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SES unveils the soft launch of its newly-formed data-centric business unit, SES Networks, at CommunicAsia 2017 – Asia’s annual premier ICT exhibition and conference -- in Singapore. Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with EVP, Product, Marketing & Strategy at SES Networks, John-Paul Hemingway, at the event, where he disclosed the company’s plans for future growth in Asia, the thought process behind the new division - and the organization’s objectives for the rest of 2017.

According to Hemingway, the event is key for the newly-created SES Networks, which brings together O3b Networks, a wholly-owned SES affiliate since August 2016, and SES’s data-centric interests under a single umbrella. The soft launch of SES Networks represents an opportunity to engage with SES’s and O3b’s existing clients, and also generate the possibility of attracting new customers, as the exhibition houses all the leading players in the APAC region under one roof at one time.

Hemingway said: “When you examine the diverse APAC market, it is evident that everyone is incredibly dispersed, so it’s great that you can get everybody in one venue over a period of three days. We use CommunicAsia as a platform to discuss new deals with our existing customers, but also for new prospects. It’s obviously a great event to brand an organization - and that’s why we chose this event to launch SES Networks.”

Hemingway went on to highlight the benefits of combining SES’s data-centric capabilities and O3b Networks. “O3b Networks specializes in the medium earth orbit (MEO) low-latency capabilities, which delivers really high performance and low latency. SES, and its geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellites, complements that value proposition with a combination of fantastic reach and focused performance. Moving forward, we will be looking to offer uniquely-differentiated products that capitalize on combined MEO and GEO innovation. One such example is the new hybrid resilience product. The fully-managed solution leverages the wide coverage of GEO satellites and low-latency capabilities of MEO satellites to provide diverse network paths that are vital in the delivery of carrier-class services.”

To help customers navigate the shift towards the business models of tomorrow, SES has been scaling up essential capabilities and recently restructured its business interests into two distinct business units: SES Networks and SES Video. The latter will consolidate SES’s content and media businesses.

Hemingway, who is tasked with product, marketing and strategy responsibilities in a global capacity, said APAC is a very important market for SES Networks, and added that it was well established on the continent. He pointed to the slow connectivity levels in the archipelagos such as the Pacific Islands, Indonesia and the Philippines as an opportunity for further growth and expansion.

He said: “We’re well established in the APAC region; in particular, O3b, which stands for ‘the other 3 billion’ who aren’t currently connected .If you examine the globe to explore which regions lack connectivity –there are certainly parts of Asia that are not well-connected. This represents an opportunity for us to expand and grow further in the region by delivering and implementing our services in these regions.”

Hemingway revealed that the Maritime market is an area that SES Networks is increasingly focusing on and has plans to develop a series of products in the future for the sector.  

The EVP of Product, Marketing & Strategy said: “The recent agreement with Patrakom from Indonesia sees SES providing connectivity to 80 vessels in the offshore waters in Indonesia. Although we aren’t providing massive connectivity to the individual vessels, the connectivity is undeniably important.  The smaller vessels such as merchant and fishing vessels need connectivity for crew welfare and operational efficiency. Being on these ships for months at a time, the crews want to be connected to home and family, and we are proud to be providing this connectivity.

When pressed on some of the major challenges currently facing the satellite industry, Hemingway stressed that the key objective for SES Networks was maintaining capacity at the right price point – and the right value for its large customer base. In relation to the company’s objectives for the rest of 2017, Hemingway said integrating all of SES’s data-centric businesses and continued growth were the two primary targets for the rest of the year.

He concluded by saying: “The creation of SES Networks is to ensure we continue to grow by offering tailored products to our customers. We need to get more customers to recognize the value of the differentiated GEO and MEO satellite capacity, and the services we can offer. With the MEO fleet, we are able to deliver higher performance than anybody ever expected because its low-latency performance enables applications that people didn’t think they could use satellite for. Before we came along, some of the communities we serve didn’t think they could get access to these tools because high-speed connectivity is something they have only dreamed about. At SES Networks, we have an ambition to close the digital divide, and to connect 100 percent of people in the country in one way or another.”

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