by Garrett Hill, CEO, X2nSat, Inc.
The Napa Valley made national news recently when a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit on August 24, and X2nSat was part of the response in a way most would never be aware of – in the form of satellite communications equipment and services used by utility responders who are clients of X2nSat.
As the aftermath of the largest earthquake to shake Northern California in 25 years unfolded, our staff manned our 24/7 Network Operations Center and we did our part to ensure PG&E’s response to the ’quake had reliable, potentially life-saving communications in place. I’ll admit we even felt a little pride when we’d see one of our antennae in news footage covering this terrifying event.
It was just another reminder of the intricate and intimate ways satellite communications solutions are part of the fabric of daily life in ways that are often unseen and misunderstood, sometimes even by those in our own industry.
Besides our involvement on the ground, there are new developments in satellite technology that will aid in predicting and studying earthquakes, including radar images collected by the Sentinel-1A satellite being used to map the rupture caused by the recent Napa Earthquake.
To aid in that understanding, I hosted a “State of Satellite” webinar with some of our channel partners recently, the goal of which was to help paint the big picture of why satellite is a great solution for communications needs, and to remind our partners that X2nSat is a great solution for multisite corporations.
Satellite communications joined the fabric of information sharing in a meaningful way in the 1970s, and has become so ubiquitous that, ironically, it’s also become invisible to the average person. As I was reading recently on the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) website, it’s often only during natural disasters, such as the one noted above, that people are reminded of the power and infiltration of satellites in the telecommunications world (SSPI website). (That’s just one reason we were proud sponsors of the Disaster Planning for California Hospitals Conference in Sacramento; in September 2014.)
I stress our compatibility with multisite organizations because what we offer may not be as visible to the public as a satellite provider such as more visible providers packaging their services for consumer and residential satellite communications. That's not really what we do. Here at X2nSat, we focus more on the B2B applications of satellite communications. We work with strategic, international partners to accomplish this, including utilizing Belgium-based Newtec’s broadband platform (Sat3Play) to power enterprise and government services via the ST4G brand since February 2013.
We focus our solutions in three main areas outlined in more detail below for those who want to know: POS & SCADA, Business Continuity and Broadband:
POS (Wireless Point of Sale)
X2nSat provides a fully-managed, turnkey solution for Point-of-Sale sites, allowing merchants and financial institutions to process electronic transactions over a commercial-grade satellite network with ease, anywhere on the globe.
SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition)
With operational costs competitive with traditional land-line infrastructure due to the low data throughput required for M2M (Machine to Machine) terminals, satellite is the communication system of choice for power generation companies, enterprises and many other organizations with narrowband data requirements. Whether in bustling cities or rural landscapes, X2nSat manages thousands of SCADA sites all over the world.
SCADA is a critical component to remotely monitor, control and manage the continuity and quality of industrial facilities in various sites. Evolving with the technological leaps of the last quarter century, SCADA systems now have multiple uses for all kinds of organizations, including continuous monitoring and control of remote sites, automation, upstream oil and gas mining, hydraulic measurement, tower management, utility SmartMeter back-haul and much more.
Satellite is ideal for any site requiring two-way, narrowband communication, especially when there is little or no terrestrial communications infrastructure available.
First, I highly recommend learning more about the importance of business continuity from the “big picture” perspective by visiting the Business Continuity Institute online (or at their headquarters in the United Kingdom if you’re in the mood to travel). X2nSat's wireless, satellite-delivered continuity is the most secure continuity option currently available to enterprises with one site or thousands. Supported by a state-of-the-art, 24/7 Network Operations Center, our enterprise-level satellite platform provides true path diversity and is completely untied to local communications infrastructure.
Business continuity is a vital arm of large and small businesses alike, assuring constant connectivity and resilience in today's increasingly digital world. Virtually every process of modern enterprise operations involve network interface, increasing productivity while also making the entire organization vulnerable to network disruption. Productivity, logistics, revenue and employee safety are significantly impacted when primary connectivity is down for even a short period.
While everyday factors such as human error and equipment failure cause the majority of minor disconnections, the constant threat from excavation incidents, acts of terrorism and increasingly occurring natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and fires can take networks down for extended periods of time. Some of these risks could take your organization offline for only an hour, others for weeks, but in a competitive and highly-automated environment, even minutes of lost communication between company sites or processes can have significant results. In a recent internal study by Hewlett Packard, it was found that unexpected network downtime costs their organization approximately $900,000 per hour.
X2nSat's Shared Broadband Service plans are designed for clients looking for general internet broadband connectivity. These plans give users high quality Broadband internet experience and allow competitive price points in relation to other local wireless options such as 3G/4G services from AT&T and Verizon.
This article was first published in X2nSat's blog.
Newtec is an independent technology partner for broadband systems, guaranteeing the lowest total cost of ownership. Our scalable platforms allow IP connectivity for consumer, enterprise and multiservice applications such as SCADA, datacasting and IP trunking.