ISSUE 10 | SEPTEMBER 2012
REPORTING FROM THE
FRONTLINE Mobile satellite technology helps intrepid journalists unlock stories as they unfold
Satcom for LESS
For corporations and individual hikers
Crew calling made affordable for fishing vessels
The dos and don’ts from training to maintenance
PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ
Hermes Datacommunications International Ltd has over 20 years of experience delivering high quality, reliable and accurate communications to the oil & gas industry, in some of the most remote and challenging locations worldwide. The company has been operating in the Middle East for more than a decade and established its Dubai office in 2008 to answer growing demand in the region.
Middle east head office: 18th Floor, Office 1801, Indigo Icon â€“ Jumeirah Lake Towers, P.O Box 454714, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 (0) 44279838 E mail: email@example.com
EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa
Meet the team at IBC 2012 and VSAT 2012
Group COO Nadeem Hood Managing Director Richard Judd firstname.lastname@example.org +9714 440 9126
I was on a Himalayan holiday when Phelps became the Olympian with the most medals in history. At 19,000 ft, in the cold desert of Ladakh, India, as one took a much deserved breather from trekking, I watched and listened to the decibel-defying reception, Irish boxer, Katie Taylor, received. Equally impressive was the satellite dish on the roof of the grubby restaurant that gave us such flawless reception.
EDITORIAL Group Editor Broadcast Division Vijaya Cherian email@example.com +97150 768 3435 Editor Supriya Srinivas firstname.lastname@example.org +971 55 105 3776 ADVERTISING Publishing Director Raz Islam email@example.com +9714 440 9129 Group Sales Manager Sandip Virk firstname.lastname@example.org +44 7734 442526 Sales Manager Rodi Hennawi email@example.com +971 4 440 9106
Cable is snaking its ways to these harsh reaches, but for a long time to come the satellite dish will be as ubiquitous as the yaks grazing on the hillsides. Our world is high-tech and spectacularly low-tech, all at the same time. The local satellite installer would be the odd-job man in the village, an all-too regular anomaly in the otherwise super high-tech world of satellites. Similarly in the world of broadcast, technically advanced studios and playout centres have to still understand the very personal decisions a viewer makes. And with connected TV, those decisions are only going to get more personal and harder to track. At IBC 2012, the viewer will remain central to discussions as the industry explores ways to deliver content in a secure and lucrative manner.
PRODUCTION AND DESIGN Design Director Ruth Sheehy firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designer Glenn Roxas email@example.com Database Manager Rajeesh M firstname.lastname@example.org +9714 440 9147 Production Manager James P. Tharian email@example.com +9714 440 9146 DIGITAL SERVICES firstname.lastname@example.org
Change is never a comfortable phenomenon. While it took 60 years for the shift from analogue to digital, the current opportunities for HDTV, IPTV and mobile video technologies are exploding. Robert Bell of the World Teleport Association has likened the pace to “watching an expert kayaker down a white-water river, with the rocks coming faster and faster.” Satellite solutions providers are correctly positioning themselves, not as mere suppliers or bandwidth providers, but as strategic technology partners. It is an intriguing time to attend IBC – but we are warned not to expect to come away with a clear head. Supriya Srinivas Editor
Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy Maagma Web Developers Jerus King Bation Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Published by
1013 Centre Road, New Castle County, Wilmington, Delaware, USA Head Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 (0) 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 (0) 4 447 2409 Printed by Printwell Printing Press LLC © Copyright 2012 CPI. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.
In this edition: “The reporter/cameraman will need to do his usual work and the engineering team will have only one link to care about, but can benefit from three to four satellite networks” Nabil Ben Soussia, managing director, Safa Telecom – page 20
“Most customers are interested in location, email alerts, emergency messaging, geofencing alerts when assets leave or arrive in an area, and the ability to ping a device” - Thierry Watters, vice president marketing, Xsat Usa, LLC – page 32
“The ruggedised and customised desktop phone (the terminal is IP30 rated) was designed to replicate the earlier system so that end-users will have a sense of comfort, given the similar styling” Nigel Fountaine,VP, sales and marketing, Addvalue Communications – page 28
“I often see installations of VSATs near microwave towers or in close proximity to power lines. Sometimes, the antenna is wrongly positioned on the roof resulting in too long a cable” Mazen Nasser , CEO, MenaNets – page 34
System Integrators and Ground Operators Regional Resellers and Authorized Distributors Installation, Maintenance, Training and Turnkey Voice - Video - Data - Internet - GSM Backhaul - Broadcast Mena nets provides 4 activities to the Mena region: i. System integration where we design and provide solutions over satellite ii. Supply hardware as resellers and authorized distributors of many manufacturers like ASC Signal, Skyware Global, Cobham, Xicom/Comtech, Anacom, Codan/CPI, NJR, SMW, iDirect, Thomson, etc. iii. Ground operations which includes installation, technical support, maintenance repairs, etc iv. Training and consulting such as the GVF HOST.
these 4 activities are delivered through 6 product lines: i. Earth station antennae (3.5 meter to 9.4 meter) from ASC Signal ii. VSAT antennae (75 cm to 2.4 meter) form Skyware Global iii. Mobile satcom (on the move and on the pause) from Cobham iv. Outdoor electronics: TWTs, BUCs, LNBs, Feeds, etc from Xicom/ Comtech, NJR, Anacom, Codan/CPI, SMW, etc v. Indoor electronics: broadcast encoders, decoders, multiplexers, video servers, power supplies, combiners, splitters, routers, satellite modems, redundancy controllers etc from Thomson, Paradise/Teledyne, iDirect hubs/modems and others. vi. Installation, maintenance, support, logistics and training (GVF) and turnkey solutions involving system integration of all activities and product lines to provide customers with a complete end-to-end product. The objective is simple: meets customer needs with the latest technologies at the best price/quality mix delivered through experience.
www.menanets.com MENA NETS FZE Building Jafza 15, Unit 15-419, Jebel Ali Free Zone, POB 261670, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Office: +971-4-887 6606, Fax: +971-4-8876605 Email: info@MenaNets.com
Issue 10 | SEPTEMBER 2012
34 VSAT: Dos and don’ts
Broadband, oil & gas, maritime
From training to maintenance, Mazen Nasser of MenaNets spells out the ‘rules’
Updates from Globecomm, YahClick, ISRO, Sky-Stream, Hermes, Paradigm and more
SatDebate: Space risks
Errant drifters: The effects of space weather
What to expect at IBC 2012
Denis Bensoussan from Hiscox Lloyd’s Syndicate, on the vulnerability of satellites to space environment
Exhibitors and experts weigh in on the trends and technologies
38 Future Design Now
John Pepper of ColemSpice highlights key elements in designing control rooms
Reporting from the frontline Views from journalists, cameramen, solutions providers and MSS operators
Monitoring the Archipelago
Products and solutions Romantis, Intelsat, Vitec, Vizrt, SES, Bridge Technologies, DEV, Servicesat, Verimatrix
AddValue Communications in collaboration with PT SOG and Thuraya offer an affordable solution for fishing vessels
VSAT2012: Bill Green of Hermes Datacomms to speak on satcom solutions in oil & gas
Tracking your assets Thierry Watters of Xsat USA, outlines tracking solutions for individual hikers and corporates
Steve Burgess of KIT digital Broadcast Systems Integration on designing resilience and redundancy into NOCs
Globecomm teleport extends Intelsat IS-17 to MENA region Globecomm’s teleport in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands completed installation of a new ninemetre antenna offering access to Intelsat’s IS-17 satellite, reportedly with plenty of capacity to grow. Located at 66° East, IS-17 offers, the company claims, global C and Ku-band beams serving northern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Ocean. High-powered Ku-band beams also reportedly target southern Africa, the economic engine of the continent. The large antenna has capacity, according to a Globecomm spokesman, for many more customers needing service in this highgrowth and dynamic region of the world. The Biddinghuizen teleport was developed and is managed by Carrier to Carrier Telecom B.V.,
a company acquired by Globecomm in 2010 and now fully integrated in the company’s international network of teleports, fibre transport and satellite capacity. www.globecommsystems.com
Etisalat Afghanistan India to launch to use YahClick three satellites Etisalat Afghanistan has announced an agreement with Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) for Ahmed Alhosani, CEO, Etisalat the provision of its YahClick satellite broadband service. YahClick satellite coverage will reportedly bring fast and efficient communications to many regions in Afghanistan that are currently without an internet service, as well as everyday telephony connections. This will, the company claims, avoid the need to wait for terrestrial systems to roll out and avoid the expense of fibre or copper lines. Even in areas of heavy rainfall, the technology will adjust the power required to ensure the link is maintained, a statement said. www.etisalat.af
6 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Dubai’s Sky-Stream expands to support maritime and energy
India will launch three satellites in September and two more by the end of this year, said a senior official in Chennai. P.S. Veeraraghavan, director, Vikram Sarabhai “We will be Space Centre (VSSC) launching Spot-6, a French satellite and a small Japanese satellite on board PSLV-C21 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket, next month,” P.S. Veeraraghavan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), told the official Indian news agency IANS. The third is a communication satellite — GSAT-10 – on-board Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. The Thiruvananthapurambased VSSC is part of India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). www.isro.org
Riyadh Al Adely, managing director of Sky-Stream
Dubai-based Sky-Stream has selected capacity on two satellites operated by Eutelsat Communications to respond to connectivity demands from customers engaged in the marine and oil and gas sectors. Sky-Stream has contracted for a total of 70 MHz of bandwidth which will be progressively deployed on two Eutelsat satellites: Eutelsat 3C and Eutelsat 10A. Their combined footprint provides coverage across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and Africa. Sky-Stream will use the new capacity to offer GSM backhaul, internet access and ondemand video services to its maritime and oil and gas customers. Using an Automatic Beam Switching feature, Sky-Stream will use Eutelsat 3C to extend its current Middle East Ku-band coverage to the Mediterranean for the luxury yacht market. “This is a strategic partnership for us,” said Riyadh Al Adely, managing director of SkyStream. “Adding the extensive reach of Eutelsat 10A to our existing C-band footprint equips us to support multinational operations across continents and to expand our service over the Atlantic. And Eutelsat 3C is a great fit to our current resources for the luxury yacht market where we see tremendous potential for growth.” www.theskystream.com
635 Arabic channels - Dubai TV and Dubai Sports - join AsiaSat 5 Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) has announced that Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) has signed a contract to broadcast two free-toair satellite channels, ‘Dubai TV’ and ‘Dubai Sports’ throughout the Asia-Pacific region on AsiaSat 5. Dubai TV, the state TV channel of the Emirate of Dubai, broadcasts events and activities taking place in Dubai and in the UAE along with local news, financial programmes and Arabic family dramas, to a global audience. The Dubai Sports Channel is dedicated to featuring major tournaments such as the Dubai World Cup, Dubai Open Tennis, World Powerboat Championship, the UAE Football League and other world sporting events and sports documentaries. “We expand our viewership from
Ahmad Al Shaikh, managing director, Dubai Media Incorporated
Turkey and Egypt in the west to Australia and New Zealand in the east,” said Ahmad Al Shaikh, managing director of Dubai Media Incorporated.
Growth of capacity leasing revenues between 2010 and 2011
KEY APPOINTMENTS Andy Start has been appointed president of Inmarsat Global Government business unit In this role, Start will spearhead all sales, marketing and delivery of solutions and services that meet the needs of such government customers around the world with the exception of the US government sector. Start most recently served as president, international RF communications at Harris Corporation and prior to that was managing director and vice president of BAE systems platform solutions. He also served as director of the military space business unit at Astrium where he was reportedly instrumental in the creation of the Paradigm service business.
