April 11, 2024

The Three Biggest Moments of SATELLITE 2024

Don Claussen at Satellite 2024

By Don Claussen, CEO, ST Engineering iDirect

It’s hard to believe SATELLITE 2024 has come and gone. It was a milestone event for ST Engineering iDirect as we introduced our next generation ground system, branded Intuition, to the market. It was incredibly gratifying to stand in front of several hundred customers, colleagues, partners, and friends moments after the tradeshow opened to unveil Intuition. If you missed it, allow me to recap the story here.

The introduction of Intuition

Intuition is an advanced satellite networking ground system based on a virtualized, cloud-native, standards-based, multi-orbit architecture. It represents a fundamental change in how satellite networks will be deployed. And it comes at a very timely moment, because the satcom industry is entering a new growth surge.

iDirect Intuition unveiled at Satellite 2024Intuition will do a lot of things for our customers: enable them to scale rapidly and more cost-effectively; improve the speed and flexibility of service delivery; integrate with mobile wireless networks; harness capacity from satellites across multiple orbits; and unlock new revenue opportunities.

But I want to stress a strategic aspect of Intuition that really sets it apart. When a business faces rapid growth, you need to ask how well it can handle that growth. Answering that question requires us to look at a company’s operations. With Intuition, we’ve anticipated a future state for our customers where they are scaling rapidly and what challenges they will face with this growth.

If you think about a connectivity network, it’s in continually changing, adjusting to constant demands, from so many directions. That will only accelerate as networks scale and support more end users with ever-diversifying needs. Intuition will learn and anticipate, understand patterns in the network, to drive decision making in this environment of increasing complexity. It is the necessary ground segment counterpart to make to make satellite networks intuitive, adaptive, and flexible.

Another important aspect of Intuition is that it builds on years of ground segment innovation that underpins some of the world’s largest VSAT networks. It unifies iDirect’s industry-best technologies with new technology innovations – and will evolve as the connectivity landscape changes, as new challenges surface, new opportunities arise, new innovations are introduced.

So, that was moment one: the introduction of Intuition.

Proof of concept demonstrations

iDirect Intuition at Satellite 2024Moment two was closely related, because at SATELLITE, we got to showcase Intuition in action to our customers and partners through three proof of concept demonstrations.

Our demos showed how we’re virtualizing the network processing functions of our hub technology to run in an Azure Cloud environment. We gave tours of Intuition’s advanced Network Management System, running in the AWS cloud. And we demonstrated how Intuition could orchestrate multi-orbit switching between GEO and Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) satellites.

Customer commitment and Industry Evolution

Moment three was actually a series of moments. We held private meetings with many of our customers to talk through how Intuition would advance their networks and future business goals. The response was overwhelmingly positive, we heard repeatedly that our vision for Intuition is perfectly in line with their strategic goals.

Our customers understand that this is a phased approach. Each implementation needs to align to the customer’s timeline on moving to the cloud, embracing standards, deploying multi-orbit strategies, and more. This is why we say Intuition “At Every Step.” ST Engineering iDirect is firmly committed to standing together at with our customers at every step as the industry evolves and as their journey continues forward. I personally look forward to having meaningful discussions with our customers to map out the best path forward.

We heard that the standards-based approach is the only way to go. This will evolve over time, but we are gaining real progress, and seeing more and more industry involvement. iDirect will continue to drive industry-wide standardization through our existing efforts and through new initiative such as the Waveform Architecture for Virtualized Ecosystems (WAVE) Consortium, announced by the IEEE-ISTO during the conference to advance waveform virtualization.

iDirect Intuition at Satellite 2024

Each year, the SATELLITE conference looks at the trends shaping our industry and the solutions advancing our business ambitions. This year was my 21st year in attendance and by far the most exciting. And it’s clearer than ever that we’re at a fundamental turning point in the satellite communications industry.

New Space innovation is changing the on-orbit economics, bringing new, more affordable pricing models, in return driving the emergence of new use cases. The ground segment is responding with a tremendous amount of innovation.

At ST Engineering iDirect, our company vision has always been to shape how the world connects through satellite innovation. Intuition will expand our customers’ market reach and maximize growth, standardize and automate their operations, and provide a runway to future opportunity, while leveraging their investment in our current industry-leading technology capabilities.

Looking ahead, we expect an exciting era of transformation. We will strengthen our partnerships and alliances, forging new collaborations that will further enhance our customers ‘capabilities. I am enthusiastic to meet with all our customers around the world to discuss the benefits of Intuition!

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Check out an exclusive interview with Don Claussen, CEO, ST Engineering iDirect and Mark Holmes, Senior Editorial Director, Via Satellite: