On behalf of all the Via Satellite team, I would like to start off by congratulating Stéphane Israël, chairman and CEO of Arianespace, who is our 2016 Satellite Executive of the Year for Arianespace’s outstanding performance over the last two years.
Our preparations for the SATELLITE 2017 are now in full swing, and it will be interesting to see the tone and nature of the discussions this year, and whether there will be any changes from what we have seen in previous years. While the satellite industry always seems relative insulated from overall economic turbulence, 2016 was a difficult year for many operators, which had very little, if any growth, as capacity pricing and economic conditions in many regions made it a difficult operating environment. Speaking of SATELLITE 2017, one of the undoubted highlights of the event will be a special interview before the Opening General Session with Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Blue Origin and Amazon. It will be great to hear from one of the world’s most successful and visionary business people about Blue Origin, as well as where he sees the future for satellite. SATELLITE is already the “must-go” to event for our industry, and this really only underlines that fact.
There is little doubt that we are entering uncertain times. The reverberations of Brexit and a new president in the United States are only really now starting to happen, and at this stage it is impossible (at least it is for me) to predict how this will impact our industry. Certainly, with heightened interest in space, this appears to be a time where satellite could potentially make massive strides and become a more important part of the overall communications ecosystem. However, this is not a new message, and we hope that our industry can start to deliver on some of the big ambitions that we are seeing.
We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C. very soon to see how our industry is shaping up for 2017. VS