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For buyers and suppliers of telecommunications destined for remote & harsh environments

Autumn 2012

Where Telecoms & Energy Connect

Inside this Issue

Time For A Fresh Look? The effect of connectivity on health, safety, moral and recruitment

The iPad The little device that’s making waves offshore

Know Your Sub Group Users? Gen up with our quick guide Who’s Been Shaping Up the Comms Industry? Find out inside!

Get your special VIP code for this event inside the front cover!

Get the Lowdown » Major oil companies contract broadband » Information highway in space gets lift off » Global VSAT for entire maritime market » 53% of companies have no remote comms policy » PLUS The Quarterly » Diary Dates » News & Features & much more inside this issue! ©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


CTLD Publishing Ltd

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


Autumn 2012

Your resource for buyers and suppliers of telecoms destined for remote & harsh environments

In Print. Online. Offshore.

Editor’s Introduction


We made two rather interesting discoveries while researching for this edition of OffComm News. Firstly that iPads are rocking the offshore world, see page 26. It seems everyone can find a use for this device and serious business benefits can be realised on modified versions. We spoke to a company that can make the iPad almost bullet proof (well, drop proof, mud proof, water proof etc...) and found out that demand has grabbed the attention of the oil and gas industry. As I have not yet splashed out, if they can make me one that will survive my habit of knocking over my coffee I’ll take it! We also found that while there is much research into the benefits of communication via social media, online video calls and the like, there doesn’t seem to be as much relating to the exact opposite ~ and this is a topic that can affect remote workers. While there are articles and blogs in the public domain about those who have braved switching off their digital digit action for a week or so, as a test, that’s not long enough to realise just how dependent we have become on the devices that fill our palms, pockets, work bags and desks. You can read some of what we did discover on page 17. Revisiting this type of research, adding in modern day elements of communication, could bring some realistic insight into the lives of those that work in remote places; and perhaps even spur the industry to help continue improving conditions. Enjoy this issue Georgina Elrington

Next Issue Winter 2012 *Special OilComm edition* Out October / November

Pages 4 & 5 The Quarterly News round up from the last quarter for your easy and continual reference.

Page 11 Company Feature We spoke to Bernie Bransfield, general manager at Datasat Communications to find out how the company has been shaping the communications industry.

Page 14 Diary Dates Events for quality global networking & real live innovation.

Page 17 Research Resonates from the Last Century How communications could ease the transition from ship to shore, rig to beach, mines to homes, and reunite families. The last known report was dated 1985. Is it time for another look?

Page 21 Know Your Sub Users? Get crewed up with our offshore guide. And then check out our Winter 2011captive issue for ideas on how to extract revenue from this market.

Page 26 iPads on Oil Rigs A Class 1, Div 2 modified iPad can bring direct benefits to the bottom line. The key is delivering today’s proven technology packed for use with solutions that don’t break the bank. We dive in for a look as DOFERO explains how the iPad is infiltrating the offshore oil and gas sector.

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The Quarterly OffComm News Round Up New Satellites to Help Fuel Growth in the Pay TV & Maritime Industry Bringing entertainment and vital comms to improve the human experience, the SES-5 satellite has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Once launched, the satellite will provide Ka band uplink capability, allowing for flexible operations between Europe and Africa. SES-5 is designed to deliver high performance and extensive coverage for Direct-to-Home (DTH) services, broadband, maritime communications, GSM backhaul, and VSAT applications in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Increasing popularity of direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television, and a growing demand for High Definition (HD) broadcast content across Asia-Pacific, are driving the demand for satellite capacity in the region. The number of channels offered by DTH platforms in Southeast Asia is projected to reach 1,600 by 2016. Seeking further growth opportunities SES sees the potential to invest in one to two additional satellites to deliver increased satellite capacity and coverage in AsiaPacific beyond 2014.

21 Crew Utility Vessels Miclyn Express Offshore (MIO) has been awarded a five year contract worth approximately US$130 million for 21 crew utility vessels to service Chevron`s production logistics in the Gulf of Thailand. MIO provides all of Chevron Thailand’s crew utility vessel requirements as well as several larger offshore support vessels. The contract will be executed jointly by MIO and its Thai joint venture, Uniwise Offshore.

OTTO Marine has clinched two ship chartering contracts worth US$16.6m for two anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels, strengthening its presence in African waters. The company, which builds offshore support vessels and offers specialised services, said both vessels will be operated by Global Workboats Private Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Otto Marine. Once deployed they will provide support to oil rigs and platforms off the Congo coast. The two new vessels, named Beluga 2 and Redfish 3, will bring Otto Marine’s offshore deployed support in African waters to a total of six.

ZIM, which just celebrated 67 years in service, will use its global network to support more than 100 vessels, carrying more than 2,000,000 containers yearly and 6,000 employees serving ports of call in more than 120 countries. The shipping container company selected Orange Business Services to further its global MPLS network to include: optimized routing, guaranteed business continuity and backup solutions, unified comms and cloud computing services-ready platform underpinned by SLAs.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

NEWS IN BRIEF Prosafe awarded two contracts by Statoil Petroleum AS:Safe Scandinavia and Regalia. The Safe Scandinavia will support accommodation at Snorre A in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea for a nine-month firm period. The Regalia will be used for accommodation support at Svalin/ Grane in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea for a five month firm period. Gulf Drilling International has placed an order for a Pacific Class 400 jackup drilling rig with PPL Shipyard PTE Ltd for delivery in March of 2013. The rig will be able to accommodate 150 persons. It’s claimed that this jackup will be the most technologically advanced drilling rig operating in Qatar. The total cost to place this rig into service is estimated at $250m. The Clough AMEC joint venture has been awarded a contract valued in excess of A$30 million for the Operability, Reliability and Maintainability (ORM) component of the Chevron operated Wheatstone Project offshore facilities. Its topsides include support utility systems and personnel facilities. Maroc Telecom has launched Loukkos, a new fibre optic submarine cable linking Morocco to Spain after the Atlas Offshore cable was damaged.


The Quarterly OffComm News Round Up online communities, instant messaging, web mail and e-learning.

