In just a few weeks, thousands of executives, operators, manufacturers, launchers, engineers and industry leaders from around the world will gather in Washington, D.C. to showcase satellite innovation to thousands of customers in need of space-based services. The end-user crowd at SATELLITE has certainly changed and grown more diverse over the past 37 years, as mobile and fixed connectivity, imagery, navigation, tracking and remote sensing capabilities have become more and more integrated with the technology and tools we use every day. Our mission this year in assembling the SATELLITE 2018 program was to provide opportunities for both new and existing customers to learn about how satellites can solve present and future challenges. That means that our program has to be as diverse as the customer.
Some of the new features that we’re adding to the SATELLITE conference program in 2018 include a brand-new Launchers & Manufacturers Forum running throughout the day on Monday, March 12. This Forum will focus on how the industry can meet the consistently increasing demand to build and launch satellites at faster and cheaper rates. The Launchers & Manufacturers Forum will also have sessions on how to increase the power and longevity of newer small satellites and existing larger satellites in orbit. We’re also adding a new Imagery & Sensing Forum on Thursday, March 15, to highlight some of the new vertically-oriented commercial services that will be made available in this rapidly growing sector of the industry. You will also notice more headline keynote presentations throughout the week at SATELLITE 2018. For the past few years, we’ve been running one or two headline keynotes per show, such as Jeff Bezos, Charles Bolden, Greg Wyler and Richard Branson. We’ll be providing more of these keynote experiences in 2018 — and even more surprise guests, announcements and “big reveals!”
SATELLITE 2018 will include the return of our enormously successful Startup Space entrepreneur pitch contest, which made its debut last year. This year’s competition runs throughout the day on Tuesday, March 13. Each judges’ panel is approximately one hour long, consisting of four or five judges and four or five contestants. The contestants each give a five-minute pitch, and then judges ask questions for five minutes. Judges then evaluate the pitch on a standardized score sheet. Last year, we hosted 20 CEOs and founders of new aerospace and satellite startups in a Shark Tank-style pitch contest in front of 14 of the most active private investors in space and consumer technologies. The contest was held directly on our show floor and was packed throughout the day. The grand prize winner, David Shaw of Astrapi, received three guaranteed private pitch meetings with Space Angels Network, Astia Captial and RRE Ventures, as well as interviews with Via Satellite magazine and more.
The SGx keynote series will also return to SATELLITE. The SGx program is designed to attract young professionals and new entrants to the industry. We’re proud of the new connections we’ve made with young attendees and the opportunities we’ve offered to connect them with the mentors and investors they need to thrive and realize their ideas.
In addition to these programs, we’re expanding the SATELLITE 2018 conference to provide operators with opportunities to connect to new end-users. We’re running a full telecommunications program throughout all four days of the show, with activities focused on market and technology development in mobile connectivity, video, Internet of Things (IOT), 5G, automation, and even virtual and augmented reality.
By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase “transition is nothing new to satellite operators” at least a dozen times. If you’ve been in the industry for longer than a few years, you might even have this phrase tattooed on your arm so you don’t forget that it’s true. The satellite industry has, historically, operated in a way that rewards those who stick to long-term plans stretching several years while surviving a handful of heart attacks along the way. For operators, previous “transitional periods” were largely a matter of timing between technological shifts on the ground, the resulting new requirements and periods of time required to build and launch satellites that met those new requirements. During the past decade of economic recession and recovery, operators have been fortunate enough to enjoy stability due to the varying timeframes of supply and demand in video, government and enterprise markets.
While the paths forward for operators may deviate here and there, and the timing of change may be a little off, operators are very much aware of the same reality — change needs to happen. The rules of how that change happens, however, no longer apply, and operators have a lot more control of how they evolve than in years past. At SATELLITE, you’ll hear how operators are charting their paths forward.
SATELLITE 2018 is the business week of the year for our industry. More contracts are finalized on our 86,000 square-foot show floor in one week than the following months combined. We will host guest speakers representing a diverse group of organizations, including: Sprint, Carnival, National Weather Service, Silversea Cruises, Wells Fargo, British Telecom, Omni Access, Icflix, Secure World Foundation, The Center for Space Commerce and Finance (CSCF), Korea Telecom, Harvard Business School, General Dynamics and hundreds more! I’m super excited about this year’s program and look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C. in March!
For more information, visit the SATELLITE 2018 website.