Romantis UHP – universal VSAT platform for any FUNCTIONALITY, for any APPLICATION All-in-one ultra-compact, high-performance, 100% software-definable VSAT platform Embodies the latest achievements in software engineering and semiconductor technology Can be used in networks of any size as a Hub or a Remote and as a Master or a Slave in hubless mode
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T: +49-30-565-90-4812 | F: +49-30-565-90-4885 E: email@example.com | W: www.romantis.com
September 2012 | SatellitePro | 7
Revenues of US $6.9 bn forecast for satellite operators by 2021 NSR’s report titled: Global Assessment of Satellite Supply & Demand, found that commercial satellite operators grew capacity leasing revenues by US $635 million between 2010 and 2011 and are aggressively targeting new markets such as mobility and other high value services in order to maintain sustained revenue expansion for the coming years. “The Ku-band market will continue to be the main growth engine for the commercial satellite market for the coming ten years,” noted Patrick M. French, NSR Senior Analyst and author of the report. “The direct-tohome (DTH) TV market alone could add US $1.4 billion in net new revenues by 2021 out of US$ 4.3 billion expected in total for the Kuband segment. Solid Ku-band revenue gains are also expected from the video distribution, enterprise data, commercial mobility and gov/military verticals.” A major finding in the report is that the commercial satellite industry is finally beginning to fully grasp the significance of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and their potential to drive new market growth in many other market verticals beyond satellite broadband
Ka-Sat, a High Throughput Satellite during electromagnetic testing in the Astrium facilities
access services. The report found that all HTS markets combined could add almost US $1.9 billion in new net revenues to the industry in the coming ten years, which is the second biggest gain after the Ku-band market. “The widebeam Ka-band market, especially for the gov/military segment in the Middle East, is also beginning to get some real traction for the industry even if total revenue growth is expected to be substantially smaller than the Ku-band or HTS side of the business,” added French. “There should also be continued strong growth in C-band video distribution services.” www.nsr.com
Abu Dhabi delegation attends 2012 ESRI International User Conference
The Abu Dhabi delegation participated at the 2012 ESRI International User Conference organised recently by the Environmental Systems 8 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Cobham’s US $65 m contract for Boeing’s WGS programme
Research Institute (ESRI) in San Diego, California. As announced in the conference, the upcoming “ESRI Middle East & North Africa User
Conference” will be held in Abu Dhabi from December 11 to 13, 2012. adsic.abudhabi.ae
Jill Kale, vice president, Cobham Defence Electronics
Cobham has been awarded a US $65 million contract to supply electronic systems to Boeing’s Wideband Global Satcom satellite programme. The contract funds production on three satellite flight sets, with additional options for three more sets. Cobham Defence Electronics in Lowell, Massachusetts will supply 1000 modules for the phased array antennas on each satellite. The modules are reportedly made up of a complex power amplifier, beamformer and receive amplifier modules. The modules allow the satellite to transmit and receive communications. “Cobham is pleased to support this critical Department of Defence programme to enhance military satellite communications capability by providing the portfolio of RF modules that support additional bandwidth required by the military,” said Jill Kale, vice president of Cobham Defence Electronics. Long lead time work on the contract started in 2010, and production began in early 2012. Work is expected to be finished in 2013 and takes place at the Lowell, Massachusetts facility, northwest of Boston. www.cobham.com
4.3 Paradigm completes Sky News Arabia multi-band antenna farm Paradigm Communication Systems Ltd has announced the completion of Sky News Arabia’s new state-ofthe-art satellite earth station in Abu Dhabi. Designed and built by Paradigm, completion of this earth station means that Sky News Arabia is now ready to support satellite contribution and interchange of news over C, Ku and Ka-bands. Paradigm reportedly provided a full turnkey system utilising the latest communication technologies. The delivery encompassed the network design and layout of the antenna farm, installation, testing and commissioning of a multitude of antennas systems from 1.5m through to fully motorized 4m tracking antennas, RF subsystems, as well as a fully managed extensive and flexible L-band routing infrastructure. Designed from the outset to support the latest technological developments, Paradigm are reportedly confident that this new
MISC Berhad chooses Inmarsat XpressLink
Seri Angkasa, MISC Berhad
contribution centre will support the growth of Sky News Arabia in this exciting region. “The primary requirement for the Sky News Arabia satellite system was flexibility. This multi-band contribution hub was designed from the outset to support visibility of every suitable satellite in that region,” comments Ulf Sandberg, managing director – Paradigm. www.paracomm.co.uk
‘Connect at Sea’ to offer cellular service to the cruise line and ferry industry MTN Satellite Communications (MTN), a global provider of maritime communications, connectivity and content services to remote locations around the world, and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a provider of cellular service to the cruise line and ferry industry, have announced the availability of the Connect at Sea voice application, reportedly enabling passengers and crew to make costeffective phone calls and send text messages from
Expected revenues for the Ku-band segment by 2021
their personal Apple iOS or Android devices while at sea. Connect at Sea allows, the company claims, passengers and crew to make and receive calls from loved ones and friends or work from anywhere around the world.
In addition, intra-ship calling enables passengers to connect with their friends and family on-board to make plans or keep track of one another. “The demands of today’s cruisers are increasing and the industry is faced with the opportunity of bringing a solution similar to a landbased calling experience to the middle of the ocean for both passengers and crew,” said Brent Horwitz, senior VP and GM at MTN Satellite Communications. www.mtnsat.com
Inmarsat has announced that Malaysian shipping conglomerate, MISC Berhad (MISC), has signed up 46 of its vessels, comprised of chemical and LNG tankers, for Inmarsat’s XpressLink service. The XpressLink solution from Inmarsat is reportedly a fully integrated and managed combination of VSAT and FleetBroadband delivering unlimited data availability across the world’s oceans. It includes an option for MISC Berhad to double its available bandwidth at a pre-determined monthly rate when Inmarsat’s GlobalXpress constellation becomes commercially available from 2014. Captain S Rajalingam, vice president fleet management system at MISC Berhad commented: “During our sea trials, we compared XpressLink with a number of competitive offerings and XpressLink impressed us with its performance delivering reliable, unlimited data usage on both the VSAT and FleetBroadband services.” Frank Coles, president of Inmarsat Maritime, said: “Crew welfare and the need for increased operational efficiency are key drivers in the market, and with XpressLink, we can provide a future-proof communications Frank Coles, president, Inmarsat Maritime platform.” www.misc.com September 2012 | SatellitePro | 9
Award of trade licence in Iraq boosts Hermes’ operations in oil and gas Following the award of a trade licence for Iraq in late 2011, Hermes Datacomms has announced the appointment of a key member of staff as part of a growing team in Iraq. The Wide Area Communications specialists have appointed Vincent Davies in the role of technical manager with the primary aim of improving in-country support and helping to build customer relationships. With an eight-year military background – including time served in Iraq and Afghanistan – Davies joined Hermes Datacomms six years ago and has worked on various projects in locations such as Algeria and Dubai. Since the award of the trading licence, the company has been working with partners to deliver turnkey projects involving fibre and last-mile access as well as VSAT services, fixed, mobile and microwave services. Hermes Datacomms specialises in providing tailoured Wide Area Communications to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide including remote and challenging locations such as Algeria, Angola, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Libya, the Middle East, Iraq, Russia and Turkmenistan. Commenting on his new job, Davies said, “My presence in Iraq will help to ensure that we continue to offer the best solutions and that we provide the technical support needed in such a critical environment.” Hermes Datacomms Middle East CEO, Kevin Thorley, added: “Our aim is to ensure that all our Middle East customers are provided with in-depth, direct and extensive support, and a more dependable Kevin Thorley, CEO, Hermes Datacomms Middle East and secure 10 | SatellitePro | September 2012
service that not only keeps up with the growth in the region but also exceeds customer and industry expectations.” The company Vincent Davies, technical has been operating manager, Hermes Datacomms in the Middle East for more than a decade and established its Dubai office in 2008 to answer growing demand in the region, with a current workforce of 25. Commenting on the implications of the award of the licence in Iraq, Thorley stated: “The trade license has been very helpful in empowering us to leverage Hermes Datacomms’ working relationship with key government accounts and we are in the process of registering with Iraq’s stateowned South Oil Company (SOC) and the Maysan Oil Company (MOC)and other governmental accounts in the central and southern regions of Iraq. “Hermes, by hiring Iraqi employees has addressed the concerns of our clients concerning the time of response to issues, installation and de-installation of VSATs and microwave. In addition, we have provided test trials to prospective clients who are planning to choose Hermes Datacomms as a preferred service partner to serve, provide and improve their network and data services. “Lastly, with a registered branch in Iraq, we offer added value in terms of our longstanding partnership with multinational vendors and suppliers. Over the years, we have demonstrated a credible record with both response and deployment and this is underscored by the team certifications we have achieved.” www.hermes.uk.com
Qatar TV establishes first earth station Qatar’s Television Support Development Committee (TVSDC) recently undertook a project that included developing an earth station and enabling the transmission of a new five-channel bouquet on two different transponders, one belonging to Arabsat and the other, to Nilesat. As reported by BroadcastPro ME, the 3G/HD-SD/SDI-ready project was undertaken by Dubai-based systems integrator INC in conjunction with General Dynamics (GD Satcom) and Ericsson. “This is QTV’s first earth station although there are many earth stations in Qatar for other broadcast networks,” said Samer Younes, consultant engineer for TVSDC and Qatar TV Projects. The entire solution features a satellite communication system that presently supports up to five video and audio services, two consisting of a high definition (HD) package. It can be further expanded in the future to accommodate two additional TV channels. All carriers are multiplexed in the same carrier at 22 megabitsper-second (Mbps) and transmitted simultaneously on Arabsat and Nilesat. The compression system for this project was integrated and commissioned by Ericsson while GD Satcom integrated and commissioned the transmission system. The end user’s main aim was to reportedly have its own teleport for transmitting its five-channel bouquet DVB-S2 modulated carrier on Arabsat and Nilesat satellites. The DVB-S2 modulated carrier carries the three SD channels and two HD channels. A successful and timely completion of the project was attributed to a close cooperative relationship between INC, GD Satcom and TVSDC Staff, careful planning and effective execution of the project work. www.gdsatcom.com
33 Panel discussions at IBC 2012
WTA Industry Dialogue Series @ IBC Eutelsat in conjunction with World Teleport Association will be hosting the Industry Dialogue Series at IBC on September 8, 2012. Once again, a panel of experts will continue to explore the impact of Ka-band services on the world of media distribution in Europe and across the globe. Broadcasters and media content providers everywhere remain deeply concerned and confused about the future of their networks, their profitability and their ability to select or to develop a proper technology strategy for an increasingly shifting “Gigabit World.” There is no single answer and the industry is in a period of flux. In addition, the satellite industry’s Ka-band offering has given the industry a significant boost in its ability to provide comprehensive solutions
to industries challenged by the multiscreen, IP-driven demands of vast and fragmented audiences and users everywhere. Radi Alkhas, CEO, Invited speakers Jordan Media City include: JeanFrancois Fremaux, director of business development, multimedia department, Eutelsat (France), Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec (Belgium), Mike Aloisi, vice president, technology, satellite and affiliate services, Viacom Media Networks (USA), Radi Alkhas, CEO, Jordan Media City, M. Brett Belinsky, strategy and business development director, Arqiva Broadcast & Media (UK).
Multi-network solutions in the real world At the ‘Multi-network Solutions in the Real World’ forum, to be held on September 8 during IBC 2012, experts will break down the technical and business challenges that operators face with multi-network services. While early incarnations of multi-network architectures were primarily focused on combining managed IP networks with traditional cable and satellite networks, the focus is now largely on combinations of services over DVB broadcast and unmanaged (over-the-top) networks. This combination of multi-network – a.k.a. hybrid – deployments is perhaps the most pervasive in today’s pay-TV environment. Operators can leverage their existing DVB networks, whether satellite, cable or terrestrial, and add OTT functionality through the consumer’s own broadband links. Thus a
Tom Munro, CEO, Verimatrix
new breed of multi-network architecture has been born. It is simple in concept, yet quite complex in practice. Participants include Nigel Walley, managing director, Decipher, Dr. Dirk Jaeger, CTO, Divitel Holding /MD Divitel Deutschland GmbH, Yuval Fisher, CTO, RGB Networks and Tom Munro, CEO, Verimatrix.
Growth in High Throughput Satellite capacity in 2011
GEM TV books three transponders with YahLive
Mohamed Youssif, CEO, YahLive
YahLive, the UAE-based satellite operator has continued to grow its bouquet of HD channels and adds GEM TV, a TV network in the Middle East. With the aim of hosting 50 HD channels by the year end, Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive, speaking to BroadcastPro ME, underscored the significant presence of Gem TV. “Gem TV has taken three transponders with us. They are targeting Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all the Farsi-speaking audiences as well as the rest of the Middle East. The East beam offers coverage all the way from the Red Sea to Pakistan. In addition, our coverage also goes to Iraq and a small part of Turkey. The East beam is unique in that it goes farther East than any other operator and people can receive us with a small dish.” During the Olympics, using YahLive capacity, GEM Sports broadcast the live coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics games from London. “We are very happy to strengthen our partnership with Yahlive,” Saeed Karimian, chairman of GEM Group said. “We chose YahLive exclusively because YahLive’s orbital location of 52.5 degrees East, provides an optimal line of sight for direct reception within the Gulf area,” Karimian further added. “Using YahLive’s connectivity, GEM Sports transmitted its Olympics TV coverage in HD and SD on a 24/7 basis for the duration of the Olympic Games, in three different languages – Arabic, English and Farsi.” www.yahsat.ae September 2012 | SatellitePro | 11
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IBC 2012: Strategic thinking for a connected world Multi-format technologies will take centrestage at IBC 2012 as solutions providers work closely with broadcasters to deliver content to multiple platforms while finding new ways to monetise it
t is a debriefing session that will probably have standing-only room at IBC 2012. ‘The London 2012 Debriefing: Analysing the Summer Olympic Games’ will feature Barbara Slater, BBC’s director of sport, among others, and IBC delegates are being promised the first look into “how it all went down behind the scenes at London 2012, accompanied by amazing Olympics footage”. For the satellite industry, London 2012 was a landmark. Satellite operators, led by Eutelsat, Intelsat and SES, completed the process of adapting their earth station information tables to include Carrier ID information so they can read, extract and interpret data. Satellite transmission providers including Adtec Digital, Comtech EF Data, Ericsson, Fujitsu, IDC, Newtec and Vislink also supported the initiative by updating their systems to be Carrier ID ready. Taking this forward and to be introduced in time for IBC, is the Carrier ID Ready logo. Encoder and modulator manufacturers will be able to display the Carrier ID Ready logo, both on Carrier ID capable products, and on marketing material. “One of the biggest hurdles remaining with Carrier ID is the fact that many users don’t realise the equipment they have in place is able to handle Carrier ID,” comments Martin Coleman, executive director, the
14 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Satellite Interference Reduction Group. “This simple initiative will give them much more visibility, as well as hopefully provide a useful marketing tool for those manufacturers on board with Carrier ID.” “We are pleased with this move by IRG to recognise Carrier ID-ready products,” observes Lisa Hobbs, head of broadcast compression solutions, Ericsson. “As we introduce Carrier ID across our satellite modulator and encoder products, being able to display this logo will make it very clear to existing and potential customers that our equipment is ID
Roland Nassar, sales manager of Servicesat, a distributor of satellite data connectivity solutions and equipment, for government and home users from places as diverse as Greece and Afghanistan: “We will be showcasing VSAT antennas and offer consultancy to facilitate the transmission of high-speed data, voice or video over satellite. We will be demonstrating the WX1200 auto-deploy and SPFx12A fly-away antennas. We will be also, for the first time, be showcasing our brand new Ka antenna system during the show.”
Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec
“The spot beam advantage [of Ka-band] could prove very interesting for TV distribution over regions such as Europe or the Middle East. This is because the limited foot-print of the spot beam would avoid the current problem of prohibitive media content distribution rights” ready.” Manufacturers helping with this initiative include Ericsson, Comtech EF Data, and Newtec. Carrier ID was the result of unprecedented solidarity from broadcasters, satellite operators, uplinkers and manufacturers and Dick Tauber, chairman of WBU-ISOG and VP transmission systems and new technology at the CNN News Group, commended the “satellite communications and broadcast industries for this breakthrough”.
Huang Bao Zhong, VP, APT Satellite Company Limited: “We will be showcasing Apstar5, Apstar6 and Apstar7. All of the Apstar satellites are capable of providing high quality C-band and Ku-band transponder services reaching about 80% of the world’s population. In addition, APT has established a strategic alliance with China Satcom, the leading satellite operator in China, that currently operates six geosynchronous satellites, covering China, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Australia, Europe, and Africa.”
Meike Langer, director, sales & marketing, CETel Group: “We offer fixed and mobile satellite services from our headquarters and own teleport facilities in Germany, as well as our affiliated companies CETel ME in the U.A.E. and Geolink Satellite Services in France. We will presenting a demonstration of the Media ClipWay, a software-based solution for mobile audio and video transmission over IP-links dedicated for media professionals. A new version of Media ClipWay, supporting HD video for store and forward transmissions, will be introduced at IBC 2012.”
With HDTV, Ka-band, IPTV and to an extent, connected TV, having had their ‘time’ in the limelight at previous editions of IBC, industry insiders say it is difficult to identify any overriding talking point at the current year’s event. Robert Bell, executive director, World Teleport Association, says, “A few years ago, one could attend IBC and receive a clear message about what the next big thing was going to be, from 3DTV to HD to connected TVs and the multi-screen markets. “This year, I would expect the message to be – we don’t know what’s going to happen next! The television business has done a remarkable job at preserving the value of its product in the face of fixed and mobile broadband, that have had such a huge impact on the recorded music business. And that remains the single most important underlying story. “All of the technical developments that matter are about protecting content while finding new ways to monetise it, and about making the “lean back” living room experience ever more compelling. But it is increasingly like watching an expert kayak down a white-water river, with the rocks coming faster and faster. There is an explosion of new opportunities and great uncertainty about the technical performance, cost impact and revenue models. It is a fascinating time to attend September 2012 | SatellitePro | 15
Igor Kot, GSS deputy director general of Gazprom Space Systems (GSS): “We operate two satellites Yamal-201 (90°E) serving Russia and Yamal-202 (49°E) aimed at the international market. GSS’ ground infrastructure in Russia consists of three teleports. Now GSS is expanding its orbital constellation. Yamal-300K (900E) and Yamal-402 (550E) satellites are being prepared for launch this year. One more satellite Yamal-401 (900E) is under construction and will be launched next year. “The main focus at IBC will be the capabilities of these satellites. The satellite capacity of GSS will be increased by four times after the launch of the satellites in 2012-2013.”
Karl-Heinz Wenisch, CTO, Teracue AG – Broadcast & IPTV Systems: “We are showcasing our latest light-weight portable H264 HD-SDI encoder and decoder – as small as a chocolate bar – as well as our IPTV and DVB headend solutions for encoding, decoding, transcoding and playout. In the Middle East, we work with certified and trained partners such as Qvest Media FZ LLC in Dubai.”
IBC – but don’t expect to come away with a clear head.” The lack of big talking points is good because the “smaller” issues will find some traction. The worldwide digital media marketplace is undergoing rapid transition, driven largely by digital technology and the change this technology enables. The opportunities for HDTV, analogue-to-digital conversion, satellite radio, IPTV and mobile video technologies are exploding, and in this fluid environment, no issue impacting the industry is too small to discuss. 16 | SatellitePro | September 2012
The impact of Ka-band Eutelsat in conjunction with World Teleport Association will be hosting the Industry Dialogue Series at IBC. A panel of experts will explore the impact of Ka-band services on media distribution. While it is early days still, in the MENA region, YahLive – the broadcast division of Abu Dhabi-based operator, Yahsat – under the leadership of CEO Mohamed Youssif, is putting together a bouquet of HD-only channels. Currently, Youssif has around 44 (mostly Arabic) channels signed up and is aiming for a total of 130 channels by 2013.
He is already reaping the advantages of Ka-band with the smaller antenna size and the possibility to broadcast regional content within a limited geographical area. “While viewers can install small dishes in their balconies, thus overcoming the regulations with regard to satellite dishes on top of buildings, broadcasters have the unique ability to be region-specific based on their broadcast rights.” One of the participants on the IBC panel, Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec, concurs on the issue of broadcast rights and says, “The spot beam advantage could prove very interesting for TV distribution over regions such as Europe or the Middle East. This is because the limited foot-print of the spot beam would avoid the current problem of prohibitive media content distribution rights.” Echoing these sentiments, Roger Franklin, president and CEO of Crystal Solutions, in conversation with WTA’s Robert Bell, stated: “While broadcasters have more distribution channels, advertising revenue per channel tends to go down. With the increase in competition, content rights are extremely important. With an eye to contain costs, the emphasis is doing more with less - not increasing staff, but increasing channels.” With middleware technology to connect
playout with downstream distribution channels, such as Crystal Connect, Franklin hopes to cater to an increasingly competitive and cost-conscious market. A custom-modified version of the Crystal Solutions’ Sentry Monitoring Platform played its part recently, in collaboration with Intelsat General’s Carrier Monitoring System, towards restoring loss of TV transmission signals. Real-time collaborations of this nature underline the critical role that solutions providers play in reinforcing the trust in satellite-based broadcast solutions. Alternatives to satellite? As reported by BroadcastPro ME, Jordanbased pay TV network ART recently opted for an IP alternative to transmit its video services for Ramadan to its distribution centre in Italy instead of using the traditional satellite route. The installation,
Martin Coleman, executive director, the Satellite Interference Reduction Group
“This simple initiative (Carrier ID Ready logo) will give them much more visibility, as well as hopefully provide a useful marketing tool for those manufacturers on board with Carrier ID”
undertaken with the help of US-based One Media Corp, helped ART reduce the cost of distributing its video services by almost 80%, according to Mustafa Tell, general manager of Arab Radio & Television Broadcasting Operations. “Normally, it would have cost us about US $45,000-50,000 to uplink Ramadan programming over satellite to our distribution centre. We have reduced our costs substantially by using One Media Corp’s ONE CONNXT IP solution,” says Tell. Seeing the results, other TV operators in the Middle East are also mulling over the use of IP instead of satellite. Will this mark the beginning of the end broadcast via satellite? Experts do not think so. Speaking to the press, WTA’s Robert Bell said, “It is very difficult to beat the economics of satellite. The ‘data replicator in the sky’ comes down to a million points on earth and there is no other transmission technology
September 2012 | SatellitePro | 17
Robert Bell, executive director, World Teleport Association
“The television business has done a remarkable job at preserving the value of its product in the face of fixed and mobile broadband, that have had such a huge impact on the recorded music business. And that remains the single most important underlying story” that does that.” For the IP alternative to be workable, Bell believes you would need ubiquitous 100 megabits per second retail distribution through the internet. YahLive’s Youssif concurs and says, “We do not have sufficient bandwidth for HDTV over IP. What we believe will happen is that HD transmission will continue to take place over satellite and interactivity features of IPTV will be done over the internet.” Adapting to the emerging content delivery solutions is the way forward. The previous year has been a happy one overall for the satellite market with growth boosted by video services and emerging regions, according to research from Euroconsult that indicates 7% capacity leasing revenue growth in 2011. Video distribution reportedly represented almost half of all transponder demand in 2011. Multi-network solutions in the real world There is an undeniable evolution towards IP that is transforming processes at the very core on the production and distribution sides, as borne out by the Ramadan ‘experiment’ conducted by Mustafa Tell’s team. While satellite-based transmission will continue, he says, “We need to stress that we’re not thinking of sending our 18 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Gary Allen, sales manager, Peak Communications: “Products at IBC 2012 include synthesised and block frequency converters covering L-band and all primary SHF frequency bands, Test-Loop Translators, Beacon Receivers, Automatic Uplink Power Controllers, Line Amplifiers, Splitters/ Combiners, Multichannel Variable Gain Systems, Reference Generation/ Distribution, Redundant Switch Systems and LNB/BUC drivers.”
channels to the customers via the internet; we are thinking of sending it only to our distribution centres.” At the ‘Multi-network solutions in the real world’ forum at IBC, experts will help break down the technical and business challenges that operators face with multi-network services. In today’s payTV environment, operators can leverage their existing DVB networks, whether satellite, cable or terrestrial, and add OTT functionality through the consumer’s own broadband links. With real-world examples of DVB plus OTT video rollouts, organisers of the forum hope to explain this new breed of multi-network architecture. Participating in the forum, Verimatrix’s CEO, Tom Munro will be highlighting costeffective broadcast security solutions while easing the transition to hybrid broadcast/IP network configurations (More innovations at IBC on page 42). Cloud is on the horizon and in three years, Paul Scardino, VP, sales & marketing,
Nitin Dhawan, CEO, Belgium Satellite Service: “We will be showcasing the services we offer through our teleports based at Lessive and Liedekerke in Belgium, with an array of antennas up to 32 metres, working in Ku, ext Ku, DBS and C-Band. We are a carrier of TV and radio channels serving customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The MEA satellite market, in particular, has reported tremendous growth in the last few years compared to the global average of 6-7% and looks to accelerate this growth in the coming decade. Through a strategic tie-in with Intersat Africa, BSS will offer customers fast, responsive internet via satellite.”
Globecomm, says: “As solutions providers, we will need to demonstrate that customers can trust the cloud and it can drive revenues.” Connected TV will probably be the most talked about issue in the hectic six days of IBC. We have been building up to connected TV for a long time. The moot question is does it change the way viewers fundamentally watch television and significantly, does it change the revenue model. The broadcast mandarins advise us to look closely at traditional TV and its successful reinventions over the past two decades. With an understanding of why television has proved to be so resilient, we will begin to understand the complex nature of the business driven by technology but dependant heavily on the delivery and distribution of content and the all-important exercise of choice by viewers. PRO
Iñaki Latasa Errecart, communications director, Hispasat Group: “We offer distribution of content in Spanish and Portuguese, including the transmission of DTH digital platforms and HDTV. We hope to meet new customers in north Africa and Europe and showcase the Hispasat satellite fleet at 30ºW and 61ºW. For the Middle East, with our new satellite Hispasat 1E, we offer good coverage and we hope to make new contacts during IBC.”