Award for Parallel Life Platform A seafarer community-based, crew welfare ICT solution has won SingTel Satellite a third Seatrade Asia Innovation Award. The objective was to create a parallel between life and land and on sea with elements of entertainment, social networking and personal enrichment. CrewXchange@SingTel is a lightweight, widget-based portal providing access to global, local and sports news, social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter,

It has been designed for seafarers and is supported by bandwidth to ensure lower data usage and cost savings. CrewLink, a feature of the portal, provides private communities which shipping companies can setup to connect with its fleets more efficiently. It includes facilities for distributing information, initiating forums around specific topics and serves as a platform to create camaraderie amongst its crew.

Navy Gets 1st Onboard IP Video Entertainment System Globecomm will deliver an enhanced communications distribution infrastructure for the Navy’s newest nuclear super carrier, Gerald R. Ford (CVN78). The contract, valued at $3.5 million, represents a significant technological upgrade to the Navy’s existing analogue system for video acquisition and onboard content delivery. SITE TV, the first IP video system for the U.S. Navy fleet, will provide cost savings along with enhanced quality, scalability and flexibility to add future capabilities and services. A 10G Cisco backbone will support the system as well as the ship's video surveillance capabilities, providing sailors with access to live streaming media options, multimedia programming access while at sea, as well as pier-side cable services. Other capabilities include video on demand (VoD).

Alliance Provides VSAT Satellite Network for Global Maritime Industry Imtech Marine and ITC Global have developed a global VSAT network to deliver satellite communications to the entire maritime industry. Under the alliance, Imtech Marine will supply, install and service shipboard maritime electronics and communications systems. ITC Global will design, supply and provide engineering support for the global satellite communications network. Eric van den Adel, managing director of Imtech Marine: “Our alliance with ITC Global means that our maritime customers get the benefits of having automatic beam switching and seamless connectivity for their vessels across the globe.” ©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

Major Oil Companies Contract Broadband Services Data Technology Solutions, a provider of communications services to the energy industry, has received contractual commitments for broadband services from several major oil companies. The work will support production locations, motor vessel and drilling sites. The company recently launched Advanced Wireless Network ~ an ultrahigh broadband capacity in six different oil producing basins across the US and GoM with network connections of up to 150 MB. It has the only certified antenna mount which can be attached directly to a drilling rig’s derrick, eliminating the need for portable towers.

NEWS IN BRIEF 1GB Connectivity For Onboard Crew: Personnel will now be able to enjoy websurfing and chatting with friends & family when away from home. Vizada has been contracted by Danaos Shipping Co. Ltd to equip its 63 vessels with full broadband. The deal means that the Danaos’ fleet will benefit from high speed internet and telephone connectivity via FleetBroadband. For business and crew communications needs the partners will provide 1GB connectivity ~ enhanced by Vizada Crew PC ~ for optimal internet usage. Prosafe has signed a contract with BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd for the use of Safe Caledonia conducting accommodation support at the Andrew Area Development Project in the UK sector of the North Sea. On site operations are planned to commence end-2012, with a firm period through to end-August 2013. Datasat Communications has launched a microsite specifically for the mining industry. Aimed at professionals responsible for delivering comms infrastructures to remote mine sites, the portal offers information on the communications technologies and services available to mining organisations.


The Publication With A Purpose OffComm News is an informative resource for buyers and suppliers of telecommunications destined for remote and harsh environments. For telecoms, oil and gas companies, offshore installation managers, communications specialists and IT departments, OffComm News is the only magazine to provide such essential quarterly insight and reference material for the remote communications industry ~ globally.

In Print To receive printed editions use the form on page 25. Alternatively, you can subscribe securely online with a credit card from the About page on our website. For individual or previous issues contact the editor. Media packs are available upon request.



Online The digital version of OffComm News is FREE to view, in magazine format, from our homepage. On the website you will also find choice news and extracts from articles featured within the magazine.

Connecting operational critical missions and the people based in these harsh environments. OffComm News is a trade focussed magazine covering a d v a n c e m e n t s i n communications for remote energy sites worldwide.








ŠOffComm News ~ Autumn 2012



Explosive Mobile Computing Explosive environments, such as those found on oil rigs, are among the harshest and most challenging in which to operate mobile computing and communications devices. The i.roc Ci70 -Ex Sold and distributed exclusively by ecom.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Information Highway in Space Gets Lift Off Ground segment of the European data relay system is underway

Mission-critical, hazardous area operations demand mobile computing solutions without compromising on current industry leading technologies. A safe handheld mobile computer ~ for use in such environments ~ has been launched by ecom instruments Inc. and Intermec Inc. The i.roc Ci70 -Ex is equipped with the various worldwide certifications required for explosive atmospheres and offers rugged mobile computing . Michael M. Haley, technology consultant, BP Chief Technology Office said, “At BP, we believe technology can make a significant impact on the enterprise. We focus on a few technologies with immediate impact that will also benefit long-term business needs. The integration of current and emerging RF communications for large industrial sites could yield greater efficiencies for business operations.”

Key features include:

Comprehensive wireless

networking capabilities including WWAN (3G CDMA or UMTS via the Qualcomm Gobi 3000 embedded module), WLAN (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n)

Bluetooth 2.1 for flexible data

exchange in areas with reception challenges

Advanced, long-range bar code imaging technology

Radio Frequency Identification

(RFID) capability through modular design supporting frequencies ranging from low to ultra-high LF to UHF and ISO standard

Global certifications from NEC to ATEX and IECEx

Greater quantities of data can be transferred from space to Earth faster and over a longer period of time. Within the scope of EDRS (European Data Relay System) optical laser technology for data transfer is planned to be put into operation for the first time.

EDRS will utilize two geostationary relay satellites that will record the high rate communications data of lower flying earth observation satellites and transmit this data, without significant time delays, to Earth.

An information highway in space is being established as a public-private partnership between the European Space Agency and Astrium as the main contractor, operator and service provider.

Small laser communication terminals will be employed that can transfer up to 1.8 gigabit over a distance of 45,000 kilometres, the equivalent of about 100,000 printed A4 pages per second. The contract is worth EUR 11.5 million.

