I've been down at the Washington Convention Center for the past few days checking out what's new in the satellite technology world. I've been a regular at the Satellite trade show for four years now. What a change!
Back in 2004, the show was basically empty. I made jokes ab0ut tumbleweeds in the aisles. There were maybe 60 companies exhibiting. Morale there was poor, mainly due to the aftereffects of the tech crash and associated satellite industry tumble 2001-2002. The industry was surviving on the first bursts of demand from the military after 9/11. It was the runup to the invasion of Iraq that pulled the satellite industry out of the dulldrums. The government was demanding huge amounts of bandwidth from the satellite industry as its own satellites did not have enough capacity.
The past few years however, the Satellite show has grown tremendously and the industry is vigorous and strong. There are well over 250 exhibitors at the show this year. Demand is being driven by military spending, the rise of digital signage and digital cinema, broadband satellite applications, mobile satellite services (MSS) especially what the military likes to call comms-on-the-move, that is the ability to have broadband IP voice and data access at all times in a moving car, truck, Humvee or tank. Lastly, there is lots of talk about merging the satellite access with terrestrial cellular and Wimax networks into what called a hybrid network.
All in all its a very exciting time in the satellite industry.