REPORTING From the
frontline SatellitePro ME talks to MSS operators, solutions providers, technicians and journalists on the challenges and reach of satellite-based technology that enables groundbreaking reporting from remote and hostile terrain
20 | SatellitePro | September 2012
s television viewers, we expect to see the rebels enter Ajdabiya in Libya. We are no longer content with the news of the Green Square, in Tripoli, being liberated. We want to watch it as it happens. Zeina Khodr, a roving correspondent for Al Jazeera English channel, was once filming amidst firing and carried on assuming that it was outgoing firing. It was only when an onlooker rushed her and the cameraman into the vehicle that she realised that it was incoming firing. It is not easy to comprehend the courage of the men and women who report from such conflict zones. Less dramatic perhaps, but no less path-breaking, is the technology that allows a journalist to report from parts of the world that has no terrestrial infrastructure or from countries with hostile governments. â€œOur newsgathering consists of a combination of MacBook Pro-based laptop newsgathering (solutions) coupled with traditional satellite newsgathering. Our camera crews are equipped with Hughes HNS 9201 BGAN units which they use for Live and Store and Forward transmissions
Number of video streams served across all platforms during London Olympics 2012
“With the recent upgrade to our Vislink DVE 5100 Exciters, we’re now broadcasting in high definition from the TurkishSyrian border with a Vislink Fly Drive system over a 6Mhz Eutelsat satellite slot using DVB-S2, 8PSK encoding” - Josh Mainka, the acting head of news deployment at Al Jazeera English (pictured here in Ras Lanuf, Libya)
Image courtesy Inmarsat
“With mobile phone networks down due to the fighting, we were reliant on Thuraya and Iridium networks for co-ordination with our hub in Doha. When these networks weren’t available due to jamming, we used Skype over BGAN standard connections or small Thuraya IP terminals” - Josh Mainka
from the field with the help of Quicklink software. Al Jazeera English was the first broadcaster to use BGAN X-Stream 384Kbps connections in the field for live transmissions with Quicklink in 2009,” explains Josh Mainka, the acting head of news deployment at Al Jazeera English. With previous technical stints at GlobeCast, BSkyb and Reuters, Mainka began his career as a radio technician for the military. Mainka’s duties for Al Jazeera include running the network’s satellite newsgathering department, planning news operations and consulting with SNG providers for major purchases. Having been with Al Jazeera since its inception in 2006, Mainka and his team have done their bit towards helping the Middle Eastbased channel acquire iconic status with live reports from conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya and Syria. “The conflict in Libya was a huge challenge to broadcasters, especially in the first six months when the situation on the ground was extremely fluid in the east of the country. We used small laptop equipped teams on the front line, and vehicle mounted Fly Drive DSNG systems a few kilometres back from the front for higher quality lives.” While the ‘new kid on the block’ Al Jazeera, had the advantage of shopping for satellite equipment at a time when technology in mobile satellite services was beginning to undergo user-friendly changes in size, portability, reliability and cost, Martin Turner, the erstwhile head of news gathering for BBC had to grapple with a different sort of challenge. “The key challenge at the BBC was not with traditional flyaways or with the space September 2012 | SatellitePro | 21
“I know from my own experience that broadcasters want information and control and it’s my aim to provide those to them. The equipment used with those solutions is becoming more sophisticated and this places an ever greater burden on the people on the ground, so it is vital that we make the process of supporting news gatherers as simple as possible” - Martin Turner, director of media business, Inmarsat
22 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Image courtesy Inmarsat
segment, but with the very large fleet of L-band terminals which were spread across the organisation’s global bureau network. “Ensuring software and firmware were up to date was hard because it was understandably not a priority for journalists trying to meet deadlines. Naturally, where firmware was not current, this introduced variables into the operation which could lead to operational problems. With such a sizeable fleet and a wide range of technical interest and knowledge, the only way to address this was through constant communication,” says Martin Turner, recently appointed as director of media business, Inmarsat. “The technology that journalists now have at their disposal is absolutely extraordinary,” says Turner. “The capability in a smartphone alone is more extensive than anything that existed even five years ago. The idea that a single device can enable you to go live for TV or radio from anywhere with WIFI or 3G is amazing. Equally, it is no exaggeration to say that mobile satellite services have changed the way that we experience the world. “I remember using an Inmarsat A terminal in the early 1990s in Egypt. This provided a broadcast quality audio solution (using ISDN) and it was not exactly portable – but it transformed the quality of our radio reporting. Equally, the introduction of BGAN services made it possible to send HD quality video from almost anywhere in the world.”
“In the past, especially in terms of satellite newsgathering, we’d historically deploy large fully redundant systems as excess baggage for news operations. The weight for these systems was typically 800 kgs which stretched both budgets and the portability of the team once on location” - Josh Mainka
What do broadcasters want? Martin Turner, director of media business, Inmarsat and erstwhile head of newsgathering operations at the BBC, states: “I know from my own experience that broadcasters want information and control and it’s my aim to provide those to them. Broadcasters need to be able to troubleshoot problems themselves because there is a very wide range of technical capability in the people using satellite solutions. The equipment used with those solutions is becoming more sophisticated and this places an ever greater burden on the
Martin Turner, director of media business, Inmarsat
people on the ground, so it is vital that we make the process of supporting news gatherers as simple as possible. Sophisticated tools for cost control already exist but I have
to confess to sometimes being slightly overwhelmed by what they could do so, I believe there should be a constant drive for the simplest, most usable system possible.”
Conference 6-11 September : Exhibition 7-11 September RAI Amsterdam RAI Amsterdam
Conference 6-11 September : Exhibition 7-11 September
Conference 6-11 September : Exhibition 7-11 September
IBC2012 IBC2012 Discover More Discover More
Leading the electronic media and entertainment agenda through innovation and debate, the IBC Conference is attended by the most inﬂuential thinkers from the leading companies in the world.
It is split into four carefully selected Hot topics being discussed this year streams – Advances in Technology, include: Content Creation and Innovation, The • Broadcast Delivery Business of Broadcasting, and Added • Cinema Value – ensuring that all the ﬁelds • Cloud contributing to the future of the industry • Connected TV IBC is at the cutting-edge of new technology are represented. Media in the • Social evolving electronic media industry. It couples IBC is atrapidly the cutting-edge of new in the Sport • technology a comprehensive exhibition covering all facets of The conference consists of: Transmedia • rapidly evolving electronic media industry. It couples • 6 day, 4 today’s stream conference programme Workﬂowpeer reviewed industry with a highly •respected comprehensive exhibition covering • a 300+ world class highthat proﬁ le speakers conference helps shape the way all thefacets industryof • today’s over 60 conference sessions industry highly respected peer reviewed will developwith in theafuture.
conference that helps shape the way the industry
Take advantage offuture. a variety of extra special features including: For more information please visit: www.ibc.org/conference will develop in the
• IBC Production Village • Future Zone showcasing the latest developments presenting the latest camera Take advantage of a technology variety of extra special features technology in aincluding: purpose built in broadcast environment • IBC Connected World • IBC Production Village • Future Zone • IBC Awards Ceremony including demonstration area presenting thethose latestwho camera showcasing the latest developments in Hall 14 acknowledges have made technology in a purpose built in broadcast technology a real contribution to the industry • IBC Big Screen hosted on Sunday 9 September environment providing World the perfect platform • IBC Connected for manufacturer demonstrations including demonstration area • IBC Awards Ceremony and the Saturday Night Movie
IBC welcomes over 50,000 attendees from over 160 countries & 1,300+ key international technology suppliers each year. In addition, attendees can take advantage of a variety of extra special features including: in Hall 14 Future Zone • IBC Big Screen showcasing the latest developments in broadcast technology providing the perfect platform for manufacturer demonstrations IBCand Connected World the Saturday Night Movie including demonstration area in Hall 14 IBC Big Screen providing the perfect platform for manufacturer demonstrations and the Saturday Night Movie
acknowledges those who have made aIBC real Production contribution Village to the industry presenting the latest camera hosted on Sunday 9 September technology in a purpose built environment
IBC Awards Ceremony acknowledges those who have made a real contribution to the industry hosted on Sunday 9 September
For more information please visit: www.ibc.org/exhibition www.ibc.org IBC Fifth Floor International Press Centre 76 Shoe Lane London EC4A 3JB UK T +44 (0) 20 7832 4100 F +44 (0) 20 7832 4130 E firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ibc.org IBC Fifth Fifth Floor FloorInternational InternationalPress PressCentre Centre76 76Shoe ShoeLane LaneLondon LondonEC4A EC4A3JB 3JB UK UK IBC T +44 + 44 (0) (0)20 20 7832 7832 4100 FF+44 T +44(0) (0)20 207832 78324130 4130E email@example.com E firstname.lastname@example.org
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More portable equipment Technological innovations have brought with it portability, a crucial feature for reporting from conflict zones with rapidly developing news. “Advances in technology, coupled with greater reliability have enabled us to reduce the amount of equipment we deploy to cover large stories,” explains Mainka. He elaborates, “In the past, especially in terms of satellite newsgathering, we’d historically deploy large fully redundant systems as excess baggage for news operations. The weight for these systems was typically 800 kgs which stretched both budgets and the portability of the team once on location. “Our Vislink Fly Drive systems now pack down to eighteen IATA compliant flight cases and once on the ground, the system can be fitted onto a suitable four wheel drive vehicle, giving us our own highly mobile asset. Typically, the weight of these systems, including generators and wireless camera systems is under 300 kgs. “With a recent upgrade to our Vislink DVE 5100 Exciters, we’re now broadcasting in high definition from the Turkish-Syrian border with a Vislink Fly Drive system over a 6Mhz Eutelsat satellite slot using DVB-S2, 8PSK encoding.” Cost implications of Ka-band Perhaps one of the most critical technological innovations is yet to be experienced on the ground with the relatively recent large-scale deployment of Ka-band satellites. Yahsat’s Y1B with its Ka-band spot beams and the imminent deployment of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, among other satellites, promise to bring down costs of satellite capacity. “Live transmissions from remote areas will no longer be the preserve of established news channels such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera,” says Nabil Ben Soussia, managing director of Safa Telecom. His team has a plan in place to allow second and third tier TV channels in the MENA region to enter the hitherto exclusive area of live transmissions in areas not supported by terrestrial networks. “We are working with Yahsat to provide an affordable solution with YahClickGo. The solution will increase the quality by 10 times while bringing down the price by eight 24 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Nabil Ben Soussia, managing director, Safa Telecom
“We are working with Yahsat to provide an affordable solution with YahClickGo. The solution will increase the quality by 10 times while bringing down the price by eight times, with payments as low as US $100 per gigabyte. Previously, 40-minute transmissions would cost around US $800 – with the new Ka-band enabled solution, it will cost US $100 and with better quality” - Nabil Ben Soussia, managing director, Safa Telecom times, with payments as low as US $100 per gigabyte. Previously 40-minute transmissions would cost around US $800 – with the new Ka-band enabled solution, it will cost US $100 and with better quality. “ With an antenna to be fixed on a car, Nabil concedes that this solution is not for conflict zones. “However,” he adds, “With the antennas costing just US $15,000, in addition to other equipment, broadcasters in places like Sudan and similar countries will now find live transmissions, from any part of their country, an affordable proposition. “ A proposed Point of Presence (POP) will solve the issue of coverage and offer broadcasters and other end-users of MSS services, the seamless option to shift between satellite operators depending on coverage in that particular area.