SES TechCom will supply four control stations and data reception facilities to be built on the premises of the earth stations in Weilheim (DLR), Redu (Belgium) and Harwell (UK). All installations provided by SES TechCom will work in the Ka frequency band, which allows for the transfer, storage and terrestrial relay of gigabits of data.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012



Industry Experts Appointed to Lead on Key Sectors Recognising change in demand key sectors have been prioritised by Europe’s largest engineers’ body, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). It has over 150,000 members in 127 countries. The sectors provide a focal point for engineers and technicians from all disciplines to find relevant communities, events and information.

Information & Communications Sector Professor Will Stewart has been appointed Chair of the Information & Communications sector. He is also Chair of the IET Communications Policy Panel. “This is a great opportunity to make the institution more responsive, develop new events and services and better co-ordinate existing ones. Globalisation and the 'death of distance' are in many respects the result of work in our sector and we should lead the field in providing anywhere/anytime access to the tremendous resources of the IET, that can really help members develop their professional skills and advance their careers,” he said.

Energy Sector Dr Phillip Cartwright has been appointed Chair of the Energy sector. He is a director of the Laing O’Rourke, Engineering Excellence Group. Commenting, he said, "Conflicting challenges, to achieve greater sustainability, security of supply and affordability in energy provision, are driving an upsurge of innovation and investment in energy infrastructure, making this a time of huge challenge and opportunity for the profession.”

£7m Contracts Secured for Oil and Gas Telco Specialist Two significant project contracts worth £7 million were secured with major oil and gas operators in Iraq. The projects include the testing of telecoms systems.

Nessco Group almost doubles turnover to over £33 million following an international business drive.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

Ian McPherson, managing director of Nessco Group said: “We have invested in business development resources and increased staff numbers and expect to take on a further 20 people this year including engineers and technicians. The latest project wins in Iraq confirm our capability for delivering integrated telecoms solutions anywhere in the world."

One project will support a new offshore manifold and metering platform in Al-Basrah. The company will provide a full range of telecoms systems to keep the platform fully connected from satellite and meterological systems to CCTV, telephone and radio technology. A second project is for a large development in the Majnoon field (southern Iraq) with the first stage including voice and data systems, internet, security and meteorological technology.


TETRA News: Terrestrial Trunked Radio

Desk TETRA In refineries, where radios are either banned under health and safety regulations or could be potentially hazardous, Zentron’s Model 390 gives personnel full access to TETRA radio network functionality while keeping RF emissions away from the critical areas. The device has the form factor of a conventional desk phone, but gives users access to TETRA functionality. Interfaces are currently available for Motorola MTM800e, 800, 700 and 300 TETRA radios. Up to 15 Zetron Model 390s can be connected by conventional Cat 5 cable to a single TETRA radio located up to 600 metres away, reducing deployment and installation costs and keeps RF emissions away from sensitive equipment. An optional interface module enables out-of-coverage or remote access to TETRA networks via dial-up telephony, ISDN or private circuit.

Extending TETRA networks to the desktop in areas where RF is potentially hazardous or impractical. Model 390 minimises the risk of EMC/EMI disruption by keeping radios away from sensitive equipment and helps maintain cost efficiency by using existing phone wiring instead of expensive antenna cabling.

Safer, Tougher TETRA Motorola Solutions has added a series of MTP3000 handheld radios to its TETRA portfolio in answer to demand for increased safety and reliability. The devices come with improvements in audio quality, increased network coverage, ruggedness and ease of use. The new radios offer the highest receiver sensitivity in the market (a 2db increase on all existing TETRA radios), which allows a 14 percent range increase and a 30 percent boost to network coverage, when compared to a European Telecommunications Standards Institute specification radio. Designed to deliver superior audio quality, optimum audio loudness, and clarity of voice, a superior microphone system ensures that users can hear and be heard clearly even in the noisiest environments. There are three model options ranging from entry level through to high end user requirements.

ŠOffComm News ~ Autumn 2012



For organizations looking for the benefits of TETRA without the need for advanced communication or data sharing features that require a keypad. User scenarios include security patrols maintaining contact with supervisors or maintenance teams coordinating operations across large industrial or processing installations.

The high-end series includes: Radio Messaging Service; A Call Out function (allowing operators to send out a message with a guaranteed response); full telephony capability so the radio can act as a telephone for calls in and out of the TETRA network.

MTP3200 Communications to entry level users working in mission critical environments that need radio alongside other data-centric devices: for example, oil and gas industry inspection teams in hazardous chemical or production installations with constant high noise levels. Bluetooth connectivity offers operational flexibility and productivity in the field with wire free accessories and connection to scanners, printers and mobile computing devices. It features GPS so that staff can be tracked during f ie ld o pera t ion s in dif f icu lt neighborhoods or hazardous industrial environments.


©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


Company Feature A pioneer in satellite service provision, Datasat has found opportunity within independent bandwidth since its inception. The sector foresight story continues today, as we discovered after speaking with Bernie Branfield, Datasat’s general manager, who believes that a future lies in hybrid communications.

The fact that equipment for independent satellite communication was rather expensive and complicated, during the 1980s, didn't deter Phil Emmel. It was while working on the London Stock Exchange that he had the entrepreneurial insight to set up Datasat and provide satellite communications to blue chip clients. For the first twelve years the company was a small organisation operating in a huge marketplace, delivering projects right alongside the main players. Moving into satcom services shaped the next half of the company’s life. Datasat was the first independent satellite network on the Intelsat fleet anywhere in the world. At one point it was the second largest purchaser of satellite capacity in the UK just behind BT (British Telecom). Then, in 1999, the company won a contract to operate the British foreign and Commonwealth Office VSAT global network. Datasat was the primary provider to the Commonwealth for ten years and still serves some 30 embassies. Other customers include: Irish Republic of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Airwave Solutions (UK emergency services).

Since the beginning, 25 years ago, Datasat Communications has incorporated terrestrial, wireless and hybrid communications networks. “The future for almost all communications is a hybrid: a mixture of terrestrial and satellite communications. Our managed file transfer service has a mechanism within it which will pick the least cost route, be it by internet, terrestrially or satellite as a broadcast file. We’re building these types of solutions in a move to become more of a hybrid operator, delivering the best mix of technology.” Cont.../

Client Sectors


Government communications

Established in 1987 Datasat, a privately owned company, has grown to a turnover of nearly £15m in 2011.

