GateHouse Telecom has published five trends it sees as the focus of the satellite communications industry in 2018 - with connectivity at the forefront. Other trends span cyber security, the connected aircraft, the increasing use of commercial SmallSats and easier terminal development processes enabled by core modules and off-air test tools.
The demand for connectivity wherever and whenever is omnipresent and driven by both end-consumers, industries and governments. This will drive the satcom industry to innovate and integrate further with other communications mediums such as GSM, WiFi, or by other means to deliver the connectivity in demand. Creating connectivity anywhere and anytime will call for optimisation of present day communications solutions and applications to conform with the needs of tomorrow.
In light of the ever more connected world, cyber security is of paramount importance as ‘always-on' entails a prevalent vulnerability. According to research firm Gartner, cyber security spending on connected products and services exceeded more than $80bn in 2016 and as the IoT revolution accelerates, expenditure is expected to increase to $1tn over the next five years.
"With our off-air test tools, enterprises can apply vulnerability scanning and penetration test tools to eliminate the risk of their products being exposed to cybercrime during live test campaigns," said Thomas S. Jensen, Director, GateHouse Telecom.
The connected aircraft
The aviation industry will come under increasing pressure from passengers as well as competitors to supply connectivity in the sky in 2018.
"As we move further into the era of ‘Connectivity', the year 2018 and beyond is likely to see the aviation industry incorporating systems on board that enable real time tracking as well as normalizing in-flight WiFi for passengers," said Thomas Jensen, Director, GateHouse Telecom.
"The advantages of the connected aircraft are plenty. The always connected aircraft will enable a more efficient packing of the airspace, maintenance optimisations and for ground controls to more effectively handle the many daily changes in take-off and landing schedules. New applications and solutions will have to be developed and optimised to deliver stable and seamless connectivity," added Jensen.
Terminal development with core modules
Satcom terminal development has historically been a very time-consuming, complicated and expensive process. With the introduction of core modules, this barrier has been greatly reduced - making the road from idea to finished application or product much shorter. The benefits are obvious with better conditions for innovation and less risk in relation to the development process. The core module or COTS approach is vital for complying with the ever growing demand for increased connectivity.
The use of satellite generated data is greatly improving driven by both commercial and public interests. Hence, in 2018, the satellite communications industry will see greater numbers of small satellites put into orbit for earth observation, scientific research, communications and to explore new space technologies. Where once the use of SmallSats was the domain of academia, the vast majority of new launches will be commercial applications. Off-the-shelf solutions and off-air test tools will help early delivery of these new satellites and applications.