Describing this initiative, jointly developed by Quicklink and Safa Telecom, as unique, Nabil says, “The end user’s studio will connect to our gateway which gives the broadcaster the flexibility to shift between Inmarsat, Thuraya or Yahsat as per available coverage in a particular area. Previously, broadcasters had dedicated lines to a particular satellite operator not allowing for any flexibility on the ground. And because of the competitive costs offered by Ka-band satellites, we hope to cater to not just broadcasters, but other verticals that need high definition, real-time video. NGOs such as UNHCR and UNESCO and especially companies in the upstream oil and gas sector will find it affordable to remotely monitor sites through HD real-time video.” Cost takes second place to the unfolding story Martin Turner concedes cost is crucial, but “has to be seen in the context of the story being covered.” Speaking from his years of experience in the BBC, Turner says, “If the news is big enough, cost becomes less of a problem. But given that those sorts of events are by definition relatively rare, there is a constant drive to try to reduce costs and, wherever possible, efforts are made to use the least cost routing. It’s certainly true that improvements in terrestrial connectivity, whether broadband or fibre, have led to less dependence on satellite-based solutions, particularly in Africa as submarine cables have been connected to East Africa.” Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera, a veteran of many reporting stints from conflict zones, agrees that cost of connection (reportedly US $20 per minute) has never come in the way of telling a story. “I have never been told not to use a Thuraya phone or a BGAN terminal for cost reasons – the story being told is of primary importance.” Now preparing for another assignment, Khodr plans the trip with her cameraman. “I have learnt to check as to what mobile networks work in that country. We keep two or three SIM cards as backup. You begin to think about what could go wrong. You think about electricity. You learn from the problems you have faced and try to do things differently. For instance, in one situation, I had 3G on my
Rise in BBC’s global weekly audience in 2011 owing to the Arab Spring
Ipad – I connected to our studio in Doha via Skype and broadcast the footage live.” Innovations from the ground upwards “In my experience,” affirms Turner, “the best solutions always arise from smart news people solving the problems they face every day. Absolutely the most crucial factor is in-depth knowledge of the industry and the challenges it faces. “At the BBC, the most successful innovations were developed by the people who worked in the business on a daily business. For example, we developed a digital replacement for an analogue tape deck that was entirely the result of collaboration between people in the business. It was nominated for an IBC innovation award and is now in use across the BBC.” Describing the conflict zones in Syria and Libya as especially challenging, Turner says, “It is a common tactic for governments to try to prevent satellite terminals being used and this is something that has been seen in both countries. There is very little that operators and solutions providers can do in such situations -- however journalists are extremely resourceful, as the continuing images from Syria demonstrate.” With a ringside view of the challenges of reporting from Libya and Syria, Mainka says, “With mobile phone networks down due to the fighting, we were reliant on Thuraya and Iridium networks for coordination with our hub in Doha. When
Reporting from Misurata, Libya “A report from Al Jazeera reporter, James Bays, using one of the Fly Drives DSNGs near the front line. This was using a Vislink 1.2m Fly Drive equipped with a Link Research wireless camera system. The set up time from parking the vehicle, to going live was as quick as six minutes using this system.” - Josh Mainka
Reporting from Benghazi “Operating during any conflict presents many challenges. Our teams are expected to not only do their job safely but news gather in incredibly fluid and dangerous situations where communications systems are unreliable and co-ordination between teams is difficult. “Al Jazeera English invested heavily in covering the civil war in Libya and remained on the story through the fall of Tripoli, the killing of Gadaffi near Sirte, to the recent historic
democratic elections. “The stand-out moment for me was watching Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reporting live from Green Square, Tripoli, on
these networks weren’t available due to jamming, we used Skype over BGAN standard connections or small Thuraya IP terminals when their network was available. Thuraya IP was also a useful tool for journalists who could set them up quickly to check news wires over the terminal’s WLAN connection before live broadcasts.” From low-end solutions like removing brand names from the backpack to ensure anonymity in a war zone, to high-tech GPSenabled tracking systems, solutions providers such as Nabil’s Safa telecom, are redefining portability, reliability and security. Among
a large screen in Benghazi’s Martyr’s Square, on the night the National Transitional Council (NTC) forces entered the city.” - Josh Mainka
the latest innovations is the WiFi system that allows reporting from a distance of about 100 metres from the vehicle. “The Hughes antenna and terminal along with the Quicklink system powered by YahClickGo or other providers will enable reporting from a distance offering greater mobility and security to journalists on the ground,” explains Nabil. Technology easing the pressures of frontline reporting Journalists on the ground have never been this equipped although they have never felt this much pressure to get the story. It is no accident that Zeina Khodr would know everything about the unfolding situation in Syria but she would be the first to concede that that she knows very little about the technology that allows her to report to the studio. “As journalists, you have so much on your plate to worry about in terms of getting the story right…I suppose that is why the cameraman is typically trained to use the satellite equipment. However, I believe as journalists, we should know the basics of how to operate the satellite-based equipment.” On the pressures of reporting, Martin Turner concurs and says, “Events that previously were witnessed in retrospect are now seen in real time. While that is obviously September 2012 | SatellitePro | 25
What’s in the backpack? n 3G/3.5G/4G, satellite , dual Ethernet , WiMAX connections (optional CDMA) n Custom-designed black backpack that is tough anti-tear, anti-bacterial, and rainproof n External SMA connectors for optional additional long range antennas n Includes the 3006E-HD touch-screen encoder which supports both SD and HD and with HD automatic down conversion to SD. n Live LNG Software is included
a major change, it is important not to forget the impact it has had on the way journalists work. When I began covering international events in the 1990s, cell phone coverage was patchy and you could spend much more time gathering material without editors bothering you. Today, journalists face the challenge of meeting a deadline that is always ‘now’ and so there is less time to gather and sift material than there used to be.” Having won a prestigious international award for reporting from Libya, Zeina Khodr knows a thing or two about breaking news but says, “While you want to get the scoop, I don’t believe in always being the first. Sometimes it is better to be the second and be accurate. Ultimately, however, it is about pictures. I can talk for an hour but without the pictures it does not have the same impact. We can say people are ecstatic – but it is about actually seeing the faces of the people.” Expanding the potential for live broadcasts Helping to make those all important live feeds more affordable, Nabil of Safa Telecom says that broadcasters are looking for a one-stop shop for multiple solutions. “Earlier, they were restricted in terms of 26 | SatellitePro | September 2012
n Up to 20 Mbps Live streaming speed (dependant on available connection) n Dual hot swap battery connections for industry standard batteries such as PAG, Anton Bauer, or Sony Vlock. n Optional Live GPS tracking with Google maps n Remote control from either Studio via web browser or from iPhone/Windows Mobile 6/6.5 phone n Inmarsat Bgan / Thuraya/ Yahsat integration
Zeina Khodr won the achievement of the year prize at the 2011 WFTV (Women in Film and TV awards) in London. Three female correspondents – (R to L) Alex Crawford of Sky News, Sara Sidner of CNN and Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera – received this prize for their “spectacular” coverage of the events in Libya
providers because of the complexity of the implementation of the systems, especially the QoS from the gateway of the satellite operator to their studio. “What we have now is a touch screen, where the cameraman has to select his destination and encoding rate. From the Yahsat gateway, for instance, the reporter will connect to our POP and we will then transmit to the studio via their leased line. In a country where Yahsat has no
n High-gain industrial modems and antennas as opposed to standard 3.5G n Inbuilt WiFi , can be used as WiFi hotspot n Ceramic ball bearing cooling fans for extreme environments n Low power consumption with variable and flexible inputs from 12 volts to 26 volts DC from any industry battery pack n Automatic bandwidth detection and adjustment
coverage, the reporter will access Thuraya or Inmarsat. The reporter/cameraman will need to do his usual work and the engineering team will have only one link to care about, but can benefit from three to four satellite networks, accessing coverage when needed and saving cost or increasing quality when possible.” Nabil believes that the existing market for Thuraya, Inmarsat and now Yahsat, will only get much bigger. “We are devising one solution for the enduser with one billing system. The system will be pre-paid with pre-loaded gigabytes – a solution ideal for small broadcasters, freelancers and other verticals. This is the way to grow the market beyond the big broadcasters.” Technology apart, I want to leave you with the image of Zeina Khodr and her cameraman possibly using the WIFI feature the next time they have to report undetected on riots in Sudan even as police lobby tear gas at protesters. “We got great footage,” she recalls (albeit with no WIFI). “We managed to do a walk and talk. Imagine if we had to pack up and go back to our office and feed it – we would have a lost a good hour and a half.” PRO
12 -14 September 2012 The Lancaster London Hotel
The annual conference for the VSAT industry Now in its 14th year and at a larger venue!
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Ka-band and new business models for VSAT and space segment operators Commercial maritime operator changes, threats and opportunities Business continuity in a hybrid DSL/VSAT configuration Managing an ocean of bandwidth beam by beam Mobile VSAT services GSM backhaul moves up in site count and down in bandwidth Consumer market opportunities Fibre threats to VSAT How value added businesses can be built in a world of plentiful bandwidth VSAT and satellite Workshops
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MONITORING the Archipelago The dangerous and costsensitive occupation of fishing now has an affordable satellite communication solution, say Thuraya and its partners, Addvalue Communications and Indonesia-based PT. SOG
The client brief: More than 15 years ago, Handoyo Suparmo who was then with Lockheed Martin, had worked on setting up a vessel monitoring system with the Indonesian Fisherman Association (IFA). Now as director, business development, PT. SOG, and as a satellite service provider for MSS operator Thuraya, he proposed to the Indonesian Fisheries Department the possibility of deploying affordable satellite connectivity on fishing vessels around the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Suparmo approached Singapore-based Addvalue Communications, to design such a solution. “The government was losing revenue due to lack of tracking systems,”says Suparmo. He adds,“Not only do their fishermen have to be warned about straying into foreign waters, foreign vessels poaching in the waters off the coast have to be detected.” In addition to the primary requirement of tracking, the government was looking at ways of offering voice solutions to improve the quality of life of the fishermen, often out at sea for durations ranging from a week to a couple of months at a time. “The system we had to come up with had to be similar to the equipment currently being used by existing customers,” reveals Nigel Fountaine, vice president, sales and marketing, Addvalue Communications. He adds, “While PT. SOG was already selling the Wideye Seagull 5000 (products developed and distributed by Addvalue Communications are under the brand name ‘Wideye’), the fisheries department was seeking a more affordable solution.” The solution: Addvalue and PT. SOG decided to customise a product suited to the specific needs of the fisheries sector where voice and tracking played a primary role. “We decided
28 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Nigel Fountaine, vice president, sales and marketing, Addvalue Communications
Islands in the Indonesian Archipelago
“The products have undergone rigorous testing for the purpose of type approval. The tests had two aspects. The first was to test the capability and durability of the hardware and software. The other aspect was to test the connection between our server in Jakarta and the server of the fishing department” - Handoyo Suparmo, director, business
development, PT. SOG
“The SF2500 is a voice satellite terminal with a built-in GPS tracking system. Users can make satellite voice calls to normal PSTN phones, mobile phones and other satellite phones through the Thuraya satellite network”
to strip down the Wideye Seagull 5000 and came up with the SF2500 terminal that enables voice and SMS tracking, both considered vital for the client.” The terminal is priced at between US $1,300 and $1,500 and is around 50% less expensive than the Seagull 5000 and is reportedly one of the most affordable solutions in the sector. “The SF2500 is a voice satellite terminal with a built-in GPS tracking system. Users can make satellite voice calls to normal PSTN phones, mobile phones and other satellite phones through the Thuraya satellite network,” explains Fountaine. With an unmistakable sense of pride in the process of design, Fountaine says, “We did all aspects of design from the mechanical layout to the final product. The design was done in Singapore and the terminals are being produced in neighbouring Malaysia. The ruggedised and customised desktop phone (the terminal is IP30 rated) was designed to replicate the earlier system so that end-users will have a sense of comfort, given the similar styling. For the external device, we are using an active antenna on larger boats with an antenna cable length of up to 40 metres and for smaller vessels, we are offering passive antennas with five metres of antenna cable.” The tracking device: A key demand by the client The SF2500 supports SMS services through its menu on the large colour LCD screen. An alert button (in a distinct shade of yellow) is available to notify pre-configured September 2012 | SatellitePro | 29
“The Indonesian Archipelago is the largest in the world and by some estimates, fishing vessels in the region are around 100,000 in number. The government has mandated that vessels between 30 and 60 gross tonnage need to have the tracking device” - Gibson Villanueva, account manager, Thuraya contacts during an emergency. When the alert button is activated, the SF2500 will send a pre-determined alert message which includes the time-stamped GPS coordinates of the position to a maximum of three preset contacts for emergency response. Earlier this year, while speaking at the signing of the contract between Thuraya, PT. SOG and the IFA, major general (ret) Yussuf Solichien M, chairman of the IFA, had said: “We wanted Indonesian fishermen to feel protected and safe when they’re out at sea. The versatility of the SF2500, its small but powerful antenna, its reliability in different conditions and the built-in emergency response alert system, were key factors in our choice.” The potential market The world’s fleet is growing at a reported rate of 10% per annum, and commercial arrivals at major ports have been stable or increasing since 2009, according to sources at Thuraya. The leisure and fishery sectors are reportedly no exception to these growth trends. Commenting on the size of the market, Gibson Villanueva, the Singapore-based account manager for Thuraya says, “We are talking of a huge potential market. As you know the Indonesian Archipelago is the largest in the world and by some estimates, fishing vessels in the region are around 100,000 in number. The government has mandated that vessels between 30 and 60 gross tonnage need to have the tracking device.” Elaborating on the size of the market, Suparmo says, “Just one association in Bali 30 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Gen. Solichien talking about the Indonesian Fisherman Association’s need for the SF2500
(Left in pic) Gibson Villanueva -account manager- Thuraya, demonstrating the SF2500’s tracking capabilities
has around 800 fishing vessels. We are currently waiting for type approval from the authorities for the hardware. It is expected in a month’s time. As soon as we get it, we have a contract with one association for around 300 vessels. Regarding the question of who is going to bear the cost of equipment, some of the vessels will be financed by owners, while others will be subsidised by the government and still others will be paid for by respective associations.” Satellite coverage With larger vessels fishing for tuna as far
