The mobility market segment has been a bright spot in the satellite industry in recent years, as video revenues continue to decline. New advances in ground system technology like flat panel antennas are enabling higher bandwidth connectivity in mobility sectors like aero, maritime, and land. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has hit this sector hard. Cruises are stuck at port and many planes are grounded as leisure travel has ground to a complete halt.Mobility Market’s Post-Pandemic
NSR mobility analyst Brad Grady said in the 10 years he has been working with the satellite market, this is the most challenging situation he has seen yet.
“There are some spots that are still okay,” says Grady. “Government, military, and first response are still doing okay. The airline market — significant challenges there. In maritime, new installations are down, vessels are challenged. Bandwidth demand we think is going to be up by the end of this year, relative to last year, because everyone is still communicating and requiring more and more updates. But overall, this is one of the harder times that I’ve seen.”
This challenge comes as companies that have been developing new antenna technology have been gathering speed and ushering in a new era of ground system technology to pair with Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) constellations. Although the market is experiencing challenges now, leaders in the sector see reason to be optimistic for the future.
Jon Harrison, European office general manager for Intellian, a provider of stabilized satellite antenna systems, says the pandemic is demonstrating the need for high-speed connectivity and the technology that enables it. Mobility Market’s Post-Pandemic
“Reliable, high-speed connectivity has clearly become the vital thread which is keeping the human race functioning during this historic and distressing time,” Harrison says. “Whether this is enabling personnel from a vast range of industries to work remotely in a virtual office environment … or allowing families, friends, and colleagues to communicate face-to-face via popular messaging apps, its value not just to the global business infrastructure, but also to everyone’s physical and mental well-being should not be underestimated. The technological integration which supports all of this would have been inconceivable not so long ago.