Dec 05, 2013

Industry Associations Seek to Change the Global Conversation About Satellite

Estimated Article Reading Time: 2 min.

Coordinating an alliance of the world’s leading industry trade associations, the Society of Satellite Professionals International has announced the launch of a global campaign to change the global conversation about satellite. Called the Industry Message Summit, the effort aims to focus attention on the industry’s striking contributions to human welfare, safety and prosperity around the world.

The alliance of industry associations, including the European Satellite Operators’ Association (Brussels), Global VSAT Forum (London) and Satellite Industry Association (Washington, DC), will drive the rebuilding of the “satellite brand” in support of the industry’s growth.

“This alliance has set a big goal: to refresh the image of one of the world’s most essential technologies, which has such profound impact at the human level,” said SSPI executive director Robert Bell, adding that the project will have both a short-term and long-term impact.

“In the short term, we plan to make a contribution in the run-up to the WRC 2015 negotiations regarding spectrum allocations.

Longer term, our priority is to change how we, as a global industry, view ourselves and collectively determine how to communicate our vitality and economic and social significance to those who benefit from it.”

During the past half-century, the satellite industry – once recognized by the words “Live via satellite” on every TV screen – has become almost invisible, except to its global base of current customers. While the world’s TV programming, business information, scientific data, weather information, safety, security and humanitarian traffic crosses the world’s satellite network, the contribution of that network to business, government and human welfare is unrecognized.

Only in natural disaster, such as the Philippine typhoon, or in support of war does the word “satellite” appear relevant to the general media.

The associations believe that this lack of recognition among consumers, business people and government leaders has had tangible – and negative – impact. Satellite operators battle to maintain their spectrum against a mobile industry which is known to every person with a phone.

As a result, there are missed opportunities to help governments extend broadband coverage and improve education and healthcare.

“From a business perspective, many of the new markets we serve perceive satellite as the last resort for communications,” Bell noted. “We are not that – but if you do not know about us or understand our strength, you will look elsewhere.”

The leaders of the associations in the alliance – Aarti Holla-Maini of ESOA, David Hartshorn of GVF, Patricia Cooper of SIA and Robert Bell of SSPI – will meet regularly to forge a joint communications strategy and engage the industry’s most creative minds in crafting effective messages about the transformative impact of satellite on the world.

They will work with their member companies, other associations and influencers to deliver this content to business, government and broader audiences.

SSPI expects more associations to join the effort over time and encourages their interest