Transportation now needs to be connected. Whether it is a car, aircraft or a ship, the demand for always-on communications is ubiquitous. This connectivity can improve the passenger/customer experience, but it can also be part of improving operations and efficiency. The “connected” transportation market in some ways is nothing new to the satellite industry, but it does represent one of the strongest growth opportunities for players in our sector. Certainly, there are many players that see strong revenues being derived from these sectors.
At our recent Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Washington, D.C. the satellite industry was out in force to hear where commercial airlines and business jet operators were with their connectivity strategies. What is clear is that the demand for satellite bandwidth is very strong and, while airlines are still trying to figure out the business model that will work for them when providing these services to passengers, it is most definitely part of the equation. It is a sector clearly on the up.
One of the things that the satellite industry always needs to do is redefine and reinvent itself. It cannot keep relying on broadcasting and DTH revenues going forward. While these verticals have proved surprisingly resilient over the last few years, connected transportation is clearly an area where the satellite industry has a lot to offer. Airlines, shipping operators, and car manufacturers are equipping their next generation of planes, ships, and cars with more complex technology than ever before. They are becoming nodes in a network. This brings an added level of complexity and certainly cyber-security was one of the key topics at our GCA Summit. The question is just how big a growth opportunity this is for our industry. Certainly, the signs are very encouraging and such growth could reverberate throughout the industry. VS