NBAA Convention News

Satcom Direct Buying TrueNorth

 - November 1, 2016, 9:45 AM

Aeronautical communications provider Satcom Direct is making its third acquisition so far this year—Ottawa, Canada-based TrueNorth Avionics—the company announced at NBAA 2016 on Monday. The move, which follows purchases of Comsat and Aircraft Logs earlier this year, expands the Melbourne, Fla.-based company’s ability to provide advanced communications systems for business aircraft.

“The acquisition of TrueNorth will broaden our avionics product portfolio and enable us to accelerate our efforts to bring fully integrated communications to our customers,” said Satcom Direct founder and CEO Jim Jensen. “Our Satcom Direct Router and our SD Pro flight operations platform, combined with TrueNorth’s avionics, will give aircraft operators an unrivaled ability to manage their aircraft communications systems, while giving passengers a user experience that will exceed their expectations.”

After the transaction closes in the fourth quarter, TrueNorth will become a business unit within the Satcom Direct family of companies focused on advanced avionics development. TrueNorth designs and manufactures satcom systems for business jets and avionics OEMs. In fact, it manufactures the Satcom Direct Router (SDR).

TrueNorth’s latest product, the Optelity cabin communications system, delivers onboard voice, fax and Wi-Fi. While that appears similar to Satcom Direct’s SDR and Wi-Fi Hub, Optelity offers a platform that can be expanded to a full-fledged cabin management system, controlling aircraft lighting and other cabin systems, in addition to providing flight tracking, cabin entertainment and onboard connectivity.

Optelity’s upgradeability dovetails nicely with the SD Live streaming video service that Satcom Direct also announced this week at the NBAA show, as well as its SD Pro flight operations platform that can graphically show aircraft tracking information, among other features. The convergence of this hardware and services forms the backbone of the company’s next venture: SD Cabin.

“We want to make the user experience better,” Jensen told AIN, adding that the TrueNorth acquisition will put the company further down this path. “My vision also is to synchronize the airplane with flight operations,” perhaps providing a hint about Satcom Direct’s future acquisitions. “And there will be more acquisitions to come in the next year,” he noted, “both on the hardware and software side.”