away as Papua New Guinea, the Thuraya coverage over the entire Asia Pacific region including the South Sea Islands and Australia, is critical. “The L-band service is resilient to rain and allows for the use of smaller antenna,” says Villanueva of Thuraya. Speaking at the time of signing the contract, Samer Halawi, CEO, Thuraya, had commented: “Our first customer for the SF2500, the Indonesian Fisherman Association, is exactly the kind of organisation we expect the product to appeal to, and we are very pleased to see
(L to R) Sanny Jauwhannes, president - PT SOG, Sanford Jewett, VP for marketing - Thuraya, General Yussuff Solichien, chairman - Indonesian Fisherman Association, Handoyo Suparmo, director business development - PT SOG, Kyle Hurst - director for market development maritime - Thuraya
them sign up even before the product’s official launch. Fishing is one of the three most dangerous occupations in the world, but lack of affordability has placed reliable satellite communications outside the reach of many fishermen until now. Smaller form factors and more affordable technology mean it’s easier to keep satellite equipment on-board even in very small vessels, making it safer for fishermen to do their jobs and stay in touch with shore.” Crew calling made affordable “At Thuraya, we offer tailoured pricing packages that allow customers to subscribe to the plans most suited to their requirements and budgets. Calls are around 65 cents per minute for crew – previously it was a dollar a minute,” says Villanueva. As the customer-facing company in this project, PT. SOG’s Suparmo says, “We will be selling pre-paid cards to crew. Crew calls using Thuraya’s ‘Call for All’ cards are charged at reduced rates, allowing you to speak for longer with family and friends. It provides an easy way to track calls, and monitor official and private usage, by charging calls to separate card accounts.” Poised to deploy Giving us an update of where matters are poised, Suparmo explains, “The SF2500
has undergone rigorous testing for the purpose of type approval. The tests had two aspects. The first was to test the capability and durability of the hardware and software. The other aspect was to test the connection between our server in Jakarta and the server of the fishing department.” Suparmo calls this project “his baby” having approached the fisheries association with the proposal for an affordable solution. At the same time, he admits that dealing with bureaucracy has had its frustrations. “It was a demanding process but now we are at the stage of deploying the solutions, so it seems well worth the effort.” Commenting on scalability of the project, Villanueva says: “With the same hardware and an upgrade to the software, we would, in future, enable vessels to report their catch and end-users will be assured that the fish was caught in a legitimate location where there was no abuse of the environment. “For Thuraya MarineComms, this is an important milestone and sends out a message to the industry that apart from merchant, cargo and other types of marine vessels, we have solutions for a cost-sensitive sector such as fisheries. In addition, I believe the SF2500 will prove to be a cost effective solution for pleasure boats and patrol boats, and other similar vessels.” PRO September 2012 | SatellitePro | 31
Tracking your assets Tracking is not just about following an asset, it also means managing the asset, says Thierry Watters, vice president marketing, Xsat Usa, LLC, as he explains how the latest tracking systems transmit physical parameters such as temperature, humidity and engine status with minimum setup time
How have asset-tracking solutions evolved over the years? Asset-tracking has evolved through the years in many ways. The equipment is more sophisticated and the data it transmits is more elaborate. Also, this equipment used to be extremely expensive, required a lot of maintenance and only large corporations and governments could afford it. Over the past seven years, the technology has matured and has become more mainstream. There are still complex and expensive beacons, but there is now a wide range of affordable solutions for small businesses and private individuals. What are the tracking services on offer? Each type of asset requires a specific solution. 32 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Thierry Watters, vice president marketing, Xsat Usa, LLC
“Most customers are interested in location, email alerts, emergency messaging, geofencing alerts when assets leave or arrive in an area, and the ability to ping a device”
Tracking often includes monitoring of the asset’s state. For example, temperature of cargo, closed or open doors, fuel level, driver’s rest time, pipeline’s status – there are specific solutions in each case. With our web-based platform, a customer can track and monitor various types of assets from one single interface; even through iPhones , Blackberries or iPads. What is the hardware used for asset tracking? The hardware can range from a simple handheld beacon such as SPOT, to high-end container tracking systems such as BlackBird systems or military grade Skybitz beacons. In addition, satcom devices such as the Iridium 9575 satellite phone or the Inmarsat Fleet Broadband have the option to be used as
1800 “A spot tracker is the least expensive solution. It is for the average retail user who needs it when hiking or hunting”
tracking systems when coupled with our web-based solution. Regarding the future of tracking, you have the MicroTracker, the smallest Iridium-based beacon – it is completely self-contained and scriptable. Users will be able to programme it according to their requirements. What are some of the requirements for asset tracking that have come your way? Large corporate customers usually have complex requests. For instance, we are working on setting up a major pharmaceutical company with an elaborate tracking system for high value containers. This system would not only locate the containers but also provide key information about the cooling system that maintains the substances in good condition. Smaller companies have more basic requirements; for example, a fishing company we work with wanted to locate their vessels in order to have the leading fishing vessel guide the other ships to the right locations. Finally, we also have adventurers and yachting customers who need tracking for emergency purposes. Most customers are interested in location, email alerts, emergency messaging, geofencing
alerts when assets leave or arrive in an area, and the ability to ping a device.
Rescues initiated worldwide by SPOT messengers since 2007
“The future of tracking is the MicroTracker - the smallest Iridiumbased beacon”
“An individual tracking beacon is a selfcontained tracker that locates your position through satellites anywhere in the world. These systems are designed for a single person. There are two main types of tracking beacons, GSM based and satellite based. Both use GPS satellites to acquire position data, but they relay the information to a server/website either via cell towers or satellites such as the Iridium constellation or GlobalStar. These beacons are usually small, have their own power source and are low cost”
What are the problems faced when offering asset-tracking solutions? The main problems concern high-end systems. Systems that monitor multiple parameters such as temperature, engine status, or fuel levels, require a lot of maintenance and IT support. Often customers do not factor this when they decide to purchase a complex tracking system. Modern, smaller systems are usually problem proof, and require minimum IT knowledge. How is the billing tackled? Billing satellite telecommunication services is a significant problem in our industry because providers and resellers have to work with various suppliers who each have their own billing rules, call detail records’ formats, file formats, technical limitations, prices and so on. We have a system that handles all that for the service provider – it enables invoicing of multi-technology clients seamlessly and offers to the service providers’ dealers the ability to resell complex airtime bundles to high-end customers such as maritime fleets or the military. PRO September 2012 | SatellitePro | 33
VSAT dos & don’ts From poorly trained installers and sub-standard equipment, to lack of tools and lack of knowhow, Mazen Nasser of Dubai-based MenaNets identifies some of the problems hampering this crucial customer-facing activity that often damages the popular perception of the satellite industry Get certified The Global VSAT FORUM
The interference predicament Equipment needs to
(GVF) Advanced VSAT Installer Certification covers issues that field technicians face, such as using a compass, calculating levels in dB, peaking, cross-pole testing, voltage drops, cable lengths, using a spectrum analyser, grounding, basic IP networking, safety issues, and troubleshooting.
be type-approved. Major operators such as Eutelsat and Intelsat have rigorous procedures that range from looking at details on the radio unit design and wind load analysis to the manufacturing process and packaging and shipment handling, among other factors. Type-approved equipment will give you a good performance, side lobes and crosspole, otherwise you will be consuming and paying for bandwidth that you do not use. If you buy equipment on price alone, be prepared for disappointment. If a dish’s cross-pole isolation is insufficient or side lobes are off, you may receive some unwanted signals (interference) from the opposite pole or adjacent transponders on the same or neighbouring satellite.
The right tools From the right drilling equipment to signal metres, spectrum analysers, type-approved dishes, good quality connectors and so on, the installer needs to be able to install and measure the performance of the antenna. It is impossible to know whether you have done a good installation otherwise. Location, location… I often see installations of VSATs near microwave towers or in close proximity to power lines. Sometimes, the antenna is wrongly positioned on the roof resulting in too long a cable. A crucial part of the job involves figuring out the best installation strategy on each property, taking into account all the unique elements of the location and the position of the satellite in the sky.
Grounding, lightning protection and weather-proofing Lightning protection and grounding are not the same thing. In the MENA region, you will find installers who do not consider grounding or lightning protection essential. It is like buying a car and not wanting the airbag. A nearby lightning strike can easily damage an ungrounded dish, the receiver and other equipment. Ingress of water (besides dust and humidity) into the coaxial cable and connectors can also have devastating effects. 34 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Revisit every six months
To train or not to train With so much of investment on satellites and associated infrastructure, it is strange that the installation is often left to a poorly trained and ill-equipped installer. And when the connection does not work, the satellite industry gets a bad name. People need to ask for certified installers. A qualified technician is experienced at making the necessary adjustments (azimuth, elevation, polarisation and focal length). Also, the installer needs to keep himself updated with the latest in technology.
Especially before summer and winter, when the temperatures fluctuate. Big variations in temperature can affect the equipment. Similarly water and wind can also cause disruptions. And while the operators notify customers about any changes, if I have bandwidth on the satellite, I would check the website of the operator regularly for any updates.
Asking the right questions It’s not as simple as buying a DSL or cable connection at home. There are quite a number of factors to consider before you arrive at a decision about VSAT solutions. There is no shortcut. You need to negotiate bandwidth and equipment with a knowledgeable installer based on your needs, location and other parameters – otherwise you might end up with bandwidth and equipment that is not compatible.
Errant drifters: effects of space weather
hile the recent third-stage failiure of a Proton rocket launch brought risks in space enterprise into sharp focus, experts tell us that historically there are many other worrying scenarios. Denis Bensoussan, a senior underwriter for space risks at Hiscox Lloyd’s Syndicate, says, “The Galaxy 15 event, in 2010, dramatically reminded the space industry of the worrying scenarios related to space environment.” In April 2010, Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 satellite stopped responding to commands. After several months of uncontrolled drift, Galaxy 15 was eventually recovered by combined Intelsat and orbital actions. Satellites, according to Bensoussan, are specifically designed to prevent the risk of loss of control. However, when control is lost “errant satellites are tracked and monitored and catastrophic consequences to third parties have so far been avoided or mitigated or self-cured”. Nevertheless, the rapid proliferation of space debris has increased the frequency risk for such occurances that have, in turn, raised awareness among the space industry and the public at large. The main culprit of lost satellites is reportedly internal causes including launch vehicle under-performance or failure, leaving the satellite in a useless orbit or a mechanical failure owing essentially to factors such as power, propulsion and so on. The external causes, according to Bensoussan include space weather-related environment, space debris and accidental or intentional physical or nonphysical interferences from other spacecrafts 36 | SatellitePro | September 2012
or from the ground. “The space weather-related charging environment is the current major external contributor, although it was already identified as a threat in the 70s,” says Bensoussan. Mitigation techniques have been defined in ISO-14302, ECSS-20-06 and ECSS-20-07 norms. Furthermore any failures caused by the charging environment are covered under standard property damage, all- causes, insurance policies. However, several major solar events have been surveyed, Bensoussan says, and in each case, only few satellites have suffered from the harsh environment. “The Carrington event (powerful solar storm in 1859) was considered as the absolute threat,
“Mitigation techniques against charging effects should be detailed in satellite technical presentations to insurers, to allow for better risk assessment”
Denis Bensoussan, senior underwriter for space risks, Hiscox Lloyd’s Syndicate
but was only three time larger than the huge Halloween day event of 2003,” he adds. “However, smaller solar events are not without consequence and can sometimes be serious. In each case, primary lack of robustness was established due to a design or manufacturing flaw and an improvement was possible.” Insurance experts believe that more careful design or manufacturing and full application of norms should be recommended, and the lessons learnt should be made accessible to all concerned. In addition, Bensoussan believes, “Mitigation techniques against charging effects should be detailed in satellite technical presentations to insurers, to allow for better risk assessment.” PRO
More than 12 satellites lost for causes attributed to space weather effects including: – ATS-5 (August ‘69): 1st GEO voltage measurement – DSCS-2 (November ‘71): 1st mission lost by overloading of primary power – SCATHA (launched January ‘79): Satellite dedicated to charging analysis – Skylab loss in 1979 due to high solar activity – Great geomagnetic storm of March 1989: Four GPS satellites out of service for a week.
John Pepper, director of ColemSpice, underscored the role of design in control rooms in the August issue of SatellitePro ME â€“ he now highlights the key elements involved in designing and future-proofing the control room of a teleport
It is important to audit and process all cable services to produce infrastructure layouts for the control room, including under-floor cabling routing and segregation for power distribution, incoming services, power/data redundancy and general electrical and mechanical performance specifications
esigning a control room requires above all proper planning. It takes time to do it properly, but in fact it will save the operator time and money in the long run. A well-designed and properly future-proofed space will adapt seamlessly to new technology and physical expansion, if required, without costly refurbishment and interruption to operations. Certainly, I have always stressed the importance of preliminary survey investigation to provide the electrical and mechanical teams with a comprehensive overview and schedule of condition, to
Potential vibration noise from supply and air-return ducting need to be reviewed and fans may need to be insulated to minimise equipment or air turbulence noise
38 | SatellitePro | September 2012
John Pepper, director, ColemSpice
Detailed design Before any installation work can begin, the entire project needs to be captured in an extremely detailed design package, covering acoustics, access control and physical measures, to counter security risks. • Cabling - Naturally control rooms include a lot of rack-mounted equipment, meaning a vast array of cabling. Future proofing is critical for further equipment, that may be installed at a future date. Therefore, it is important to audit and process all cable services to produce infrastructure layouts for the control room, including under-floor cabling routing and segregation for power distribution, incoming services, power/ data redundancy and general electrical and mechanical performance specifications.
