Interview with Sjoerd De Clerck, Vice President, Asia, Newtec
You have stated previously your growth strategy for Asia is built on 3 pillars, Partnerships, Service and focus on HTS, could you elaborate where you are in that strategy?
Over the last year we have added sales and service people in India, Indonesia and the North East Asia region and have expanded our certified partner network with new members in The Philippines, Korea and Australia. That growth will continue. Satellite is a ‘people’ business, having the right professionals in place is essential in working with and supporting system integrators, service providers, satellite operators and end users and as our market share continues to grow, so must our support network.
On the HTS front we were of course very proud to announce our partnership with Kacific and it will be a pleasure to work with the team to make Kacific1 which will bring new and additional affordable connectivity in Ka-band over Indonesia, the Philippines and the Pacific. In addition, we are looking forward to being involved in the many HTS launches planned over Asia Pacific in the years to come. Overall, HTS has become a clear growth-driver for us.
The video market is in some turmoil at the moment with the future of satellite deemed uncertain. Can you comment?
Markets and technologies change, and video is no stranger to that with linear TV giving way to OTT and consumer preferences changing. Although this is most definitely a potential threat to the old business models, it is first and foremost a formidable opportunity for forward-looking broadcasters to enter the multi-service play, offering their customers a combination of linear and OTT rather than one or the other.
With billions of connected devices such as phones and tablets at people’s fingertips, it’s no wonder that users are turning to new ways to consume content: anytime, anywhere and on any device. It is essential that service providers offer content that is ready to be viewed on consumer devices. However, at the same time, it is imperative to keep costs under control. Converting as much unicast transmission as possible to multicast transmission avoids sending multiple copies of the same content across the network, thus saving a huge amount of bandwidth. Satellite provides the ideal solution for OTT services due to its ability to distribute content over vast geographical areas, its scalability, its cost-effectiveness and its ability to reach remote areas. Broadcasters can benefit from the new revenue generating opportunities the two-way communication OTT offers.
But let us also not forget that good old DTH is far from dead, and in fact is in some territories still expanding! Dish TV in India is a prime example of that and we are happy that via our certified partners, Horizon Broadcast (HBE) and Mediakind, Dish has selected our modulators for the significantly higher efficiency and bandwidth savings they bring. This makes Dish TV one of the best equipped broadcasters in the region.
Newtec is known as technological innovator and for being at the forefront of technology. What can we look forward to from Newtec?
Our Mx-DMA® technology has had a huge impact on the segment of the market where efficiency and bandwidth savings matter most, the midsegment – between TDMA and SCPC. Going forward we will expand that stronghold both upward, with even faster SCPC modems and downwards with efficiency improvements for the TDMA market. Next to that, our Newtec Dialog® family is expanding with our XIF accommodating the tens- to hundreds of beams of the new generation HTS satellites.
Which market segments will Newtec be focusing on in 2019?
We have been very successful in broadcast and broadband, especially with the Universal Service Obligation (USO) projects bringing Internet to the unconnected, and that focus remains, but it is an undisputable fact that the fastest growing segment is mobility.
In terms of inflight connectivity, we have established a strong partnership with Panasonic Avionics which is a world leader in inflight connectivity. Our work within the commercial aviation industry has expanded significantly. Since we announced the partnership, Panasonic now has 350 aircraft flying with its Gen 3 Newtec modem to provide inflight connectivity and plans to have 1,000 completed later this year. The Newtec modem offers Panasonic’s aero customers up to 20 times the bandwidth of its original solution and can facilitate the increasing bandwidth coming on stream as HTS and Extreme-Throughput Satellite (XTS) services continue to be layered over the Panasonic’s existing global network.
Panasonic’s network is built on Panasonic’s high throughput satellite service, which covers all dense mobility traffic areas around the globe with high throughput spot beams and wide overlay beams that support Panasonic’s global inflight television service. Along with the Newtec modem, this supports the provision of in-flight services such as fast internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved TV picture quality and a broader channel choice, the capability to offer 3G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.
Going forward, the maritime market is set to be a key one for Newtec. We are now bringing forward the technologies that allow ultra-high throughput, beam switching, intelligent bandwidth allocation to the maritime market where you may expect some significant announcements shortly. The cruise line market is for us an obvious target in view of its supreme high technical requirements, but let’s also not forget that 9 of the 10 largest container ports in the world are in Asia and that we are home to the largest fishing fleets in the world, so those markets segments are therefore of prime importance too.
Another important segment will be cellular backhaul. The part that satellite has to play in mobile connectivity is already being seen across the world, with a rising number of mobile network operators choosing to use satellite for cellular backhaul when delivering 2G, 3G and 4G services. Satellite has a major part to play in terms of delivering these services to regions with limited or no terrestrial infrastructure.
There is certainly much to look forward to and we look forward to strengthening our presence in all of our market segments, enabling efficiency, scalability and cost effectiveness.
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Sjoerd De Clerck joined Barco NV in 1986 as a Product Support Engineer and has held the last decades several VP roles within the company. For two years, until 1994, he was active in M&A activities for the company until he founded the Control Room Division based on an external acquisition. In 2000, Sjoerd started the Digital Cinema Division where he was responsible for P&L responsibilities where he managed the R&D, sales and customer support teams. From 2006 he became responsible for the European and South American growth markets and was promoted to the Vice President of Customer Services EMEA-LA in 2009 before joining Newtec as VP Asia of Sales end of 2016.