for the Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M applications for a plethora of use cases including Smart Factories, Smart Grids for power and water and gas supplies and healthcare. Not only is 5G held up as an enabler to improve business processes, but it can also be used to improve our quality of life.

Koen made a bold statement during the event. He said that: “In future all communications will become wireless. Maybe you will still see some fiber for backbone networks, but apart from that … wireless communications will become the de facto standard.”

To bring us to this point in the 5G wireless revolution, however, there must be convergence of technologies and standardization. ST Engineering iDirect has been spearheading the role of satellite in 5G, participating in consortia to set standards for 5G because satellite has an integral role to play. Satellite can be used in more densely populated areas for broadcast and back-up applications. However, move out from the towns and cities, and satellite will be essential to connect remote and rural locations, vessels, planes and other types of transport.

Though it can sometimes be difficult to unite technology with us as human beings, there is a very strong and important connection. Technology empowers us on many different levels.

Previously, satellite networks linked to 3G/4G networks were mainly dedicated to cellular backhaul, trunking and disaster recovery networks. However, in 5G we see many more use cases appearing for satellite communications. They include government and military applications, Smart Defence and Smart Nation applications, healthcare, education, mobility, border security – these are all becoming part of a nation-wide network based on a combination of terrestrial and satellite communication technologies. Satellite is also going to be pivotal for connectivity in remote areas and for first responder services in times of crisis.

Though it can sometimes be difficult to unite technology with us as human beings, there is a very strong and important connection. Technology empowers us on many different levels.

We were proud to join the wider ST Engineering family – a global technology, defence and engineering powerhouse. It was a privilege to see renowned global futurists, customers and experts brought together in this Summit, sharing practical information on AI in C3, Robotics, Cyber, Cloud, IoT, 5G and 3D Simulations insights, and use cases, to effect human-first tech collaboration.

Watch Koen’s participation at the event here and learn more about the ways in which technology enriches our lives.