Bearing in mind that operators will be spending long hours looking at screens, the lighting must be as perfect as possible to ensure they can do their job comfortably
• General arrangement layouts - Once the cabling infrastructure has been decided, it is vital to plan the overall internal feasibility layouts. This involves looking at everything from console configuration, back office support areas and safety issues. • Consoles - The next stage is the design and development of the console through to equipment audit, simulation trials, working drawings, budgeting, procurement and site installation and commissioning. • Lighting - Lighting is often overlooked in control room installations, however getting this right is vital. Bearing in mind that operators will be spending long hours looking at screens, the lighting must be as perfect as possible to ensure they can do their job comfortably. Therefore, this should be included as a key part of the design process, with working drawings, specification of fittings, and budgeting before work commences. • Walls and ceilings - Another key consideration is acoustics. The hard surface finishes will need acoustic treatment to reduce effects of noise reflection, which can be mitigated by various applied acoustic panel applications. Potential vibration noise from supply and air-return ducting need to be reviewed and fans may need to be insulated to minimise equipment or air turbulence noise.
September 2012 | SatellitePro | 39
2. Analysis and problem definition:
“A well-designed and properly future-proofed space will adapt seamlessly to new technology and physical expansion, if required, without costly refurbishment and interruption to operations” - John Pepper, director,ColemSpice
Whenever faced with the start of a new project, there are key stages (other than the design details listed on previous page) to follow:
Getting the larger team on board Any professional team installing a system on this scale will need to project manage a large team of installers and specialist suppliers, as well as electrical and HVAC engineers, including, in some scenarios, local architects and structural professionals. I believe it is vital to involve all of these professionals in infrastructure and design meetings from the start, to get their input, and also ensure everyone is on board with the project in hand. These meetings will be used to analyse the project and its challenges, as well as to assemble all the information with regard to power and data cable feeds, and to prepare a draft infrastructure plan based on the clients’ equipment asset schedule, which will provide a check-list for “day one” requirements and also future expansion.
1. Clarification: Spelling out the clients’ operational brief This stage is about clarifying the clients’ operational brief and know exactly what is expected from the installation. Every project is different and has different requirements depending on whether it is a new concrete shell or an existing operation with legacy equipment that needs to be to be integrated with new systems and processes. Therefore, each installation will be approached differently and needs to begin with structured client meetings where we can co-ordinate, process and produce a comprehensive set of requirements for that project setting out milestones, dates and objectives.
3. Implementation and operational feedback Only once all the above has been completed and planned should the implementation begin. If the planning has been done well, the installation itself should run smoothly, however it doesn’t stop there. Receiving feedback once the control room is up and running is vital to flag any issues, which can then be resolved. Designing a control room requires a unique combination of cutting edge design and practical knowledge. Understanding how a control room functions and the daily demands of the people working there is vital to developing an efficient teleport facility. PRO
produce the correct engineering design solutions. The HVAC and lighting systems should have control sytems that can be adjusted to react to the changing needs of the operators’ “24-hour body clock”, yet maintain a consistent working environment.
More on design: Steve Burgess, technical director, KIT digital Broadcast Systems on page 48
40 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Vitec introduces the Optibase MGW Nano encoder at IBC 2012 Vitec, a provider of digital video, will be featuring at, IBC 2012, new products and systems for OTT, mobile streaming, proxy recording, video asset management and archiving. The company will also feature encoding, decoding and conversion solutions. Vitec’s Optibase MGW Nano is an industrial-grade, MPEG H.264 portable encoding and streaming appliance for portable and stationary applications. Based on the MGW Micro Premium Encoder, the MGW Nano is reportedly designed for low latency dissemination of HD and SD video sources with metadata where the footprint is critical. The Optibase MGW Nano reportedly packs a hardware-based encoding and streaming engine offering superior video quality in an ultra-small footprint (36mmH x 139mmW x 118mmD) that can be hand-carried in a battlefield, mounted
in a vehicle or used in a stationary rack mount environment. The unit’s hardware-based Vitec video compression engine reportedly encodes and streams HD and SD sources in under 65 milliseconds, making it the most compact, professional-grade H.264 AVC encoder in the market, optimised for tactical video and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Stand 7.J31 www.vitecgroup.com
Vizrt offers ‘FirstLook’ at satellite imagery of news hot spots Sending camera crews to news hot spots, especially in remote locations, can be difficult, costly, and even dangerous. Vizrt recently launched a new service called DigitalGlobe Online that gives Vizrt customers access to DigitalGlobe’s vast satellite imagery library. Part of the DigitalGlobe Online service is FirstLook, a reportedly faster, more cost-effective way to capture events from around the world. As the name implies, Vizrt customers will reportedly get a “first look”
at any digital satellite imagery captured by one of DigitalGlobe’s three commercial satellites. When an event happens globally, DigitalGlobe activates the service by tasking their constellation of satellites to the event location, taking new highresolution images. Within hours these images are reportedly available to all DigitalGlobe Online customers with the option to purchase. Customers are sent notifications from Vizrt when an event collection is activated and can preview
42 | SatellitePro | September 2012
the collected content to decide if they want to purchase them. Using Viz World 12.0’s map editing tools, including zoom, crop, pan, trim, or label, Vizrt artists can manipulate FirstLook satellite imagery to create animated maps. They can also reportedly string together images that DigitalGlobe satellites captured before, during, and after an event to show how the situation progressed over time.
Free iPad control for DEV’s RF distributing matrices
DEV Systemtechnik will unveil its latest solutions for RF-over-coax and fibre signal transmission for broadcast, cable TV, and satellite applications. The newly re-designed DEV booth at stand 1.F50 will showcase the company’s equipment for RF signal transmission, switching, and distribution over coaxial and fibre cable, with a spotlight on the DEV 1996 Distributing Matrix. Selected DEV 1996 models are now shipped with a free iPad for matrix control as part of a promotion launched for IBC. The DEV 1996 matrix is an L-band signal switching and distribution system that is modularly expandable from 16 x 32 to 1024 x 1024 channels. Its advantages reportedly include superior RF performance, a robust, proven design with full fan-out matrix distribution, hot-swappable modules for interruption-free operation and expansion, and an easy, intuitive, and flexible graphical user interface control system. For control via the web interface option, DEV is providing free iPads to configure, monitor, switch and manage DEV 1996 systems with 32 x 32 or more channels.
60 New iPhone app from Livewire Digital for journalists Journalists caught in the heart of the action with no news crew on hand can now film breaking news footage on their iPhone and post it directly to their broadcaster’s newsroom using the new M-Link Newscaster Mobile app from Livewire Digital. Reportedly ideal for filming events as they unfold, such as last year’s riots in the UK, this app is set to bring a new level of immediacy to special reports and news bulletins. Also new is Livewire Digital’s BGAN Pointer, a free app designed to reportedly help news crews working in harsh or dangerous environments to accurately position their mobile satellite terminal, pinpoint the exact location of their BGAN satellite, and highlight trees or buildings that interrupt the clear line of sight required for first class transmission of breaking news footage via satellite. Demonstrations of the company’s live video
solution M-Link Live X will also be taking place – now featuring a new high definition option. The enhanced M-Link Newscaster store and forward solution will also be making its debut, now reportedly boasting a 10% improvement in encoding speed alongside a 15% increase in video quality and support for MXF and AVC Intra source files. Stand 2.C28 www.livewiredigital.com
SAT-IP on the agenda for SES at IBC 2012 SES will showcase the new SAT-IP technology at its IBC booth. SAT-IP technology reportedly enables satellite TV viewers to receive channels and programmes on multiple devices without additional infrastructure. The signal is demodulated and converted into IP directly at the reception point in the home. It can then be transmitted via the existing IP infrastructure to the television set, PC, tablet computer or other mobile device. The devices for receiving television content are also constantly evolving and will
fundamentally change the way we watch television in the near future. New technologies such as 3D, Hybrid TV and Ultra HD require high-performance smart televisions and more powerful modes of transmission. The main focus will be on
Africa as one of the fastestgrowing television markets – a region in which satellite plays a decisive role in satisfying rising demand and is able to deliver highquality content.
Estimated AsiaPacific pay TV revenues in 2015
Intelsat General demonstrates highspeed in-flight broadband and video
Intelsat General Corp. (IGC) reportedly demonstrated the capability to simultaneously send secure video and high-speed broadband signals to and from an aircraft automatically switching beams across three satellites over four continents. This recent test culminated a series of private aero demonstrations, utilising multiple aero RF terminals, on numerous satellite beams, in various TDM, TDMA, and SCPC configurations. All tests were conducted using the iDirect IDX3.0 platform The data rates achieved in the recent demonstration were reportedly 6 Mbps to and 1 Mbps from the moving aircraft. These rates, the company claims, enabled the sending of multiple video feeds in each direction while simultaneously conducting interactive broadband exchanges. The flight path covered an area that crossed three continents served by four different satellites. Fully automated beam switching as the signal moved from one Ku-band satellite to the next occurred flawlessly, the company claims, exactly where expected, and without centralised control. The airborne terminal had its own world map and, based on GPS location, connected to the appropriate satellite and inaugurated switches as necessary. As per the customer’s request, all testing was conducted in a secure, encrypted, environment.
www.intelsatgeneral.com September 2012 | SatellitePro | 43
2 SAT Europe upgrades SNG trucks with ATEME codecs ATEME announced that 2 SAT Europe bv, a provider of satellite connections around the world, has chosen ATEME, a provider of H.264 video compression products, to upgrade its digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) fleet. The upgraded trucks are currently booked to cover multiple high profile events including the MotoGP Grand Prix, a series of 18 motorcycle races across 14 countries taking place from April to November this year. The Kyrion codecs will reportedly enable 2 SAT trucks to fulfill all satellite transmission requirements from MPEG-2 SD to MPEG-4 HD, 4:2:0 and 4:2:2, 8-bit and 10-bit, at any
IPTV monitoring from Mariner Mariner, a global provider of IP video solutions and technologies, will showcase the next generation of its IPTV service monitoring solution Mariner xVu at IBC2012. The Mariner xVu now reportedly includes enhancements to its Mariner SupportVu and NetworkVu modules, enabling telecommunications providers to deliver, the company claims, a more reliable, high-quality user experience. Mariner xVu reportedly provides service operators’ headend technicians, network operations, field technicians, and customer service representatives with a toolset for managing Quality of Experience (QoE), allowing them to proactively and efficiently confirm and isolate IPTV performance issues before they negatively affect the end user’s experience. NetworkVu reportedly allows a provider to access customised views of service performance based on categories such as neighbourhood, region, channel, and headend. SupportVu delivers, the manufacturer claims, a comprehensive, customer-centric view of the service.
bitrate, all with the utmost picture quality and full redundancy. Stand 1.F70 www.ateme.com
Media monitoring solutions from Bridge Technologies The VB12-RF reportedly covers all the monitoring needs encountered in hybrid IP and RF networks, be it QAM or VSB. In particular the factory-fitted QAM input front-end option offers, the manufacturer claims, the service technician a compact and practical tool for fault seeking in any modern cable-TV infrastructure. The VB330 Probe is the flagship in Bridge Technologies product range. Equipped with up to two 10G Ethernet inputs, it is reportedly capable of monitoring thousands of streams in backbone networks and central headends. The VB330 utilises the same visual and intuitive approach to monitoring and analytics as other probes.