Large mining operations


The Group

Operations Centre Brookmans Park Transmission Station Great North Road Hatfield, Herts AL9 6NE, UK

Datasat Communications Datasat Digital Entertainment Datasat Technologies

Named the 13th largest independent provider of Teleport services in the world by the World Teleport Association, Datasat concentrates its business in three key areas: Remote Communications Provision of secure point-to-point communications for government organisations across the globe as well as low cost, distributed voice and data applications to the remote offices of large international businesses.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

Managed File Transfer With multimedia content now commonplace for most corporate organisations, Datasat handles digital video and live streaming content as well as the transfer of large data files.

Network Services An end-to-end service to install and operate an effective remote communications network.


Company Feature The story so far 1987 – 1996 Datasat Communications Ltd founded. Contract services provided to the growing VSAT satellite market, working on pioneering satellite networks in industries such as broadcasting and finance. 1996 Datasat Communications becomes a direct access customer to Intelsat, enabling it to provide turnkey satellite services. Begins offering bandwidth procurement services to clients. 1997 Delivers its first end-to-end VSAT satellite network solution for a Middle East based publishing organisation. 2000 Partners with large communications organisation. Begins provision of satellite services for a substantial embassy network. Appointment of Roger Madeville to manage embassy contracts. 2002 Chris Stevens appointed North London teleport and field engineer team leader. Frank Overton appointed Hampshire teleport manager.

2003 Company begins to develop global VSAT and terrestrial network for a second embassy. Bernie Branfield appointed technical manager progressing to general manager. 2004 Begins to provide VSAT satellite services to a communications organisation that is delivering a network of critical national importance. Built content sharing and distribution broadcast network for SAIC to enable Iraqi Media Networks. Designed and operated a broadcast service for IMN on Arabsat to the region. 2005 Datasat begins to manage its own pool of bandwidth to increase the flexibility of its service offering. 2006 Built North Africa VSAT network. 2007 Commenced operations for a major network news organisation’s European distribution service.

2008 Diversifies into the digital cinema market with the formation of Datasat Digital Entertainment, created by acquiring the cinema division of DTS Inc. 2009 Extends capabilities within managed bandwidth and VSAT network resilience and implements the solution within a nationally important network. 2010 Creates sister company, Datasat Technologies, to explore and develop carrier grade wireless products, extending the company’s end-to-end services capability and address the growing need for hybrid, multi-technology networks. 2011 Enters the mining sector with the provision of robust VSAT solutions deployed into extremely harsh environments in West Africa. 2012 Named in Investec ‘Hot 100’ of fastest growing UK companies.

Hybrid Communications Datasat envisages providing service operations for people who want to make use of hybrid communications. An example comes from 2003 when the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (IDFA) required a network to connect the majority of its embassies and diplomatic posts around the world. The objective was to provide fixed data rate connections to all posts by the most economic means. Datasat was responsible for the design of a hub and VSAT network that would provide voice, video conferencing and data services to IDFA’s global users. In Europe this was achieved via third party fiber. Across other regions VSAT was deployed via platform services on several satellites. Working with fixed data rate connections and security stipulations, with dedicated connections to each site, the resulting network consisted of 25 sites using six satellites and 25 sites across Europe on terrestrial connections. “Ten years ago, satellite was likely to be the only technology available to deliver the performance and security required at an affordable cost. In many cases, a rugged and easily deployable VSAT satellite network will still be the most appropriate solution. Yet more and more, wireless communications ~ and hybrid networks of terrestrial and non-terrestrial technologies ~ are offering viable and cost-effective solutions for remote comms” says Bernie (pictured).

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

The next area of marketing for Datasat looks like it will be in security for government and surveillance sectors, bridging existing work that it has already established. Over the next five years could also become more active in educational distribution for the third world. “We’ve developed a file transfer product over the last four years as part of the European Union project. While that technology was developed for the cinema industry*, it has a key role to play in distributing educational media to the developing world where communications aren’t currently that great, yet where people are hungry for education. Additionally, the mining sector is often required to support or develop the local population, for example with medical, educational and transport improvements. Datasat is working to help this industry pass on connectivity benefits to the local communities by collaborating to develop opportunities.”

*Datasat Digital Entertainment distributes film soundtracks to cinemas Cont.../


Company Feature Welfare High on the List With many organisations operating in remote regions, where local villagers can become a source of labour within the mine, corporate social responsibility has grown in importance. Similar to supplying wellbeing services to on-site personnel, some mine operators are beginning to use the same systems to deliver services to nearby villages such as distance learning, entertainment and internet access.

“We know that we provide a service that’s suitable for Skype.”

Recognising the importance of wellbeing, concerning remote workers on site for weeks or months at a time, at a minimum separate voice and email services are required to keep in touch with family and friends. Datasat also recognises that these data services need to be supplied completely separately ~ as web surfing and services such as Skype can transgress governance policy

on the corporate network. “This element, of providing such services for remote crews, is often third or fourth on the list of requirements from our clients,” says Bernie. While business operations take priority, Datasat enabled an operator in Africa to pass on network benefits to personnel once the main corporate operations had ceased for the day. “It’s useful for our clients to be able to offer welfare services. If they have a lot of bandwidth, and realise some surplus, rather than let it go to waste it makes sense to pass it on to the remote workforce. “We see WAN usage throughout the evening hours. At the big work camps, use at that time is higher than it is during office hours. The guys on the ground at work over there really appreciate it.”

Cricket scores, local news online and Skype are accessed in the evening by workers with families at home to keep in touch

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


Diary Dates

Where Technology & Energy Connect

11-13 Sept 2012

6 – 18 Oct 2012

Submarine Networks World Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Broadband World Forum Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Submarine Networks World is a conference dedicated to the global submarine cable industry, featuring CXOs from the largest and most reputable organisations from all around the world. Each year, the event brings together over 300 cable owners and manufacturers, wholesale carriers, technology vendors and consultants. For the 2012 programme, you can look forward to hear project updates on ASE, Pacific Fibre, OptiKor, Project Express, Arctic Fibre, BRICS, Palau, EPEG and more.

