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EVP - Chief Commercial Officer at Kymeta Corporation
Bill, a founder and senior executive in the satellite and cable TV industries for over 25 years, is also an active investor in mobile platform technology and software as a service companies.Prior to that, he was the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN), which provides satellite connectivity and content to remote locations around the world. MTN’s customer segments include cruise lines, yachts, oil and gas, news agencies, aviation and the government and military. In 2007, Bill won the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his role there.
Earlier in his career, he was involved with DIRECTV by founding a national sales and installation company that helped DIRECTV to become the fastest growing consumer electronic company in the US at that time. Before getting involved with satellite, he held several executive roles in cable TV, including as a multiple system owner and operator.
What’s happened in the last 12 months for Kymeta since the last VSAT Global show?
It has been a very exciting year for Kymeta. In March Kymeta announced commercial availability for its first products – the mTennaU7 satellite antenna and KyWay™ terminal. These are the first metamaterials based products to become commercially viable, and the mTennaU7 is the world’s first, electronically scanned satellite antenna that can be used extensively across mobile and fixed applications.
Kymeta also partnered with Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest satellite network, to offer a new, ground-breaking, satellite service offering that is easy to buy and use. The new KĀLO™ service, which will become available in Q3 2017, will introduce a simplified way to buy and sell connectivity to customers and sectors that are currently unreached or underserved by terrestrial networks. KĀLO will change the way satellite services are purchased by direct users, integrators and service providers because it will be sold in by the gigabyte monthly plans, much like cellular services.
Kymeta began commercial trials in May, and continues to test its products with various partners and customers across multiple industries.
As your solutions develop, from which industries have you seen the most interest? Why do you think that is?
Kymeta’s first customers are in maritime, land mobile and IoT. In the maritime market, our customers are most excited about having internet access without the size, weight, complexity, and reliability issues associated with the mechanical parts of traditional satellite antennas. Owners of smaller vessels that cannot carry the burden of the large domes will benefit from Kymeta antennas as well.
Kymeta is also addressing the land mobile market with our first customers. Trains and regional coaches and buses have struggled with limited or no connectivity outside of the major metropolitan areas for years. They are anxious to implement a solution that will provide connectivity that will cover every mile of track and road.
The renewable energy market is also very interested in Kymeta solutions. They often operate off-the-grid, yet require high bandwidth communications that won’t require a highly-trained technician to install. They need the ability to monitor plants via live video feeds and obtain real time data and analytics to improve efficiency, control environmental impacts, and enhance safety.
Describe Kymeta’s most recent progress
Today Kymeta has several active evaluations and trials, including sea trials on yachts, land mobile trials on buses and SUVs, and with alternative energy for fixed land applications. We have been integrating what we are learning to make our product even more robust and the best it can be. We are learning a lot about the unique installation procedures and software integration each environment requires. Each platform has requirements that can vary. We are introducing new industries to satellite that have never used it before. Our partnership with our first customers has been invaluable. As we deploy our solutions and stand up the KĀLO™ network we are also aligning our satellite network to our customers’ needs. Thanks to our dedicated partners, the real-world environments are providing a wealth of data, and showing us where we can make the products even better.
Describe your KĀLO service offering and your partnership with Intelsat. How this will help your customers purchase satellite capacity? How do you think this partnership will shape the industry as a whole?
Until this point, companies have only been solving for one piece of the puzzle. What’s really needed is hardware that is affordable, versatile and simple to install, coupled with services that are easy to understand and purchase. Today, satellite services are purchased in either a committed information rate (CIR) or maximum information rate (MIR), which is impossible to understand for the unsophisticated satellite buyer. Companies will often purchase beyond their estimated needs to ensure that access will be available, and are charged even if those services are not utilized.
With KĀLOTM services, customers will be able to buy satellite connectivity in familiar, flexible, by-the-gigabyte packages combined with pay-for-what-you-use pricing. Kymeta has also eliminated the limitations of traditional ground systems – making satellite capacity accessible to anyone, anywhere, while on the move. Kymeta’s groundbreaking terminal technology, combined with KĀLO services with our partner Intelsat, aims to change this. The goal is to offer one cohesive hardware and service bundle that is easy to understand, easy to install, easy to use, and easy to afford.
What will you be discussing at VSAT Global? What is significant about your session?
Bill Marks, Kymeta’s Chief Commercial Officer, will be discussing flat panel antenna innovations and their impact on the satellite industry. Satellite dish technology has remained largely unchanged for the last 50 years. Kymeta is addressing the major chokepoint of mobile satellite networks and consumer accessible satellite solutions – a low profile antenna with no moving parts that is compatible with future satellite constellations, easy to install, and scalable. Kymeta’s technology is the first of its kind, and is an entirely new way of connecting to satellites that has never been used before.