The dynamic Vice President of Orbit Technology Group is a retired Admiral who served in the Israeli Navy and, most recently, as Israels Deputy Chief of the Navy. Mr. Yossi Levy joined Orbit as Vice President Business Development in 2005. He added sales and marketing to his responsibilities in 2006 and has been deeply involved with SATCOM for decades. Prior to joining Orbit, Mr. Levy held various senior management positions in the public and high tech sectors and has brought to the company his extensive leadership experience and management capabilities. Mr. Levy is a graduate of the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, and holds an MBA from the University of Derby. MilsatMagazine was delighted to chat with him and to gain insights from his unique perspective.
Good day, Yossi. We are glad to have this opportunity to speak with you about Orbits latest innovations. After many years of service in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), you decided to join Orbit. What were the considerations behind this important career decision? Why did you choose to move into the satellite communications industry in general, and why Orbit in particular?
Modern battlefields, on land and at sea, have grown tremendously due to the availability of new advanced weaponry systems. New over-the-horizon communication solutions were required in order to transfer video and data over broadband communication links in real time. The best solution for these requirements is Satellite Communication. In my work at Orbit Technology Group, I draw on my understanding of the modern battlefields needs and requirements, as well as on my vast experience as a seaman.
Orbit has been producing advanced, specialized antennas for the past 50 years, and is considered by many to be a leader in the field of stabilized antennas for mobile platforms, as well as providing specialized expertise in marine antennas. Orbits main product in this area is OrSat and its global Ku-band coverage capabilities. What differentiates OrSat from other antennas?
Orbit is a sophisticated R&D-based company that developed a full range of in-house capabilities. This enables our exceptionally rapid response to field demands and feedback from our customers and partners around the globe. It also allows the Company to continuously create original, end-to-end, flexible solutions that meet our customers changing needs and ensures them of real-time input and, actually, complete control, over the entire design and production process.
The companys extensive know-how, which has been amassed over decades of meeting various challenges and the successful developments of a wide spectrum of solutions for marine, air, and ground applications, gives us a technological advantage. This accumulated expertise assures the superiority of Orbit solutions and allows us to provide unusually broad insight regarding our customers needs. We are able to then quickly create precisely tailored, cutting-edge answers for them. I can tell you from my experience that Orbit is a remarkably client-centered organization. We continue to expand our global support infrastructure and are determined to strengthen and extend our already well-established record for customer satisfaction.
The OrSat antenna is completely mature and extensively field-proven and has successfully passed stringent tests at sea. During the sea trials, these cutting-edge antennas maintained continuous connectivity during lengthy voyages in harsh conditions. Despite its compact size (1.15 meter within a 1.28 meter radome), the antenna has an extremely powerful engine. The OrSat provides reliable global satellite coverage in all weather conditions, atmospheric and marine, and delivers dependable broadband satellite communications for a wide range of uses, including Internet, TV, video, VoIP, and so on. The exclusive mechanical design, small footprint, no keyholes for continuous zenith-horizon communications, and its built-in RF package ensure an unmatched performance-to-size ratio. In addition, OrSat is easy to install, operate, and maintain. The antenna retains a high level of accuracy throughout its life cycle with absolutely no adjustments required.
As the only antenna system of its kind in the world that has been approved by Intelsat and Eutelsat, OrSat eliminates the need for testing to verify RF performance prior to operating on these networks, and can be installed by any major operator. Anatel approval was also recently added, enabling immediate service for providers in Brazilian waters as well, resulting in significant savings in cost and time. The system also offers an advanced filter the Global LNB.
The overall design developed by Orbit is fundamentally different from that of others on the market, using composite materials rather than the more commonly used aluminum, producing a consistently high level of performance.
Together, these innovations enable pinpoint accuracy (within 0.1 degrees) in transmitting to the satellite. This performance level allows significantly reduced bandwidth and better OPEX (Operational Expenses). Installed on a variety of sailing vessels around the world, OrSat offers an extensive set of sophisticated features that are typically associated with larger antennas and higher costs.
In this new year, we cant help but wonder what new innovations you have up your sleeve!
Orbit invests continuously in development and dedicates significant amounts of time and thought to the critical requirements of todays market as well as future needs. In 2009, we will unveil the newest member of the OrSat family that being a small maritime stabilized antenna system designed especially for small marine vessels under 30 m. The development of this antenna represents a major investment by the company. Responding to market demand for small antennas for commercial and military uses, this unique antenna has successfully passed multiple, stringent tests.
Lightweight and exceptionally robust, the new system is significantly smaller than our current OrSat antenna, which offers the largest gain possible for its size. Providing unlimited azimuth, the antenna can rotate continuously, assuring uninterrupted communication with the satellite anytime, anywhere, under any conditions and in any situation.