Following on from the hugely successful 2011 event, the 2012 event is guaranteed to be the largest yet with 10,000+ visitors expected. Broadband World Forum is undoubtedly the premier annual industry event and the largest of its kind in the world. The event, now in its 12th year, is the most respected in the region’s telecoms calendar and a comprehensive agenda includes breakfast briefings, 3 co-located summits, keynote plenary sessions and a choice of 4 tracks for delegates each day as well as the exhibition area.

19-22 Sept 2012 MTB Workboats Marriott Courtyard, Dubai

8-11 Oct 2012

MTB is a highly focused programme of one to one appointments between senior managers/directors, technical purchasing managers, general managers, operations managers and other individuals responsible for purchasing within workboat companies together with supplier companies from all areas of the industry including: workboat owners and operators, supply boats (OSV/PSV), dredgers, tugs, AHTS, survey vessels, fishing vessels, pontoons, cranes, floating cranes, barges, jack up rigs, ROVs, river, coastal, short sea barges etc.

2-3 Oct 2012 Telecoms World Middle East The Atlantis, Dubai, UAE. The region's largest conference for telecom CEOs. After seven successful years, Telecoms World Middle East is back to tackle the biggest issues bursting out of telco boardrooms. Operators will come together and discover how to build the telco agenda, drive industry innovation and create the services of tomorrow. Join over 600 attendees to discuss the tools and strategy to help you navigate through the changing landscape of the increasingly competitive telecoms industry.

Gastech Conference & Exhibition 2012 ExCeL London Tel: +44 (0) 203 615 2842 Celebrating its 26th edition in London, Gastech this year has the backing of Host Sponsor BG Group, as well as Associate Sponsors Bechtel, CB&I, ConocoPhillips, Nigeria LNG Ltd, RasGas and Yemen LNG Company. The event brings together commercial and technical industry professionals for unrivalled networking, new business opportunities, the exchange of ideas and to showcase the latest innovations, technologies and developments across the gas value chain. Gastech is the premier industry event in the global gas calendar, attracting more than 10, 000 international delegates.

24-27 Oct 2012 MTB Oil and Gas Americas, USA Tel: +44(0)1276 682 898 The MTB Oil & Gas forum is heading back to Dallas, Texas and dedicated to the Americas.

Events for quality global networking & real live innovation ©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


The ToughBook Just Got Tougher Designed to access applications and data in extreme mobile computing environments, the Toughbook CF-31 is rugged enough for those working in adverse weather, wet conditions or a cramped environment.

With screen visibility, even in direct sunlight, the Toughbook CF-31 from Panasonic has a floating mounted LCD design to protect it from screen shocks. Drop tested, its magnesium alloy casing and an anti-scratch coating means that the CF-31 remains the toughest Toughbook to date. With water, dust, vibration and temperature protection it has an impressive IP65, MIL STD 810G rating.

For security purposes, the CF-31 also comes with an enhanced concealed mode for use in mission critical environments. At the touch of a button the fan, backlight, status LEDs, speakers and communication (3G, W-LAN, Bluetooth) can be disabled.

Availability and pricing It’s equipped with a Bluetooth® connection and The CF-31 range is available from July 2012, with the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports for data transfer rates up to 10 ©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012 16 Standard model retailing at €3.699 MSRP (exc vat). times faster than hi speed USB 2.0.

Insight As the maturing engineering sector heads towards retirement, oil companies look to specialist recruiters to fill the gaps. It’s a highly skilled job and finding the right people can be challenging. Another rising issue is that the younger generation is not only internet savvy, it is more ‘naturally’ affiliated with social media. It is somewhat surprising for fresh recruits to find that working in remote environments can often mean being cut off from the daily digital digit action they’re used to on their smart phones, iPads and laptops. What is even more surprising is the documentation on this topic ~ especially since the social media phenomenon. For this Insight feature, OffComm News set out to discover how connectivity challenges are affecting the workforce and their families.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012



The pay is great, the job is highly specialised and respected, the time off between contracts or crew changes is favourable. What’s not to like?

Research Resonates From Last Century

Desertion, abandonment, intermittent family involvement, anxiety and depression. These are just some of the affects experienced when one family member works away from home in remote places.

Many different occupations mean that one part of a family is away from home, regularly or irregularly, for periods of time. For example the armed forces, merchant navy, long distance drivers, deep sea fishing, and the offshore workers. An absent ~ or ‘intermittent’ ~ husband can mean dislocation of the familiar pattern of family life. Stress can be thrown on to the remaining members of the family (partners and/or older children), resulting in physical or emotional complaints. When OffComm News decided to look into the effects of an available connection for workers in remote environments we wanted to consider usage and the positive effect on personnel moral. What was discovered was surprising. Firstly, the latest research we could find at the time of going to press was from the last century; and secondly an industry term that indicates only men work in these environments. In 1985, The British Journal of Psychiatry published a report entitled: Oil wives and intermittent husbands. Another report, similarly titled: The Intermittent Husband, The impact of home and away occupations on wives and partners; includes extracts from other works ranging from 1978 - 2000. Times have moved on. Not only in terms of the entry of female engineers and operators to more remote locations, but also in terms of the technology and connectivity available to most of the world’s users today.

Loneliness: “Being an oil wife is like being a one parent family without the financial worry. I get tired having to cope on my own and very rarely can I make the effort to go out at evenings or weekends. We both enjoy the two weeks he is at home, although there are tensions because we both have to adapt.”

Responsibility: “Last night our little boy was sick most of the night. If [my husband] was here he could share the burden. I really miss him at times like that, when you’ve got to take the whole works on your shoulder.”

