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September 24th, 2018
Industry Reflections Following WSBW 2018

Last week’s World Satellite Business Week conference was an excellent opportunity to meet with the greater ecosystem of satellite operators, launch providers, manufacturers, service providers and suppliers for an update on the industry. In conference sessions, at lunch and in private meetings, we discussed how we as an industry are adapting to the changing market landscape and how disruptive innovation and promising new technologies are propelling the industry forward.

There is agreement we must profoundly reconsider architectures in space and the general consensus is that will include standardized platforms with flexibility enabled by software-defined payloads. Advanced robotics will also come into play, enabling assembly and satellite servicing on orbit and a reconfigurable space infrastructure with very different economies of scale.

SSL and many of our colleagues project optical payloads, quantum encryption, and a new generation of flexibility beyond on-board processing, are all technologies that will make us more competitive and will position satellite to become a logical extension of 5G networks, enabling the goal of ubiquitous global coverage.

Partnering and working together was a recurring theme at the event. Our consortium with Thales to develop the Telesat LEO constellation is just one example. Hughes announced it is forming a joint venture with Yahsat to extend broadband services in the Middle East, and Brazilian satellite operator Star One discussed how it partners with its sister company Claro to complement its mobile network in areas that lack terrestrial infrastructure. In other partnerships agreements, SKY Perfect JSAT and Hispasat have both invested in LeoSat, which underscores the interest in integrating LEO, GEO and MEO systems into the greater telecom infrastructure.

Sentiment at the conclusion of the conference was mixed, as the satellite community acknowledges near- term challenges. However, this is an industry has a history of reinventing itself. One of my goals in meeting with customers was to deepen my understanding of where the business is going and I sensed renewed interest in working together to develop the right solutions to meet current and future demand.

In reflecting on the discussions at the conference, I want to reassure the industry that our culture and commitment to our customers has not changed. SSL continues to put the customer first and to focus on performance, reliability, schedule and cost, no matter what the future brings.

The conference reminded me what a significant force SSL is in the satellite ecosystem and how much our industry colleagues are aligned with us in the goal of emerging from the current uncertainty as quickly as possible. It is this spirit of support and collaboration that bonds us as an industry and makes conferences like World Satellite Business Week both enjoyable and essential to moving our businesses forward