1. Ground Terminal Developments
After recent innovations in the skies flooded the markets with bandwidth, it is time for ground segment to raise the bar to ensure a greater integration of satcom in the IP world. SATELLITE 2017 would be the perfect occasion to see the latest innovations in ground platforms. Beyond the long-standing race for higher throughput, improved spectral efficiencies or reduced costs, we look forward to seeing progress in ground segment capabilities to optimize traffic, pool bandwidth to serve bursty traffic, encryption or serving the unstoppable rise in video and OTT content demand.
2. LEO Constellations
There have been discussions, debates and sometimes highly controversial statements on the viability, business case, technical merits and overall rationale for launching Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations. We welcome an honest discussion on the likely players that have the most realistic chance of launching programs and how they will close the business case for these transformational systems.
3. Satellite Orders
Historically, a handful of companies have used SATELLITE in D.C. as a platform to announce major deals for fleet renewals with satellite manufacturers. We have reached a point today where there is no consensus about what the “best model” is for new satellites moving forward. Beyond this, a few operators have pushed back launches, delayed procurements and, in other ways, bided their time while waiting for the first movers to dictate market direction. It will be very interesting to see if SATELLITE 2017 brings with it the usual flurry of activity, or if operators continue to wait for someone else to develop the “next big thing.”
4. Will Someone Get Bought?
The satellite operator segment has needed consolidation for years, and in 2016 we came very close to seeing this happen in the way of Amos-Spacecom of Israel being purchased by Beijing Xinwei of China. Our money is on consolidation afoot in 2017. The usual suspects include known auction block resident ABS, as well as Spacecom, U.K.-based Avanti, and a slew of regional players.
5. Video Hardware and Compression
Compression using next-generation High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codecs has the potential to have a profound impact on the demand requirements and revenues for satellite operators. With migration to HEVC slowly under way, the largest driver of its usage will be capital expenditure. SATELLITE 2017 will see the latest innovations in equipment for both end users in the home and for headends of cable TV and IPTV platforms.
6. Strategies of Satellite Operators
OTT continues to gain larger footprint within video delivery for developed markets. To compete against the trend, SATELLLITE 2017 could mark the definitive change in broadcast market dynamics with stronger partnerships from media aggregators, broadcasters and satellite operators to consolidate existing revenue streams.
7. VSAT versus Flat Panel Antennas
Some companies are developing Flat Panel Antennas (FPAs) as if they’re the “next big thing” while others are taking a “wait-and-see” attitude. The debate of parabolic versus FPAs in the ground equipment market is stirring debate as to the validity of both form factors. Does it work for all verticals? It would be great to know what the key issues are in the performance of each and the intrinsic value of mechanically-steered versus electronically-steered FPAs.
8. Is it the Modem or the Antenna?
One layer down in the ground segment tussle, especially as it relates to HTS, new modem technologies and antenna manufacturers are pointing at each other in the lower-than-expected efficiency of the receiving part of the satcom architecture. NSR has noted that FSS still has some room to grow, but it is common knowledge that low efficiency and throughput is acceptable for many applications. The growth market of HTS, in particular for mobility, signals efficiency on the ground will need to be much higher. We want to hear what constraints exist in providing high throughput capacity and which of the modems or the antennas need to perform better at delivering expected throughputs at an acceptable price point.
9. Launcher Pricing
The launch industry is full of stories of pricing pitted against reliability and delays. Recent history has shown these are important metrics, but pricing was winning until delays held up launch rates and pushed operators to switch to more reliable launch solutions. So when SpaceX, ILS and Arianespace debate price, reliability and launch delay impacts on the satellite industry, NSR would like to know which matters most.
10. NewSpace Train?
The NewSpace moniker has given the impression that all new technologies that come into play in the satellite market are great and should be adopted widely. We want to know if the excitement of VC firms and smallsat operators will continue, and if they see any “sizeable” returns; i.e., where is the money, and how much have they made? We are intrigued to see how the tone of the conference changes by having a greater entrepreneurial presence. Will they remain an isolated group, or will there be interaction with traditional/mainstream space companies? Is there room for collaboration to emerge? VS