Since these reports emerged, so have a multitude of devices and methods for communicating. The likes of Facebook and Skype have catapulted messaging, video enabled phone calls to reach out and keep in touch. What’s more, many people now rely on internet enabled communication to conduct their everyday lives regardless of whether they’re at home or away. For example, updating car insurance, using online banking, ecommerce, researching where to go on holiday etc... None of these elements feature in any research that we could find, simply because they were unheard of at the time that the studies were conducted. Cont.../

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012



Not so social media What is likely to remain unchanged however, is the psychological effect that working away for long periods of time can have on a person, their family and their everyday lives. We suspect that, with the addition of social media and a massive shift towards online communication ~ thanks to the internet ~ these elements are likely to be heightened should the same type of research be conducted today. A report from British Journal of Psychiatry cites: The incidence of turbulence and distress in at least some families was confirmed by continuing clinical experience. One GP, whose practice includes a large proportion of oil families, expressed concern at the level of demand made upon her by oil wives and the apparently high incidence among them of alcohol abuse, stress related illnesses and behavioural problems regarding their children. Intermittent Husband is a term, coined by Morrice and Taylor (1978), which describes symptoms of anxiety, depression and sexual difficulties, which occur as a result of frequent partings and reunions between a wife and a husband. Long distance commuting (LDC) and fly in and fly out (FIFO) workforces are also included in the effects of intermittent husbands.

A published description of the Intermittent Husband Syndrome evoked wide interest and recognition. Oil company medical officers, GPs, social workers and marriage guidance counsellors all affirmed awareness of its existence. When the absent person returns home, there is a period of readjustment. Assuming they are away for two weeks and home for two weeks, with a day’s travel either side, the time at home becomes 12 days. Research indicates that reconnecting with family and spouses takes two to three days, followed by a period of sustained home life before stresses begin again in the two or three days leading up to the person returning to work. This leaves just one week of ‘normal’ family relations. Difficulties with bringing up children have been noted for this kind of scenario. In a review of long distance commuting in the mining industry (A Wife’s Point of View, La Forte 1991) it was highlighted that discipline is the responsibility of the wife while the husband is away. Cont.../

“When the husband returns he wants to maintain the hero’s image and deters from disciplining the children. This can create conflict between wife and husband and confusion for the younger members of the family.” Extract from The Intermittent Husband, Impact of home and away occupations on wives and partners. Hubinger, Parker and Clavarino.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012



One element that could ease this intermittent lifestyle is increased communication with home while working away. Our own investigations have provided evidence that almost all remote crews (over 90%) wanted more internet access and privacy with connectivity in their cabins. The issues that affect the ease of connectivity include: bandwidth availability and cost, security and safety, much of which is understood by the corporate industries, and well covered by OffComm News (Spring 2012 issue).

Recruiters have also commented that it is becoming harder to find skilled, younger workers to head off to remote places. And once found it is also tough to hang on to them. These people represent a sub group of connectivity users for the telecoms market. OffComm News carried a feature (Winter 2011 issue) which discussed the potential value of the sub group of users which may be of interest to the telecoms market.

It is true that being able to see partners and children, on Skype for example, could help both sides feel more connected with each other. The simple means of being able to: enquire about: a child’s day at school; the health, wealth and wellbeing of family and friends; sharing parental responsibilities more often; be involved on the precious days of a baby’s first steps (even if via video link); shoulder some of the decision making and sharing financial decision with the partners who are left holding the fort, could help ease the transition when it comes to returning home.

What is clear, especially since the rise of ‘online living’, is that it is time for fresh research into the remote workers lives with regard to the effects that access to communications facilities have on crew moral, safety and staff retention.

An Offshore Worker’s Diary Monday



Two hour shaky helicopter ride. Arrived at the rig. Sorted out locker room, went for lunch then straight into briefing room for induction and safety walkabout. Started work right after. Aware that my wife Abi at home will be watching the news and the weather forecast was bad. No time to phone and tell her I've arrived safely. Will call later.

Watched a movie while waiting for a phone slot. Finally got on at 9.30pm. Abi in bed already. Might as well do the same. Hope we can have a proper chat tomorrow. Missing my family.

Went to rec room after shift to try and get online. Half hour slots allocated when busy. Thankfully only a 20 minute wait for a computer station. Slow connection. Checked emails and facebook. Need to try & renew car tax online tomorrow, ran out of time today.

Tuesday 6am. Shower, breakfast, morning meeting, toolbox talk then onto job set up. Lunchtime, phones too busy (queue of 5 people in the corridor where the public phone is) ~ no privacy. Will try again at end of shift (6.30pm). Straight to canteen for dinner. Gym, shower. Checked phone situation. Too busy (again). Finally got through at 9pm. Abi tired, our son Josh was already in bed. Call time restricted to 10 minutes. Not much of a chat. Feel isolated.

Thursday I forgot Abi was out tonight (that’s why no answer, phew!). Typical as there was only a short queue. Checked email, Abi had messaged re: trouble with Josh at school. Feel bad I can’t be there to help.

Friday Rang home at 6.15am (this is usually the quietest time (lowest queue at the phone) to wish Abi a happy birthday & discuss Josh situation. She was sleepy but appreciated it. Spoke briefly at lunchtime. Heard Josh playing up in the background ~ difficult to talk as she was distracted. Josh came to say ‘hi’. Just got to ask how school was but realised time was up. Off back to work. Fed up already & it’s not even one week in.

Sunday Rain stopped the job for three hours this morning. Phoned Abi and Josh which was great. Feel much brighter. Managed to get online for an hour! (no queue either as everyone else working). Shift finished at 6.30pm. Dinner, gym, TV in rec room, bed.

Monday Half way! Eight days in and seven to go. Wanted to get online to see the photos from Abi’s birthday on Facebook. Too many people around and a long queue. Will try again later this evening.

Sample of a communications diary of a typical offshore work scenario. Names have been changed.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


Know Your Sub Group Users? Get Crewed Up With Our Guide The size and composition of the crew of an offshore installation varies greatly from platform to platform. Between 100 to 600 crew personnel can be employed to work a rig at any one time. Due to the expensive, and intensive, nature of operating an offshore oil rig it is important to maximise productivity 24 hours a day. This means two crew sets onboard working 12 hour shifts. These workforces will change out at regular intervals, usually every two weeks although this too can vary and extend into months, depending on the nature of work, site location and employer requirements. The common thread is that all these people are away from home for long periods of time. Connectivity is vital for moral, safety and getting the job done.


Check out the Winter edition of OffComm News to find out how to extract potential millions in revenue from this sector.