The system is completely independent, requiring no intervention on the part of the vessels crew. There are a host of other unique advantages the antenna guarantees fast Internet access with up to 1024 kbit/s Downlink and 256 kbit/s Uplink. Electronic Beam Forming technology enables very fast and accurate, yet smooth and stable, tracking behavior. An integrated RF-package assures excellent RF performance and a special built-in compass makes a vessel compass unnecessary. The antenna is also simple to operate and to install.
In addition to the antennas for small marine platforms, are there any other innovations that Orbit will introduce in the next few months?
Yes. Orbit will also soon introduce a low-profile, VSAT Ku-Band mobile stabilized antenna system specially designed for trains. Based on breakthrough technology, the first-of-its-kind solution enables continuous Internet connectivity for high-speed trains traveling at over 300 km/h. The antenna, which is compliant with ETSI and FCC satellite regulations as well as the EN-50155 train standard, is attached to the roof of the train. This system provides a 1-2MBPS data rate (4/8W BUC).
Connected to a Wi-Fi Local Area Network (LAN), which will be optionally available in train compartments, the combination of antenna and LAN turns the entire train into a large hotspot. This will allow passengers to connect to the Internet from their seats, wherever this service is offered. The system, which we developed in cooperation with TES, has been tested and approved by a leading European railway company.
What was the reason for the development of the special antenna for small vessels? What are the market requirements for small platforms? How is this antenna different from other solutions currently on the market?
It is not only the large ships that need communications while at sea. Small ships that are far from land also need to maintain contact with those ashore and with other ships at sea. In fact, everyone needs connectivity.
The small ship antenna is the ideal solution for private ships and yachts, small commercial ships and fishing vessels, as well as small government and military ships. It is one of the worlds smallest 2-Way Ku-Band-VSAT satellite communication antennas. The system offers very high throughput at a very reasonable price, such as professional airtime with 2048 kbps down and 256 kbps up. It is unusually user friendly and easy to install. Tracking information is derived from satellite signals, eliminating the pointing problems caused by sensor inaccuracy. The system delivers high positioning speed, high tracking speed as well as high accuracy with every movement of the ship through the use of EBF (Electronic Beam Forming), with unlimited high-speed tracking, and rotates constantly.
As a former military man (Deputy Chief of the Israeli Navy), how do you see the contribution of satellite communications for the military?
The need for communication at sea is immense. This is a huge market with enormous potential, a market whose needs have not yet been met. Orbit sees this as a great opportunity. Naval fleets spend extended periods of time at sea, often months at a time. The fact that the crew will be able to connect with people on land while they are at sea will certainly raise the morale of the sailors serving on ships as they will be able to maintain contact with their families during long tours of duty.
The connection to satellite communications also has great military potential, as ships can continuously remain in contact with their bases and headquarters as well as with other ships at sea. This is especially important for military personnel on vessels and for armies around the world.
Orbit also meets the needs of the global business market. Our antennas allow people to continue doing business as usual, even when at sea. In fact, you can now move your office to your yacht, cruise ship, or any other sea-going vessel, and be assured of uninterrupted connectivity with the rest of your team, your clients, and potential customers at every moment, for the entire duration of the voyage. You can even use high quality video-conferencing whenever required. Beyond business demands, Orbits antennas enable you to maintain your online social and networking activities, as well as providing full entertainment options, enabling you to enjoy your favorite music and the latest films online and in real time.
In your opinion, what are the market trends and how do you see Orbits place in the international SATCOM arena?
The marine SATCOM market has developed much more rapidly than the air or ground SATCOM markets, mainly due to the lengthy duration of sea voyages. Todays market demands are for ever smaller antennas that can be easily used by all sizes of seagoing vessels. In response to this market demand, small-size, low-cost Ku-band antennas have been developed by a number of companies. They enable always-on broadband Internet connectivity for smaller vessels. However, there are significantly increased technical demands in the design of small Ku-band antennas. In addition, the need for compliance with satellite operator regulations often results in higher operational costs and lower cost/performance ratios. Up to now, relatively little attention has been paid to satellite operator approvals, but clearly, as the technology becomes more widespread, these approvals will become necessities.
Orbit has understood and has thoroughly prepared in advance for these new market directions. In addition to ensuring the quality of our antennas, the approvals from Eutelsat, Intelsat, and Anatel, save significant time and money during the installation process, as our antennas do not need individual verification by satellite operators.
Orbit is ready to fully capitalize on the industrys trend towards anytime/anywhere satellite communications. Market drivers include companies requiring constant contact with their crews, passengers on cruise ships needing ongoing contact with those ashore, and governments demanding to continuously monitor cargoes being shipped around the globe.
We believe in the coming year we will see an even greater leap in technology, leading to smaller, yet more powerful systems, installed on a greater variety of platforms. The world will be made increasingly smaller by ever more capable communications systems. We at Orbit are ready and poised to meet tomorrows challenges with innovative new technologies, full regulation compliance, and exciting new products.