Shape shifting in the satellite sector
The story continues
Companies consider their offerings in preparation for the satcom era
The uptake of satellite connectivity has forced some major movement. While not much changed for decades, some of the main players have gone through rebranding exercises and other strategic moves to up the ante in recent months.
Airbus Defence and Space took some hard decisions with its current portfolio offerings ( see our website for more news on this); EMC and ITC Global moved into Scotland; and Level 3 Communications recently revealed plans for its executive management team pending its acquisition of tw telecom. Another company redefining itself, to better address the current challenges and opportunities in the remote communications market, is Spire. Earlier this year, a satellite- powered data company called Nanosatisfi, raised $ 25 million and set to on a branding overhaul. Initially incubated by hardware accelerator Lemnos Labs, the company went from concept to outer space in just 12 months. It has a growing customer base across North America, Europe and Asia ~ along with facilitation from the Singapore government. Now known as Spire, new funding will help the company to keep pace with customer demand, extend its satellite network and data infrastructure, and expand its team.
“Changing the satellite industry standard for innovation, measuring satellite design and development time in weeks as opposed to years,” Russ Muzzolini, Spire.
Innovation vs. Invention
To date, Spire has deployed four of its small form factor satellites into space. The satellites use off- the- shelf technologies where possible, rather than expensive, proprietary, single- use technologies traditionally associated with space. This alternative approach, one of ‘ innovation versus invention’, is central to Spire’s culture where employees are regularly encouraged to apply proven technologies in smart ways to create new results. Russ Muzzolini, Spire CTO, said: “We apply best practices from software development to space hardware. The agility in our approach to development through rapid iteration cycles has significantly accelerated our learning, and subsequently enhanced our ability to grow. And it shows. We are changing the satellite industry standard for innovation, measuring satellite design and development time in weeks as opposed to years.”
What brought about the decision to rebrand?
Chris Wake, ( pictured), the company’s director of business operations revealed a bit more about the decision to rebrand as Spire. “As we considered the energy and enthusiasm that we put into our technology, and the relationships that we have developed with our customers, we realised that the brand - and largely the original name of our company - had been outgrown. “Our original name embodied a classic trade- off in launching a new company. Specifically, the trade- off between brand attributes ( such as the company name) and delivering on a brand promise ( e. g. delivering value from a product or service). We rightly chose to focus our early time and attention on the latter, delivering two satellites to orbit within 12- months of our founding, a then unrivalled achievement in the history of man’s space explorations.”
Spire has plans to launch a constellation of more than 50 satellites in the foreseeable future, and is scaling fast to meet increasing customer demand.
Where is Spire today?
“There is an incredible amount of power and value in being able to listen to the ¾ of the Earth that is neglected by traditional remote sensing, and to be able to do it on an hourly basis. Ours is a solution built to monitor and empower truly global systems; from shipping to air travel to weather; the opportunities are extensive and we are excited to put that power into measurable action for our customers. “For instance, with the fastest and most comprehensive automatic identification system in the industry, we offer the definitive solution for global ship tracking. The impact from such a solution will be felt across maritime domain awareness, trade monitoring, illegal fishing, piracy, insurance, and many other key areas relevant for those in the offshore community. In addition, our satellites are highly modular and the advent of new sensors is regularly bringing new applications to light.”