The Offshore Installation Manager (OIM): The ultimate authority during his/her shift and makes the essential decisions regarding the operation of the platform Operations Team Leader (OTL): Co-ordinator of projects on board (project management) Offshore Operations Engineer (OOE): The senior technical authority on the platform Dynamic Positioning Operator: Responsible for navigation, ship or vessel manoeuvring (MODU), station keeping, fire and gas systems operations in the event of incidents 2nd & 3rd Mates: Meets manning requirements of flag state, operates fast rescue craft, cargo ops, fire team leaders Ballast Control Operators, as well as fire and gas systems operators Core Crew: Responsible for lifting operations, helideck operations, lifeboats, muster drills, waste management and general day to day platform duties Medics: The onboard medical personnel.

ŠOffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

Scaffolders: Those who erect scaffolding when work is required at height or otherwise inaccessible areas. Rope Access Teams: These teams use ropes to scale the insides and outsides of rigs, often dangling above the sea, for inspection, painting and maintenance tasks Control Room Operators: Coordinates and prioritises the daily work scopes in line with installation requirements. Catering Crews: Including people tasked with performing essential living services on board such as cooking, laundry and cleaning the cabin accommodation Production Techs: This team runs the the production plant Helicopter Pilots: The helicopter flight crews transport crews on regular shift patterns to other platforms or back to the shore. Maintenance Technicians (instrument, electrical, mechanical) and Drill crews will be onboard if the installation is performing drilling operations and include: Toolpushers, Roughnecks, Roustabouts, Mud Engineers, Derrickhands and Geologists



2DAY Telecom expands GSM backhaul in Kazakhstan with SES Kazakhstan is to benefit from a long term capacity agreement between 2DAY Telecom and SES. It means that comms reach wlll expand to help meet the growing needs of GSM backhaul services throughout the country. Viktor Gryban, CEO of 2DAY Telecom, said: "As mobile communications continues to be the one of the fastest growing sectors in Kazakhstan, satellite is being established as one of the most reliable forms of infrastructure that can overcome geographical barriers and provide extensive coverage. NSS-12's high-powered dedicated beam provides excellent coverage over Kazakhstan, allowing us to expand our services into new regions within the country." Capacity utilisation was increased aboard SES' NSS-12 satellite by 50 percent to 54 MHz in an effort to deliver mobile communication services over challenging mountainous terrain. NSS-12 is also used to meet the country's increasing demand for GSM.

Welfare IT Systems Imtech Marine (Radio Holland Netherlands) has been awarded an extensive contract from Jack-Up Barge for the communication and IT systems of its new build, selfelevating platform JB-118. The contract comprises the PA intercom and alarm system, VSAT network, PABX central telephone system and the total navigation, communication and entertainment package, including IPTV and satellite television.

New Build Platform to Include TV and Internet for Crew

The barge typically has 50 to 80 crew onboard of different nationalities and they would all like to watch their favourite TV shows on different stations.

Paul Koole, project manager E&I, Jack-Up Barge, a supplier of self elevating platforms for the energy and heavy civil construction markets, comments: “The JB-117 is working on a three-year contract on a wind farm in the North Sea. Jack-Up Barge recognises that this access to television and the internet is very important for crew welfare. The crew work very hard on long shifts and need to be able to relax.”

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

Norbert Hölzle, senior vice president, commercial Europe of SES, said: "SES is proud that 2DAY Telecom continues to rely on SES know-how and satellite capacity to provide vital communication services across the country. Together 2DAY Telecom and SES will connect the people of Kazakhstan regardless of where they live." 2DAY Telecom is a subsidiary of VimpelCom in Kazakhstan, which provides voice and data services via wireless, fixed and broadband in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

VSAT Satellite Communications for the Global Maritime Industry Imtech Marine and ITC Global have developed a global VSAT network to deliver satellite communications to the entire maritime industry. Under the alliance, Imtech Marine will supply, install and service shipboard maritime electronics and communications systems. ITC Global will design, supply and provide engineering support for the global satellite communications network. Together, Imtech Marine and ITC Global will offer complete solutions for the maritime sector. Headquartered in Rotterdam, Imtech Marine is a service provider and system integrator of technology solutions for the whole ship. ITC Global, a provider of VSAT satellite communications services to the mining, energy, maritime and enterprise markets worldwide is based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Eric van den Adel, managing director of Imtech Marine: “Our alliance with ITC Global means that our maritime customers get the benefits of having automatic beam switching and seamless connectivity for their vessels across the globe.”


©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


A resource for buyers and suppliers of telecommunications destined for remote & harsh environments ŠOffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


In Print. Online. Offshore.

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Connectivity has a direct impact on just about every corporate bottom line. Some business operations are conducted in highly challenging locations and, for them, a whole new spectrum of issues ~ and innovations ~ arise. OffComm News is the only global magazine so dedicated to exploring developments in communications destined for some of the remotest places on earth.

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A Class 1, Div 2 modified iPad can bring direct benefits to the energy sector’s bottom line

The Rugged Class1 Div2 Modified iPad

With technology changing as rapidly as it has been, and continues to do so, there seems to be a growing concern that IT needs cannot keep up. We should take a hard look at why we have created IT groups in the first place: To support the organization with technology. And that technology should not be a burden. IT groups should also ensure that the next work area is supported by the needs of the user and the job at hand. For example, when entering a work area, what does the user expect? Most will explain their task, such as: well planning, seismic interpretation, real-time drilling, design review, equipment maintenance etc. What they don’t talk about is how much memory they have on their device, what type of network is being used, what connectivity is available and so forth.

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

A major oil and gas company has integrated multiple modified iPads with its production operations team, allowing them to monitor the day to day operation of the FPSO. The company can analyze data and make production decisions in response to minute-tominute conditions in real-time from the event room located in a corporate office. Using a modified iPad the company calculates that it will save millions of dollars in travel, labor costs and downtime ~ money that could be used to hire more engineers and expand into new areas of exploration and production.

These were all issues raised by IT groups. However, often in the case of the next generation worker, it is assumed that IT issues are addressed and taken care of.

