Category Archives: New Technologies

Get Your Shades, The Future Is Bright…

Remember that song from the 1980’s – “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades?”.  That’s what I took away from the Satellite conference last week.  In this relatively young industry, developments move fast.  Not building and launching satellites mind you – that literally takes years.  And well it should because after all (say it with me) this actually IS rocket science. Continue reading

Why Do We Still Lose Planes?

Since the disappearance of flight 370 I have been considering how to sound outraged and concerned, rather than bossy and on a sales pitch.  I was a panelist at the Satellite 2104 conference in Washington, DC this week, and I cringe each time the news reports another speculation on flight 370. Continue reading

Hang On To Your Hat!

‘It is impossible to travel at the speed of light and certainly not advisable as one’s hat keeps blowing off’ Anonymous

The arctic vortex and winter storms Hercules and Ion aside, we are in for one wild ride and 2104 is not even a week old!  During interviews with potential employees, we frequently point out that even if the value proposition for SatCom is relatively simple, it still after all rocket science.  One thing is for sure; change.  The quote is not really directly related to this week’s post, I just happened to remember it from Mr. Rasmussen’s 5th grade science class and it supported the title.  Yet I digress….

If we look back at some of the developments of 2103 – Globalstar’s re-emergence, Iridium’s design approval, financing and developments within Aerion and Inmarsat’s launch of the first 1-5 satellite and purchase of Globecomm.  These events contribute to the groundwork for what will certainly be a year of change and action in SatCom.  I’ve often touted on my ‘SatCom 101’ webinar that they are always evolving as the industry changes and 2014 is sure to be a grand adventure.

O3b has begun service and is yet to continue, Iridium will be building and preparing for NEXT satellite launches, Globalstar will be updating ground stations and handsets to avail of the new constellation’s Gen2 services.  KVH is pushing ahead, the big four VSAT providers are mo ving forward.  This does not count the smaller, less visible action of new distributors signing on and others signing off, via merger, acquisition or just having the founder retire.  There is always plenty to follow.

So what will 2104 bring us?  Hard to say more specifically than what I have outlined above, but one thing is for sure: the SatCom industry is always evolving.  There will be new solutions, new pricing models, new value propositions and change by the month, if not week.

So stay tuned, keep reading and I’ll keep posting what you’ll need to know to stay on top of this exciting industry.

Gold Medals, Politics and the Future

I commented to my wife the other day that after competing in London, all of the athletes can forever call themselves “Olympic Athletes”.  Just think about the gravity of that proclamation: Olympic Athlete.  That is just so cool!  The commitment and dedication of time, money, resources and support is astounding.  Olympic athlete – the best in the world.  The athleticism is phenomenal, each athlete in their own right for their sport.  I don’t think I’ve seen rhythmic gymnastics in the past because – WOW – is that impressive!  The precision of the divers and gymnasts, volleyball – both indoor and beach is amazing to see.  The pure strength and power of weightlifters and shot-putters and the speed and endurance and resilience (running with a broken leg?).  It’s so refreshing to see the optimism, the hope, determination, guts and glory; going for gold has been a lifetime pursuit for these young athletes.

On the other hand as we head into America’s most important presidential election…well, not as refreshing, to say the least. The misinterpreted comments that reach the news desk, the out-of-context statements used for political gain, the nastiness that has become American politics is disheartening.  Our government is broken and it needs to be fixed.  So far our elected officials have simply stalled and put things off and passed the buck.  The unpleasant reality is that we all – everyone, no exceptions here – need to help pay for the damage of the past 30-40 years.  Spending money we didn’t have (and still don’t have) has become an addiction.  Here’s the tough question: Do we have the backbone to face up to the fiscal mess in which we are embroiled, or do we just shrug it off  as ‘that’s life’ and get back to our lattes, unlimited texting, facebook updates and on-demand video services?  Will we pay as much attention to the political games as we did to the Olympic games?

So what’s the tie into Satcom?  Threefold:

1) Satcom was used extensively during the London Games

2) Satcom will be used extensively during the upcoming political season and

3) Whether you are an optimist or cynic about the Satcom space, there is plenty to discuss.  Between Inmarsat’s channel conflicts and pricing adventures, Globalstar’s litigation with various providers, the guys who are still ‘selling’ Terrestar knowing there is no network; one could easily be a pessimist. However, look at Iridium’s tie into the future ATC system, hosted payloads, the storied success of Globalstar’s SPoT and the revolutionary functionality of BGAN and KVH’s increasing presence and one may conclude Satcom’s best days are still ahead of us.

It just depends on your perspective.  What perspective do you think the athletes who participated in London would have regarding Satcom’s future?  Please feel free to e-mail me with your view.

Thanks for reading!