Auto-deploy and flyaway antennas from Servicesat Servicesat will demonstrated the latest WX1200 auto-deploy and SPFx12A fly-away antennas and showcase, for the first time, the Ka antenna system during IBC. Servicesat reportedly caters to broadcasters on Ka, Ku and C-band packages, on several different satellites and platforms, such as: Eutelsat, Intelsat, Hylas, HellasSat, SES, Arabsat, Hughes, iDirect, Comtech, Romantis, Ipricot, Newtec, Tandber and Quicklinks, to name a few. Servicesat provides global VSAT service and equipment, to facilitate the transmission of high-speed data, voice and video. The company is also the global distributor of the WX1200 Auto Deploy antenna. Stand A.461a www.servicesat.net
Terrasat introduces the IBUC2 The IBUC2 – Intelligent Block Upconverter – has all the features of an IBUC in a package that is 40% smaller and lighter with an outdoor RJ45 connector. The unique guarantee of P1dB output power over the full temperature range makes the IBUC a preferred choice, the manufacturer claims, for network operators as well as commercial and defence systems integrators. The IBUC product range includes: • C-band (five bands) to 200W • Ku-band (three bands) to 80W • X-band to 175W • Ka-band to 20W – defence and commercial bands • DBS band to 25W
44 | SatellitePro | September 2012
10 Verimatrix redefines multi-network revenue security for video services Verimatrix will be highlighting the increasingly important role of multinetwork revenue security, with an emphasis on its reported ability to provide cost-effective broadcast security while easing the transition to hybrid broadcast/IP network configurations. The company will also share the latest security options to protect revenue in the second generation of over-thetop video services (OTT 2.0), which feature fine grain control mechanisms and security standards optimisation. Verimatrix will reportedly illustrate its commitment to helping operators simplify these new hybrid configurations, while also preparing to adapt and scale to the future security requirements of OTT 2.0, by unveiling a series of new product features, partner ecosystem integrations and customer deployments. The company will be demonstrating how its solutions reportedly address real world challenges for multi-network security including: • Cardless DVB and Hybrid Security: Harmonised security platform for
broadcast and hybrid networks, with flexible client implementations for broadcast set-top boxes (STBs), connected STBs and smart TV CI+ CAM modules. Demonstration is in conjunction with key middleware and STB ecosystem partners. • Commercial-Grade Secure DASH Streaming: The protected MPEG-DASH standard streaming delivery system, demonstrated in collaboration with encoder and client device ecosystem partners. • Enhanced HLS Security for Multi-Screen Devices: Secure live and on-demand adaptive streaming delivery using a single stream source to enable the broadest range of client devices. Demonstration will feature ViewRight Web security for PC and Mac, iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), Android tablets and smart phones, and smart TVs. • Enhancements to MultiRights PlayReady: Featuring PlayReady 2 integration in the VCAS architecture supporting smooth streaming clients on PCs, Macs, Windows phones and the Xbox gaming platform. Stand 4.B54
Advantech Wireless’ VSAT product line
Advantech Wireless has developed a VSAT product line-up reportedly starting with the smallest hub in the world, the Discovery 100, the midrange Discovery 200 offering support for up to 1500 terminals and finally the Discovery 300 providing full capacity and support for terminals. These next generation designs have been reportedly optimised for performance and reliability, with remote upgrade capabilities via a software key as increased features are needed. The company will also demonstrate Solid State Power Amplifiers featuring GaN technology. Within the same footprint, GaN reportedly allows users to double the RF power and reduce energy consumption by up to 50%. In addition, GaN reportedly exceeds by several orders of magnitude the performance of previous generation of SSPAs-based on LDMOS or GaAs technology. Stand 1.A11 www.advantechwireless.com
Monitoring systems and antennas from SatServices be fully electrically positioned into elevation, The company will be showcasing the satnms product family that consists of satellite ground station products such as monitoring and control systems, network management systems, antenna tracking systems, power sensors, beacon receivers, I/O frontend processors, L-band distribution amplifiers, impedance converters, motorised antenna mounts and L-band optical links. The sat-nms MantN18/24 is a motorised 1.8m or a 2.4m antenna that can reportedly
Estimated CAGR of demand for transponders in South Asia till 2015
azimuth as well as into the polarisation axis and can be used as a simple positioner or to track inclined orbit satellites. The sat-nms monitoring and control system from SatService GmbH is a comprehensive software-based system, the manufacturer claims, providing monitoring and control of any type of satellite ground station and associated baseband equipment
Encoder/decoder from Opticomm-Emcore Opticomm-Emcore will showcase a professional grade encoder/decoder utilising JPEG 2000 compression technology. It reportedly simplifies the transmission of high quality 3G HD, HD-SDI and SDI video with embedded audio over an IP network, and has low latency, the company claims.
September 2012 | SatellitePro | 45
Flyaway antenna from C-Com
IP SNG from Romantis
C-Com Satellite Systems Inc will be showcasing the iNetVu Airline Checkable Flyaway antenna system – reportedly a highly portable unit with a six-piece carbon fibre reflector that can fit in a suitcase. It is configurable with the auto-pointing iNetVu 7024B/C controller, cables and another electronic device such as a modem or a PowerSmart power supply that can be installed in the second case. The Airline Checkable Flyaway system is configured to provide, the company claims, instant access to satellite communications for any application that requires remote connectivity in a rugged environment. Reportedly suited for applications that require a quick, simple set-up; vertical markets such as disaster management, oil & gas exploration, mining, construction, mobile offices
Romantis Group, a global provider of satellite capacity, hardware and support services, will be showcasing, at IBC 2012, the new Romantis IP SNG solution. Additionally, on display at the premier event, will be the new version of UHP “all-in-one” satellite platform with new UHP Network Management System and support of IGMP and TCP acceleration.
and emergency services will benefit, the company claims, from the ACFLY’s ease of deployment. Stand 4.C71 www.c-comsat.com
Hiltron to showcase HSACU SNG controller
Hiltron is to showcase its HSACU satellite newsgathering controller at IBC. Reportedly compatible with all leading motorised satellite newsgathering antennas, it provides fullyautomated satellite auto-acquisition. The HSACU is, the company claims, designed for integration into SNG trucks or for refurbishment of existing SNG antenna control systems. Housed in a compact rackmountable chassis, the controller reportedly allows precise adjustment of three-axis motorised antennas up to 2.4 metres diameter. Azimuth, elevation and polarisation control are performed entirely in software, according to a company spokesman. The Hiltron HSACU can be fully controlled 46 | SatellitePro | September 2012
locally or from a remote IP browser. Local control is achieved via front-panel pushbuttons and a colour touch-panel graphic display. In IP remote control mode, the entire system can be operated from wherever is convenient to the SNG workflow. Fully automated acquisition of accessible satellites can be achieved within less than two minutes. An internal DVB-S/S2 tuner is provided for satellite verification. Heading determination is performed using a GPS and/ or a fluxgate compass. The HSACU includes dual-axis compensation of truck inclination.
Features of the Romantis IP SNG: UHP SNG Network supports various modes of operations, based on a combination of different carriers: TDM Outroute / TDMA Inroutes / cSCPC carrier. • Dynamically shared bandwidth inbetween all the SNGs and any other network terminals • Fully automated lineup procedure that can be performed at any time and without occupying any special slot • Any transmissions are under Hub control and remotely manageable • All network terminals can transmit realtime and other content simultaneously (with QoS), fully utilising the bandwidth • SNGs are always in two-way broadband connectivity with the NOC/studio. Features of the Romantis UHP satellite platform: UHP VSAT platform – reportedly the industry’s first satellite router that can be used within networks of any topology and size either as a Hub or a ‘Remote’ depending on the activated software. • “All-in-one” box solution: SCPC, TDM/SCPC, TDM/TDMA, Half Mesh, Full Mesh • Support of VLAN, multi-level QoS, codecindependent handling of real-time traffic, IGMP and TCP acceleration • Simultaneous support of full-mesh MFTDMA and DVB-S2 broadcast distribution of bandwidth-intensive IP applications such as streaming video • Up to 86 Mbps throughput in TDM/SCPC; up to 6.5 Mbps in Mesh or TDMA (QPSK) • Compatible with various drive-away antennas and standards
50 VSAT2012: Focus on consumer broadband, oil & gas Padding the Envelope: Serge Van Herck, Newtec, CEO, Belgium
Is DVB-S2 truly the end of the line and the ultimate in bandwidth efficiency as was suggested when it was launched? Perhaps not. Already there have been some incremental improvements with new gains being added step-by-step over the past year. The DVB project is working on new designs, and private companies like Newtec, are also pushing the boundaries within the DVB standards process. It is important for operators and users to understand what they can expect the technology to deliver long term and this presentation gives us a glimpse into the future. Small Steps Towards Risk Mitigation: David Gelerman, Advantech Wireless, CEO, Canada
The structure of the VSAT industry is continually changing as new technologies, frequencies, applications and platforms are brought to market. Hardware cost, particularly the initial investment required by a new or expanding operator, has been falling over the past few years. Consequently, the questions are to what extent do costs have to be driven down further, do we already have the products in place to enable greater innovation on the part of service providers and what are the implications for the market.
Proportion of video distribution in the total transponder demand in 2011
Register for premier ME broadcast event
A Tipping Point: Simon Bull, COMSYS, Senior Consultant, UK
The VSAT industry has entered a period of major change – one that many VSAT service providers, satellite operators and system vendors have been anticipating and which some have already begun to experience. As with major tipping points in the past, these changes bring disruption and opportunity resulting in casualties and major successes. The details behind all this are complex and somewhat contradictory – competing technologies will catalyse growth in some areas and destroy existing business in others, while new distribution channel structures will lock out some players and elevate others. This last happened at the turn of the century and VSAT prospered. Now we need to consider what the next ten years will demand of the technology.
In the 2012 edition of BroadcastPro Middle East’s Summit and Awards, our annual flagship event, we will feature innovations driven by the satellite industry in the broadcast sector. Featuring extensive networking opportunities, seminars and awards presentations by key industry and government leaders, BroadcastPro Middle East’s Summit and Awards are at the heart of the industry calendar, shining a light on the region’s most acclaimed products and technological innovations.
That’s Another Fine Mesh You Got Me Into: Bill Green, Hermes Datacom, global account manager, UK
Oil and gas isn’t all about stabilised systems in the major offshore fields, but many of the large land operations are just as remote and no less demanding than their floating compatriots. Hermes has made this segment their own in many ways, crafting small, highly functional mesh networks for major oil companies in locations from Algeria to Azerbaijan and all in between.
More speaker presentations at comsys.co.uk
At a glance: Dates: 12 November 2012 Venue: Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa, Dubai Registration: www.broadcastprome.com/ summitandawards2012 September 2012 | SatellitePro | 47
“DesignING resilience into the power and cooling systems” Steve Burgess, technical director at KIT digital Broadcast Systems Integration offers his perspective on NOCs Operation 24/7 is critical to the success of the business, so care has to be taken to design resilience into the power and cooling systems. An uninterruptable power supply is essential (preferably with redundancy) along with a reliable back-up diesel generator. All systems should be carefully maintained and tested on a regular basis. The equipment passes programme-critical signals, so redundancy is needed. This can range from redundant power supplies, through to complete spare programme chains in a separate chassis and kept in a hot standby mode. No matter how much redundancy is built into a particular site, there may still be occasions when working from the site could be impossible. Although it is hoped that these events never happen, provision has to be made for disaster recovery. This leads to the need to be able to control and monitor the traffic passing through the NOC from a remote location. The operators often have to endure long shifts with some periods of intense activity. It is extremely important to create a suitable environment with ergonomically designed
Network operating centre
48 | SatellitePro | September 2012
Steve Burgess, technical director at KIT digital Broadcast Systems Integration
“No matter how much redundancy is built into a particular site, there may still be occasions when working from the site could be impossible... provision has to be made for disaster recovery” chairs and desks, and comfortable viewing angles to all critical items of equipment. It is well known that uncomfortable operators are likely to make mistakes. Equally, we do not want them falling asleep during a long, quiet night shift. Historically, control of the various subsystems would be via the manufacturer’s own control system, often switched to the operator’s desk position by a large KVM matrix. For example, there would be a PC or other types of controllers running an
application specifically designed to control the encoder multiplex system. This would be supplied by the manufacturer of the encoder multiplex system. The same would apply to the glue system, routing system, antenna system and many other parts of the sent/ receive chains. An operator sitting at his desk would not be able to have separate displays/ keyboards/mouse for each of these systems, but would use a KVM matrix to switch his single display/keyboard/mouse to the appropriate PC/controller. This is OK, but the operator needs to be familiar with all the different ways of presenting data and the different control systems as designed by each manufacturer. It is inconvenient however, to teach the operators all the different control systems and many of them will be used very rarely. System-wide monitoring and control systems (M&C) have been around for some time to control the various systems in a satellite teleport for example, and increasingly the requirement is extended to be able to control more aspects of the NOC operation. In the ideal world, one user interface would control everything from the bookings, to the hardware switching, to the monitoring and conformance checking, and reporting. Multiviewers have become the norm in recent years and these can be used to good effect to allow increased flexibility in what is monitored and in what form. Increasing sophistication can be built in, alerting the operators to any problems, thus allowing an operator to be in control of many more channels. Satellite interference seems to be becoming an increasing problem for the owners and leasers of transponder space. More and more sophisticated tools are being developed to help identify that interference is in fact taking place (as opposed to poor operation) and to identify the source. These carrier monitoring systems must also be integrated into the overall control systems if possible. PRO
High Performance. Open Architecture. When you have it all, that’s
At Intelsat we’re used to big things. We already own and operate the biggest satellite, teleport and fiber infrastructure network in the world. But we’ve got even bigger plans: Intelsat EpicNG – our Next Generation high-performance satellite platform with an innovative combination of C-, Ku- and Ka-bands, wide beams, spot beams, and frequency re-use. • High Performance: high throughput, efficiency and reliability • Open Architecture: scalable, forward and backwards compatibility with your existing hardware • Greater Control: you define network topology and service elements • Optimal Coverage: all-continent coverage and a complementary overlay with Intelsat’s unmatched global fleet For you, this means lower cost of ownership.
More control. More choices. That’s Epic.
Meet with Intelsat during IBC 2012 at Hall 1, Stand 1.C71. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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