Challenges The digital oil field [DOF] is now a necessity in the oil and gas industry. We need to start thinking of the people who are the decision makers and the expert users. When we address C-level executives and professionals ~ whose disciplines are production enhancement, project management, real-time drilling and monitoring ~ the focus should be on the business value and time savings. Technology, such as smartphones and touch pads, have become normal tools of everyday life.

These tools will most likely address the sector issues we face and become part of normal day-by-day operations. With exploration and production becoming more challenging, the need to understand software and firmware upgrades, from OEMs, are paramount. Large equipment such as BOPs, drawworks, cranes, top drives, mooring winches, mud pumps, etc., all have software controls and require periodic updates. Companies in the energy sector are challenged with ongoing software upgrades as well as new government regulations associated with technology and equipment maintenance.



Feature Other challenges in the industry concern: the shrinking, more mature and expert workforce; new generation workers and how they utilize technology. The next influx of personnel already live in a digital society and expect to plug into their data anytime and anywhere. The incoming workers also need to gain field experience and knowledge from their senior colleagues or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

Rapidly changing technology brings growing concerns about technology assurance.

If a teenager, who then grows up and enters the workforce, can go to a store to buy a Wii or Xbox and return home and plug it in without a manual, or buy a smartphone or iPad and completely take advantage of its features without a manual, we should be able to accommodate that mentality in the energy industry. Again this is the new generation employee, and the new DOF needs to implement with them in mind.

Currently the DOF is now utilized in industry but within its own sectors. The sector needs to breakdown the silos between companies and disciplines.

Although many DOF technologies are specific to the oil industry (utilizing ruggedized mobile devices), a data-rich approach could be valuable in any engineering driven sector, especially those experiencing a similar labor crunch. New levels of automation and insight into the plant operation could yield enormous benefit. However, such a change is not without challenges. Getting employees to embrace a new operating method is one of the biggest hurdles in implementing the DOF or any similar system. As companies revamp their processes, to make the best use of new technology, so do the responsibilities of highly technical and analytical people.

Considerations Checklist for Comms Upgrades  Ease of use  Anticipated data volumes  Link speeds  Concurrent user requirements  Capital outlay  Operational costs ongoing  Coverage and availability  Future system demands eg: communications on the move

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

The availability of these technologies, when combined with a unique practical approach could allow exploration professionals to connect to production professionals; drilling supervisors to connect with field personnel and OEMs; and SMEs to connect and train field personnel. These capabilities are all real-time and can be delivered cost effectively.

The key is delivering today’s proven technology, not just cutting edge (expensive) options, and offering faster and more simple solution deployment that doesn’t break the bank.

Everyday collaborative devices such as smartphones and touch pads are used by the majority of the working population. Tools such as Skype, GoToMeeting, the cloud, etc. are often now the communication tools of choice. Cont…/


Have No Remote Collaboration Policy

A study among CIOs and IT managers, by Talk & Vision in cooperation with Nyenrode Business University, identified that while a majority of Dutch organizations acknowledge the importance of proper remote collaboration technologies fewer than half have a policy in place. As remote collaboration is expected to increase, Joost Deckers, managing director at Talk & Vision said: “Organizations are starting a new way of collaborating that also needs to work optimally over distances. We meet organizations which still make starter mistakes, for example by investing in means that don’t fit the organization’s collaboration structure. “Right now it’s important to gain insight to that structure and adjust the policy so that unnecessary investments are prevented."


Feature Taking Advantage of Mobility The oil and gas industry involves extensive travel of personnel to rig sites both offshore and onshore. A lightweight, hard wearing and portable device, that allows users to access data, would be useful for this industry. However, these devices would require an IP68 enclosure sealing against water, oil and mud as well as Class 1, Div 2 independent certification. Due to the amount of personnel involved within the industry, these mobile devices also need to be affordable. The integrity of data is paramount and it needs to be secure at all times. This involves all devices to have enterprise solution server based software to provide asset management as well as a secure platform with high encryption. Apple designs its security, as considered by industry, as extremely stable as well as secure for data entry and retrieval. Transforming traditional labor intensive documentation processes and digitising them, with a clever use of Database HMI, would provide a GUI interface to field personnel. Approved devices could also enable newer technologies for operational optimization ~ with applications driven to remote locations within the cloud for data aggregation. Real-time collaboration is a requirement utilizing face to face communications for knowledge transfer. With ‘face time’ via devices such as the iPad, telepresence for team collaboration can save time and money. With this type of capability, and improved remote monitoring, field personnel can get issues resolved sooner by real-time diagnosis in the field. FPSO: Floating Production Storage and Offloading GUI: Graphical User Interface HSE: Health and Safety OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer

©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012

Earlier this year DOFERO Consultancy launched Viz-iSERIES solutions and announced the certification of the modified iPad 2, Class 1 Div 2 device. By adding ruggedized and modified iPads with Class 1, Div 2 rated for IP68 into the mix, oil and gas companies can address the challenges of knowledge transfer and quickly reduce non-productive time along with travel costs substantially.

iPads on Rigs Providing remote reporting tools and access of operational and maintenance manuals for troubleshooting is another key area. With standardized corporate tools and a specially adapted iPad, data aggregation to the cloud/server is now available. This also includes access to corporate emails and standard web browsing tools. With these capabilities field personnel can visualize their lifecycle documentation. In addition, there are means for the annotation of documents and, when necessary, to communicate with visual aids. Enabling tools such as Class 1, Div 2 modified iPad’s can help people wider embrace their roles and refresh technology: process simulations such as: computer-based renditions of the new technology enabling “what if” scenarios; “learning through building” where operators can contribute to prototypes of a system and help design how it will be used; and most importantly, training and HSE simulation (such as bringing people together in computer-driven role to learn how to use new operating methods correctly and safely before going out in the field whether on or offshore). While these new ruggedized devices are not a cure-all they can be an avenue to innovation in helping companies conduct remote training, knowledge transfer and maintaining a safer environment by keeping their personnel away from dangerous areas ~ by the remote access of data.


©OffComm News ~ Autumn 2012


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Your industry resource for telecommunications destined for remote and harsh environments. OffComm News is the only magazine so dedicated to...