Satellite communication services provider Satcom Direct (SD; Booth H1214) is celebrating the opening of its new Hong Kong office this week at ABACE 2018, “signaling the expansion of our ability to support our customer base in the region with boots on the ground and solutions,” said Nathan Andrews, SD’s regional director for Asia-Pacific.
Located in Harcourt House in Wan Chai, the office, which opened last week, includes a technology area where customers can see and learn about onboard satcom service options “in a very welcoming environment,” Andrews said. Satcom Direct’s previous Hong Kong location wasn’t conducive to having drop-in visitors, “and that goes against the grain of being accessible to customers,” he said. SD is also adding to its tech support staff at the office.
This week at the show, SD is highlighting its Jet ConneX high-speed broadband services, delivered via Inmarsat’s new Ka-band satellite network. “High-speed satellite is bringing much faster connectivity into the airframe, allowing the use of applications like video teleconferencing and streaming videos,” Andrews noted, “all because of the higher throughput capabilities.”
At its ABACE display, the U.S.-based company has a tech area showcasing its SD Pro cabin router and other hardware, staffed by support specialists who can explain the full range of connectivity services and options, including Ku-band connectivity from Iridium’s satellite constellation.
“We can be agnostic; we’re not channeled down one specific route in terms of networks or satcom avionics,” said Andrews. “We have a suite of cabin network devices, so we’re able to provide some very objective advice on satcom.” Beyond the high-speed pipe itself, SD offers data and security management applications that ensure onboard connectivity is efficiently managed.
SD sees Asia-Pacific as a prime market for its high-speed offerings. “The customer base in Asia is incredibly tech savvy, they are very much into personal connectivity, and more aircraft in the region are configured [for high-speed satcom] as OEMs and the aftermarket embrace the addition of Ka to their airframes,” Andrews said. “The service is relatively new. We’re not at year two yet. We still have a lot of new airframes—[Gulfstream] G650s, G550s, [Falcon] 7Xs—that are only two years old but may have missed that window [for OEM installations]. We often get inquiries about those kinds of upgrades.”
Besides China, SD is also active in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, Andrews said, inviting all attendees interested in learning the latest about onboard connectivity to visit the company’s booth. “Just come to us and we can give you good, strong advice,” he said.