Robert Bell, Executive Director of the World Teleport Association, interviewed our CEO Serge Van Herck and VP Asia Mario Querner as part of WTA's Executive Dialogues.
In these video dialogues WTA talks to leading executives of the teleport, the satellite and the technology space about the issues, the trends and technologies that will shape the future of our industry.
As there are a lot of interesting questions Robert has asked to Serge and Mario, we thought to provide you with both: the original video as well as the full interview below.
What disruptive forces in the marketplace are you keeping an eye on for your company?
Serge Van Herck: When looking at disruptive forces we first think of high throughput satellites such as Ka-band, Ku-band and C-band, but also disruptive forces like on the technology side.
We've been working hard over the last year to help DVB come up with a new standard, DVB-S2X, and together we are convinced that this will help our industry to move forward by reducing cost and increasing speed.
Another new technology that we bring to the market that will help our industry going forward is called Mx-DMA™. It’s a new return technology where instead of using SCPC and MF-TDMA, you are instead able to reduce the return capacity by 50%.
Mario Querner: We definitely see a pressure for providing better services to our customers in terms of whether moving from SD to HD or whether our technology is providing more bandwidth. Our answer is to provide technology with better efficiency, and by bringing in the new standard DVB-S2X. Being a technology provider we know we need to be up to speed in terms of providing a cost-efficient solution to our customers.
High-throughput technologies are advancing from niche to a new architecture. What opportunities does this create?
Serge Van Herck: When we look to change the solution we should not forget that these changes affect the business model. Newtec is a technology company focussed on providing solutions to our customers. We have other colleagues in the industry who went another way and became a service provider and even a satellite provider, so that is another important change that we see. As a technology company we hope that in the future we will be able to continue to deliver technologies to our customers who value the fact that they have a partner which is not competing with others in the industry and that is primarily focussed on helping them further their business objectives.
When we look at high-throughput satellites, for example, we are convinced that we will see more and more satellite operators selling their capacity again as megahertz and not a fully managed service. These customers of satellite operators will be able to buy technologies from us to operate on those high-throughput satellites.
Mario Querner: In Asia we already have high-throughput satellite from the Thaicom 4. It's an open system and we encourage VSAT operators and service providers to go on an open system because then they have the choice to select the best equipment and best modems. We have noticed that high-throughput satellites work well with the open system approach in the region.
There are several high-throughput satellites scheduled in Ku and in Ka-band so the services are also changing, as they offer more bandwidth and better speed. This means you go on Ka-band because you have the highest speed available. On the other side you have less availability. So it depends on the services you are offering. For banking, I would still leave this on the C-band but if you go for other services there’s a good trend on Ku and Ka. In particular, when you want to have high speed then your only answer today is high-throughput satellite as you get more bandwidth at a lower cost.
In a multi-platform world, how will satellite maintain its competitive edge?
Serge Van Herck: We know today most of the satellite business is generated by broadcasting services and that will remain for quite some time and is very important. We will also see certain applications which are being used less, for example with more fibre being rolled out, trunking applications over satellite are going down in number. On the other side, there is an opportunity as more and more people are asking for last mile connectivity. When you look to Newtec and our products, we have a shift from high speed to trunking, to more local last mile types of applications, where we need more equipment that goes to customers or even to towers for doing mobile backhauling. Therefore we definitely see a shift in applications but that doesn’t mean that our business is decreasing, but rather, more equipment is being sold in the market. Additionally, the technology we bring with Newtec Dialog® is helping our customers to support different types of applications, ranging from consumer broadband, broadband for professional users, mobile backhauling and trunking, so with this new platform we give our customers the flexibility to be able to address all of these markets.
Mario Querner: As a technology provider, we are an ideal company as we are really pushing limits to the boundaries. Supporting the DVB-S2X standardisation process is a recent example of this and at CommunicAsia today we are showing live demos of DVB-S2X being used to transmit 4K. We are a real innovative company and continually trying to bring more bits per hertz. Today we also launched our new multiservice system called Newtec Dialog, which supports several return channel technologies, including our Mx-DMA, which combines the flexibility of MF-TDMA with the efficiency of SCPC. We receive strong feedback and interest from our customers for these solutions. We continually produce new technology to help our customers save a lot of megahertz and save on costs.
How concerned are you about the effort of the mobile industry to gain access to C-band?
Serge Van Herck: This is quite dangerous for the industry because some satellite operators have built their business on C-band and it is an important part of their revenues so this could hurt their business and put the whole industry under pressure. It is definitely not a good thing that they might be losing capacity and space segmented C-band to keep up with the rush of technologies as this could create a negative effect on operator’s revenues. It could also have a negative effect on investments in satellite as you have to be sure long term investments will, after five or ten years, not be destroyed by the government or by a decision that your frequencies will be taken away.
What trends in Asia do you think will translate into new opportunities?
Mario Querner: At Newtec we still see a strong demand for DTH in TV but also now in backhauling. It’s interesting that DTH operators are now looking into interactive TV instead of linear TV so we speak about broadcast meets broadband with the demand for more Internet services rather than voice. For backhauling we see a clear trend for data, changing slowly but surely.
What products are you debuting or showing at CommunicAsia 2014?
Serge Van Herck: We have some important announcements here at the show, for example, we are demonstrating the first DVB-S2X transmission with one of our partner satellite operators here at the show, by showing live UHDTV using the new standard. One of my colleagues said “It’s a small step for Newtec, but it’s a big step for the industry!”
We are also launching our new multiservice platform, Newtec Dialog, in Asia, along with the new return technology Mx-DMA. These technologies will provide flexibility, efficiency and scalability to our customers in this region of the world.
Are there any other comments you would like to share with our viewers?
Mario Querner: I would like to highlight once more that Newtec provides state of the art technology and innovation, which will bring even more solutions to benefit our customers and help the industry develop and grow.
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