Satellite broadband provider SES Networks is now an IBM Cloud partner, collaborating with IBM to bring connectivity and cloud-based offerings, plus access to cognitive computing, to regions of the globe with limited or no access to Internet.
The partnership approach is especially beneficial to enterprises with remote offices, plants or other outposts in far-flung areas unserved by terrestrial networks or suffering from unreliable, inconsistent and sluggish services, said Ewald Schrap, vice president of Cloud Segment Market Management at SES Networks, in an interview with Broadband World News. Energy companies such as mining, oil and natural gas; aviation, boat fleets, trains and modes of transport, as well as global telecommunications and government are only some of the target markets, he noted.
"We can provide reach and connectivity. With our satellite network we can reach very remote locations. We can give the right type of capacity, speed and reliability," said Schrap.
While SES Networks seeks other cloud provider partners, IBM Watson was one reason it became the satellite broadband provider's debut partner after it began "actively engaging with cloud providers over the past couple of months," according to Schrap. Cognitive computing is an attractive capability to offer customers; it's also of great interest to SES Networks, which receives terabytes of data from its satellites, he said.
"Cognitive computing requires a lot of input data; you require quite a lot of records, and that's one of the interesting things we can do -- provide these big pipes for these huge amounts of data. You will have intelligent cloud, which exists today, and the intelligent edge," said Schrap. "We can do it in a fiber like manner. We can transport vast amounts of data fast. We, as a company, generate a lot of data on our satellites, so we could make use of some of those capabilities ourselves."
Customers get "fiber-like global connectivity" via SES Networks' O3b, MEF CE 2.0-certified medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite network, designed to provide enhanced resilience and always-on managed connectivity services to IBM Cloud customers. SES Networks manages the connectivity, Schrap said. And because the satellite is MEF CE 2.0 certified, enterprise customers can measure actual broadband connectivity attributes such as latency, jitter and throughput against their service level agreements (SLAs), SES Networks said.
Taking a standards-based approach is critical to SES Networks, John-Paul Hemingway, company CEO, told BBWN earlier this year, on the day before SpaceX launched one of its satellites from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. During a press conference in nearby Port Canaveral, overlooking the barge that catches SpaceX' reusable rocket component and an earlier interview, Hemingway said the company's strategy for success incorporates some of the best practices of the systems integration and PC world, along with the reliability and resilience of telecom. (See Broadband Satellites Revitalize Space Age.)
"We are looking to be the foremost global provider of managed data services enabled by satellites," Hemingway told BBWN in May. "It shouldn't be important these services are delivered by satellite. People need the same end-to-end services, no matter whether [they're] delivered via fiber, microwave or satellite."
Participating in MEF and other industry organizations, using standards and leveraging approaches such as virtualization, automation and SD-WAN also reduce satellite development time, time-to-market and enable flexibility by empowering operators to make changes on the ground (in real or near real time) versus waiting for the next hardware -- a new satellite -- to launch, he said.
Deutsche Telekom just signed an infrastructure project with the Gigabit Region Stuttgart, home to 174 municipalities and almost 3 million people, one of many partnerships the German operator has inked in its bid to grow revenue and business.
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