[Via Satellite 04-02-2015] Following Globecomm’s $340 million acquisition by Wasserstein & Co. in December 2013, the satellite communications company has looked to adjust its offerings and operations in its return to the private sector. Now, with a fresh CEO at the helm and a new private identity, the Hauppauge, N.Y.-based company is aiming to carve out a space in the rapidly changing satellite market.
“The satellite market is undergoing significant change and with change there is typically a bit of chaos, but most certainly opportunity,” said Globecomm CEO Keith Hall.
Globecomm is starting to carve out opportunity in the many verticals it services, such as maritime and media and government, among others. The forecast is good for the company, which started off this year with a contract announcement earlier this month with du to design and implement a new satellite teleport system in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The new teleport will consist of more than 50 earth stations with satellite antenna diameters ranging from 2.4 to 9 meters in C, Ku and Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) frequency bands. While the company’s acquisition by a private equity firm last year was jolting, Hall believes it alleviates public pressure and allows the company to move forward with contracts like this.
“I have to say, private equity was a word I was not very familiar with having worked in the public market my entire career,” said Hall, who noted that whether a company is public or private the bottom line is the same: to grow profitability. “That said, I believe the change has been good for us. It has allowed us to take a step back and align ourselves in a way that we can better address new opportunities in a scalable way, without the short-term pressure from ‘the street.’”
The government sector is one of the areas where Hall believes the acquisition has played a positive role in realigning the business. As Globecomm is able to diversify its customer base into more verticals, Hall feels they have set themselves up to better handle the ebbs and flows of the government sector.
“The American armed forces’ involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen significant contraction over the last three years and many companies that were solely addressing government services have felt the pain,” said Hall. While there is still a need to support government communications networks and systems in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hall said the company has had to look elsewhere to “fill the financial hole” left by sequestration, budget crunch, military contraction and a devalued euro.
Despite this, Globecomm boasts a record backlog, which it credits to recent bookings of more than $130 million. Hall attributes this directly to diversification in both the markets it serves and products it offers. “One cannot stand still too long in these markets,” he said, pointing to the company’s recent contract with the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) of Saudi Arabia to develop and install a multimedia system for the Kingdom’s Addiriaah Unesco Heritage Site, a museum that looks to immerse visitors in the daily life of the Atturaif at the heart of the Arabian peninsula through digital media. Globecomm combined both its integration and multimedia services to enter a previously untapped market.
“As we look longer term, we are very focused on big data and how we can leverage applications to create new value propositions for our customers,” said Hall, who sees the maritime program that Globecomm has delivered to Maersk alongside Ericsson, which monitors shipping containers in real-time, as the tip of the iceberg. The company also recently rolled out its se@FLEXVSAT service on the program, which allows for global automatic roaming between Ku-band satellite beams and a failover to Inmarsat FleetBroadband for uninterrupted monitoring of refrigerated cargo.
While big data is what Halls calls today’s “800-pound word,” the Internet of Things (IoT) is also on their radar, as it is with the entire industry.
“In the consumers’ world today, people waiting for a bus in Manhattan or Singapore will be multi-tasking on their devices with one of the tasks being to pinpoint the location of the next bus and the other to be streaming a football match from Liverpool as they get ready for their upcoming Skype call,” said Hall, noting the vast influence of IoT. “It is all Web-based, cloud-centric and embedded in the networks.”
This same kind of IoT networking is not just consumer focused, it also exists in the world of industry and government, which are verticals that Globecomm plays in quite a bit and is hoping to capitalize on. While the company doesn’t have any announcements on how they plan to handle this influx yet, they are ready to take on this challenge and others as well as open their minds to new markets, such as agriculture, aero and energy.
“I have spent my entire career in this sector and am always amazed at how the people within this relatively small community have had the ability to re-invent it,” said Hall. “Satellites are certainly becoming an increasingly critical element to the new global infrastructure. However, it is not your father’s or mother’s satellite industry! We are now a part of the mix for very complex, hybrid networks that not only enable billions of people to make all types of economic, social and media transactions at velocities unimaginable one decade ago, but we are also making a better world.”
Correction: Via Satellite originally reported that Globecomm had a backlog of $130 million for fiscal year 2015. The backlog exceeds that number with bookings totaling more than $130 million.
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