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Unbeknown to many, satellites play a pivotal role in our daily lives. They power critical infrastructures and facilitate essential day-to-day services that we often take for granted. Satellites are in fact the backbone of the modern, globalised world, enabling global communication, providing connectivity is areas that terrestrial infrastructure cannot reach, and powering vital applications across a diverse range of industries.

Consumer and business demand for connectivity has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years. Whether it’s for personal use, business operations, or remote work, the need for reliable connectivity is more critical than ever. However, not all regions are equally served by wired or cellular infrastructure. In many rural and remote areas, satellite technology is often the only viable option for connectivity; satellites ensure that even people living in the most isolated locations can access vital services and communicate in real-time with others around the globe.

Today, people today want to be connected at all times, whether at home, at work, or on a transatlantic flight or a passenger ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Satellite technology is used to provide connectivity to the aerospace and maritime industries, both for commercial and recreational vessels. Satellite infrastructure provides navigation, safety and communication capabilities, keeping passengers and crew safe and connected no matter where they are. COTM (Communication-on-the Move) infrastructure is also vital for other sectors such as oil and gas and defence.

Enabling a wide range of industries

Satellite networks are far more than just a tool for communication; they also play a critical role in powering essential applications across various industries, each of which has its own unique demands and operational challenges.

In the energy sector, satellite technology significantly enhances the efficient management of distribution infrastructures by enabling real-time monitoring. Satellites also enable surveillance and energy consumption analysis, contributing to a more efficient and resilient energy sector. In oil and gas, satellites provide critical connectivity as well as remote monitoring and management capabilities. Satellite networks enable companies to oversee operations in isolated and harsh environments, ensuring efficiency and safety through real-time data transmission.

In the finance and banking sector, satellite networks are relied on to enable services in areas where terrestrial networks are limited or non-existent. Satellite technology is also crucial for the smooth operation of global financial markets, ensuring secure, real-time processing of financial data and enabling seamless transactions worldwide. In retail, satellite technology supports critical functions such as inventory management, point-of-sale systems, and logistics tracking. This connectivity helps retailers maintain seamless operations, manage supply chains effectively, and meet customer demands promptly. And in the logistics sector, satellites are critical for navigation, fleet tracking and route optimisation, ensuring timely deliveries and reducing operational costs.

The broadcast industry relies heavily on satellites to deliver content to viewers worldwide. Without satellites, delivering news, sports and other content globally would not be feasible. Because of their ability to provide global, real-time data and images on atmospheric conditions, satellites are also vital for weather forecasting and Earth observation This capability improves the accuracy of weather models and enables weather events to be tracked. In terms of Earth observation, satellites also play a key role in studying climate change and monitoring of natural resources.

Satellites are a critical component in the defence sector, enabling surveillance and real-time monitoring of global activities, secure and uninterrupted communication for military operations, accurate positioning for troops and weapons, precise navigation, and early warning capabilities. Imaging satellites capture detailed reconnaissance data, communication satellites ensure encrypted links, navigation satellites like GPS guide movements and targeting, and early warning satellites detect threats. These functions collectively enhance national security and operational effectiveness.

An evolving industry

The wide-ranging applicability of satellite technology makes it indispensable across a diverse range of industries. Satellites connect us, keep us safe, entertain us, and ensure the efficient operation of essential services that we rely on. We simply couldn’t continue to function day-to-day as we currently do without them. 

However, our need for and our reliance on, high-speed, reliable and seamless connectivity is ever growing, and this is challenging for communication network providers, Satellite operators and terrestrial communication providers are all having to adapt to increased demand and changing needs by adopting new ways of working and leveraging new technologies. There is also a growing realisation that in order to meet consumers’ growing demand for seamless connectivity, these competing industries will have to work together to integrate their networks. Partnerships between telecom operators and satellite providers will be crucial for delivering seamless connectivity solutions that meet consumer needs. As the satellite industry continues to evolve and innovate, it will no doubt play a key role in shaping the future of global connectivity.