The Strategic View: Changing winds for satcom vertical markets

By Pacôme Révillon, CEO, Euroconsult
February 15, 2017

During the same week at the end of last month, two pieces of news with no apparent link summarize some of the strategic stakes currently at play in the satellite sector.

In the U.S., American Airlines announced the end of seat-back screens on its new Boeing 737 Max jets, to the benefit of Wi-Fi connectivity and content delivery to passengers. Someday, the majority of the seven billion passengers expected by IATA to travel in 2035 shall be connected over satellite.

In the U.K., Sky announced the introduction of a new receiver that will not include satellite reception. In the very long term, part of the close to 300 million homes receiving television direct-to-home may move to terrestrial alternatives if available and more cost effective.

Together these events are new evidence of the impact of digitization, and of the move to a data-driven, data-rich environment. The need to innovate is stronger than ever; so is the need for satellite solutions to be further embedded in the ICT ecosystem, as the single option to guarantee the long-term growth of the industry.

In the meantime, the decline or end of any service would require a long-term evolution. IFE screens will continue to remain widespread for the foreseeable future on various airline routes. As well, direct-to-home TV broadcasting will remain a mass market for a number of years even in the most wired world regions.

The new competitive landscape requires creative thinking and the capability to anticipate future development paths, but also the ability to formalize new strategic plans. It also necessitates establishing new networks of partners, suppliers and customers as next generation solutions will demand interrelationships on a greater scale and innovative interfaces.