Mission Accomplished

A few years ago, Iridium Communications (IRDM) added their slogan ‘Iridium Everywhere’ to their marketing and messaging.  Last week it was announced that ‘Iridium Everywhere’ will indeed become reality.

The announcement of the joint venture between Iridium and the FAA (and NAV Canada, Harris and ITT Exelsis) – called Aerion, brings this simple phrase to reality.  The notion that Iridium will be building a system to track aircraft around the globe is astounding.  This truly means that Iridium will be everywhere –with both full global coverage AND on the thousands of commercial airliners across the planet.  It is great visionary thinking that results in these kinds of programs and we congratulate CEO Matt Desch and his team for this accomplishment.

Now, this week’s blog is interactive (figuratively speaking) so I’ll ask you to reflect:  What is YOUR Mission Accomplished?

What is your organization’s mission?  Is there one; and do you know what it is?  How does management live into this mission and set the wheels in motion, build the structure, keep the energy and momentum to accomplish that mission?  What is the ‘mission accomplished’ point?  How do you know it is ‘accomplished’?  I ask these questions so you can follow Iridium’s lead.

At GlobaFone we have a mission: ‘We Help Heroes Save Lives’. Whether the solutions we provide are used by our men and women of the military, emergency responders, or business continuity planners (the Heroes), the notion that Satcom provided by GlobaFone saves lives drives us onward.  We’ve received notes that said “Thank you – this phone saved my life’ and it has happened on more than one occasion.  So?  Mission Fulfilled for GlobaFone? Sure but this is an on-going process, not a one-time event.  We continue to push ahead with new solutions and services that fulfill that mission, exploring all that this innovative industry has to offer.  We may borrow a page or two from Iridium, as well as other sources to consider where we go and the process may involve re-defining, or re-focusing, although our underlying mission has remained the same for nearly 10 years since I first coined the mission phrase – ‘We Help Heroes Save Lives’.  It certainly garners further discussions when people ask ‘what do you do’?

So keep driving towards those mission accomplished moments, those achievements that define you, your work and your organization.  As Iridium has shown us, ‘Mission Accomplished’ is a great place to arrive.

Thanks for reading.

What Will We See in 2012?

Happy New Year and Welcome 2012!

Lou Altman, GlobaFone CEO guest writing again.   2011 was spectacular for me both personally and for GlobaFone.  We reached some great new milestones, having won some long-pursued business, adding some great companies and government agencies to our client list.  And we have ambitious plans for this coming year – sorry, no tipping the hand, you’ll just have keep an eye out for our name in the news.  That said, I will share that I have been invited to several speaking engagements, the next one is at the International Disater Conference and Expo in New Orleans January 16-19.  Keep an eye out for other engagements.

Today I posted this question in a couple of LinkedIn groups: ‘What’s On for 2012?’  We can all read the tea leaves and the financial reports but they do not really get to the ‘gut feel’ of this business.  So what is YOUR opinion?  For example:

  • Will Iridium confirm NEXT has been all wrapped up , or will we see the satellites having problems ala Globalstar?
  • Will Globalstar return to full service, or will we see more bad news and Globalstar’s possible demise?
  • What will Inmarsat’s desire to go direct have on the distribution channel and will the tepid response to iSAT serve as a marker that handhelds belong to other providers?
  • Are we in for new developments on the data side aka new applications for BGAN?
  • Where will Iridium Force figure into the development picture?
  • Is Thuraya going to make some significant moves? 

Anyone who has spent more than a few days immersed in the satellite phone business would certainly agree that this is an exciting industry – change is guaranteed, as is movement, progress and innovation.  It keeps us all sharp and creative.

So I invite you to e-mail me – l.altman at and let me know what YOU think we have in store  I am happy to engage in discussion and compare notes.

So, again, here’s to 2012, all it has to offer us and all we can create!  Cheers!

GlobaFone to Appear at Upcoming Tradeshows

GlobaFone will be showcasing our suite of product offerings including satellite phones, data devices, and services at upcoming tradeshows before year end. Look for Erin Blair Monday, October 24-Wednesday, October 26, at the NCEMA All Hazards conference in Hickory, North Carolina. Overlapping those dates, Julie Kendall will be attending the NEDRIX conference Sunday, October 23 – Tuesday, October 25, in Newport Rhode Island. And finally, founder and CEO Lou Altman will be attending the EMEX (Emergency Management and Homeland Security Conference), in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday, Novemeber 14 – Wednesday, November 16.

Iridium Scheduled to Announce New Product Developments

Iridium will make an announcement  on Wednesday, September 7, at 11 a.m., via a live webinar explaining product expansion for the mobile communication market. According to a company announcement, “Iridium CEO, Matt Desch, invites you to the introduction of an extensive roster of new products and services that move Iridium beyond satellite phones, enabling users to connect anywhere, anytime, reaching outside of traditional communications networks.”

Interested parties are encouraged to sign up for the webinar