The Connectivity Context
Accessing the Internet, whenever you want, wherever you are, wherever you’re going to, and however you’re getting there, with fast broadband data speeds, is now universal in the service delivery goals and user expectations of today’s communications marketplace.
In the workplace and at home, multiple-tens of Mbps service is increasingly the commonplace with the deployment of fixed fibre-based infrastructures by telecoms service providers. However, for an ever-growing proportion of an ever-more demanding user base, this is not enough.
Increasingly, as the user-to-device relationship migrates away from the desktop/laptop PC, with local hard drive data storage, towards tablets and smartphones with increasing volumes of data stored to the Cloud, the overwhelming emphasis is on connectivity and seamless access to multimedia services which meet an insatiable demand for increasingly video-based enterprise and social media applications, whilst the user is entirely mobile, on land, in-flight, or at sea.
This seamless connectivity expectation, and the objective of universalising a seamless connectivity experience which goes way beyond the practical and commercially-sustainable geographical boundaries of today’s 3G and 4G wireless networks, whether over public or private networks, is something that, at the practical deployment level, can only be achieved with a combination of different wireless telecommunications/broadband access technologies – a combination that will increasingly engage the most mobility-enhancing and nomadic communications technology of all, satellite.
The Conference Mission
‘Connectivity 2017: Air, Sea, Surface & Rail: Evolving the New and Not so New Verticals’ will examine some of the key themes, technological developments, and market trends that feature on the path to a universal connectivity ecosystem, with particular, though not exclusive, reference to the latest developments in the satellite communications marketplace which are focused around the launch of more-and-more high throughput satellite (HTS) payloads into orbit. HTS has already changed the paradigm of satellite communications capabilities in the realms of the satellite-only connectivity solution, but is also bringing a vastly enhanced dynamic to the wider realms of the satellite + terrestrial hybrid solution – solutions used in the corporate, enterprise, government, military, consumer, and other, sectors.
Future of Mobile Backhaul:
Satellite networking has always been an imperative for extending the typical service area of terrestrial cellular wireless systems, and connectivity for 2G/GSM voice and SMS applications, in many parts of the world, has been built on the foundation of backhaul over satellite. Now with those parts of the world migrating to 3G & 4G – and looking forward to 5G – we should ask, “What does 5G hold in store for demand for mobile backhaul?”
Satellite & the Mobile Network Operators:
MNOs want new, innovative backhaul architectures that are robust and flexible enough to accommodate shifting traffic loads on cell sites without massive bandwidth over-provisioning. Importantly, MNOs are looking at the segmenting of macro-cells into smaller (femto-, pico-) cells, a trend presenting new challenges for the satellite backhaul vendor whose next-generation backhaul solutions must be more robust as well as high-speed.
The Evolution of Comms-on-the-Move/Comms-on-the-Pause Markets:
Another key theme will examine the COTM technologies used to bring earth stations on vehicles/mobile platforms – whether they be rail, in-flight, or at sea – and the associated practicalities of driving RoI from solution deployments across train networks, fleets of aircraft, and cruise liners. The conference programme will also explore connectivity issues as Merging Broadband Satellite & Wireless into a Unified Value Chain; Satellite Broadband, Wireless & the Digital Citizen; Digital Citizen to Retail Consumer & m-Payer; BYOD – Connectivity Across the Employment-Leisure Divide; and, Civil and Military Comms-on-the-Pause (COTP).
Mining & Remote Resource Extraction:
Remote connectivity to support mission-critical applications in the mining of essential resources is as much of a key industry requirement as it is in the oil & gas sector. Mining, for raw materials to support manufacture and advanced industrial processes, is an inherently remote operation and the need for satellite and satellite-terrestrial hybrid connectivity solutions is a vital element to the growth and cost-effectiveness of the industry.
Hospitality & Unlimited Mobility Connectivity:
The hospitality industry is a major growth area and communications solution users want unlimited connectivity, all the time and anywhere and everywhere they go. Whether on a jungle or mountain-top adventure, in a remote safari encampment, an isolated luxury hotel or leisure facility, or on the deck of a super yacht, connectivity with family, friends, to the news agenda, and to the financial markets is a commoditised expectation that is just as much a travellers expectation as food and drink.
Networks & Cyber Security:
Cyber security leads todays ICT agenda… in satcoms too. Network integrity, resilience and robustness in the increasingly inter-connected digital world will become even more of an imperative as more Cloud-based networks of applications, data, and services are targeted by financially and politically motivated cyber criminals.
M2M, IoT & the IPv6 World:
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications is another key connectivity focus, and the interface and synergy of M2M communications and satellite communications will comprise part of the conference dialogue. This dialogue notes the longer-term significance of transitioning to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). With the ever-increasing number of devices being connected to the Internet, and the consequent need for more IP addresses than the current IPv4 protocol is able to accommodate, it is IPv6 which will bring on the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT)/Internet of Everything (IoE), and it is the IoT/IoE which will be the ultimate realisation of a future universal M2M environment which will far exceed the potential boundaries and limited scope of even the greatest reach of the present day M2M environment.
It is the IoT/IoE which will create a dynamic network of tens of billions of wireless identifiable ‘things’ communicating with one another, bringing ubiquitous computing, and integrating the digital world and the physical world. More concretely, improved sensor device capabilities will facilitate business logic at the edges of networks as decision-making is based on real-time readings from sensors that are used to monitor pretty much anything and everything. Globally, this market is growing fast, and the aggregated target markets make its potential for the satellite industry very important.
Vehicle Telematics…the Smart City Environment, and beyond:
Road vehicles, most particularly the modern car (but not excluding the passenger bus/coach, freight truck, etc.) increasingly feature telematics and related applications to monitor vehicle performance, SatNav, provide alarms, GPS trackers and immobilisers, speed limiters, parking aids, as well as communications and infotainment with in-car WiFi. The role of satcoms in this field will be examined, as will its part in the emergence of the Smart City.
A smart city uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve contact between citizens and government. Sectors that have been developing smart city technology include government services, transport and traffic management, energy, health care, water and waste. Smart city applications are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. Given that Smart city initiatives are constantly evolving around the globe and that, at present, more than 100 cities are implementing some kind of smart solution within their ecosystem, and that, by 2020, it is predicted that the global market will grow to more than US$2 trillion, this is an important theme for Connectivity 2017.
The Satellite - Cloud Interface: What will the Satellite-Cloud Interface look like?
The Cloud brings together different technologies – broadband networks, virtualisation, Web 2.0 interactivity, time sharing, and browser interfaces – each of them significant advances in their own right, but all the more powerful in combination, and thus the Cloud is now fundamentally changing the way organisations use IT. The communications networks underpinning today’s distributed computing are not only fast, and not only getting faster, but the rate at which they are getting faster is itself speeding-up, creating opportunities for Cloud implementation to bring higher organisational performance, greater flexibility, and savings on costs.
The Satellite and Terrestrial Wireless Synergy:
So, what are the strengths and weaknesses inherent in current and developing satellite technologies as far as providing access to The Cloud is concerned? In posing this question, the conference objective is not to engage in a satellite-versus-terrestrial argument – particularly given the long-established trend of hybridised communications networks comprising satellite and terrestrial wireless technologies, as noted above. Rather the objective is to identify exactly where the unique nature of satellite communications can contribute to the greater functionality, and reliability, and ubiquity, and connectivity to the Cloud, not only for the high-density metropolis of the globe’s most developed markets, but also for the remote communities of the world’s emerging and developing economies and societies.