Opinion Satellite

The Right Fit

YahService, the managed satellite communications services arm of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), offers end-to-end managed satellite communications solutions to customers from both governmental and commercial sectors covering land, air, and maritime platforms

yahserviceYahService, the managed satellite communications services arm of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), offers end-to-end managed satellite communications solutions to customers from both governmental and commercial sectors covering land, air, and maritime platforms by bringing together tailored satellite product capabilities and expertise using satellite capacity from Yahsat.

Ali Al Hashemi, General Manager of YahService says: “Our expertise ranges from working with government and defence organisations, rural communications, border control services, oil and gas companies, the health sector, banks as well as emergencies and disaster relief across the globe. We offer end-to-end, tailored SatCom solutions that are aligned to meet the needs of end users. This is done most efficiently by examining the whole value chain and studying their requirements.”

Al-Hashemi says that the strength of YahService comes from working closely with its customers and listening to their needs. “Working closely with our customers, we strive to first understand the objective at hand. We ascertain what they need in terms of satellite communications, and we start from there. Is mobility an important factor for them? What kind of platform will the terminal be installed on? What are their installation constraints and the impact on the equipment we choose? What are their communication security needs? What is the operating environment of the satellite communication terminal? These are the kind of questions we ask to comprehend their requirements and be able to find the best customised solution to offer them.”

A key aspect focused on when tailoring the solution is the customer’s security needs, such as the type of encryption

required, type of terminal model, and what type of data will be communicated. Based on this knowledge, YahService can build a unique solution for the customer.

Al-Hashemi also adds that YahService works with a number of expert manufacturers, which enables them the flexibility to select the right supplier for the equipment and solution required for their customers.

“We partner with a number of suppliers in the business and continuously update our capabilities by studying the market trends and technological developments to ensure we’re able to deliver the next-generation solutions for our customers,” says Al-Hashemi.

A satellite stays in orbit for 15 years, so in effect it is essential that the technology of the equipment used on the ground is continuously developed and enhanced to stay ahead in today’s fast-paced world. Al-Hashemi explains that at YahService, there is a continuous update of its services to keep in alignment to the latest industry technology, based on which it then focuses its product portfolio. However, Al-Hashemi emphasised that though they do their best to develop the latest portfolio of services, each customer’s solution is unique. Adding that it is essential to work closely with the end-users to ensure the solution works seamlessly to meet the customer’s objectives.

“We have the knowledge required to tailor the solution, but it is through working closely with our end users and understanding the environment in which they work in and the results they wish to achieve, is what enables us to tailor a unique solution. Take an oil-exploration team in the middle of the sea or land, as an example, who have no traditional ground infrastructure to support their connectivity needs. Depending on their requirements, we would build them a satellite communications solution to support their communication needs while on-the-go, keeping the equipment they would need to carry for this to a minimum. It can be for basic connectivity needs such as emailing, or more complex requirements, adding other services such as video-conferencing capabilities and cloud computing data-centres. If our customers’ requirements are beyond our coverage area, we seek partners who could support in extending our coverage to provide our customers with a complete end-to-end managed solution,” says Al-Hashemi.

The company is always thinking about creating simple solutions that are efficient. Yahservice also offers backup-solutions for the business sector.

“Some organisations understand the importance of having a backup-service ensuring their connectivity is seamless, and uninterrupted. Yes, you may pay less for capacity without backup, but losing connectivity for one day is more detrimental, so having this service is an investment well worth it, especially to the financial sector. For example, the majority of the banks in the USA, use satellite as a backup means for their communication capabilities, and we are looking forwards to providing such services to similar organisations here. Using satellite solutions for disaster recovery services is still a new facility to the region, but it is gaining momentum as more and more organisations are becoming aware of what satellite solutions can provide them with,” explains Al-Hashemi.

Satellite connectivity plays a major role wherever there is limited or a lack of infrastructure, be it due to environmental conditions, or difficult terrain, or just cost, as traditional infrastructure for connectivity requires time and significant costs to set up. Whereas satellite connectivity just requires an antenna, modem and a computer to get you connected. Al-Hashemi, however, says that the company doesn’t compete with the telecommunications industry, rather it complements its services.

“Satellite connectivity complements the connectivity provided through traditional fibre infrastructure. Fibre provides speed, but is limited in terms of reach, as it is dependent on underground infrastructure, a complex process, which takes both time and is costly. Satellite connectivity, however, provides reach and mobility and is not hindered by terrain conditions. In rural areas, the probability of not having traditional telecommunication services is very high, so having this solution is a need. For some operations, some companies use both solutions, satellite as well as traditional telecommunication services, both used for different reasons, ranging from security to simply as a back-up solution.”

Yahsat offers four services, YahService, which offers managed end-to-end tailored solutions to governments and organisations; YahClick which offers business and individual consumer broadband connectivity; YahLink, which offers IP trunking solutions, corporate networking and backhauling capacity, and Yahlive, a joint-venture solution with SES, a global satellite operator, to provide free-to-air premium HD channels. Al-Hashemi says, there is a lot of investment behind the scenes where software, encryption, end product and mission type all play a role.

“We know the market and understand it very well, which benefits the customer as they would receive tailored solutions, enabling them to obtain the best value for what they pay for, as well as continuous support beyond simply deploying the solution. We provide our customers with the service, as well as operational maintenance and on-going support.

“We also invest heavily in cloud services in order to remove the capital expenditure burden from our customers. In such cases, our customers can benefit from this by buying a licence to use the service (email, video conferencing, telephone connectivity) as opposed to investing in expensive servers, configuring the hardware and operating and maintaining it,” says Al-Hashemi.

Al-Hashemi further pointed out the trends he sees in the industry, and how most of these need to happen in order to help satcom evolve from being affected by increased bandwidth and lower costs. He says this will not only help YahService reach more clients, and expand its reach, but help the industry as a whole to be more efficient.

He adds: “The smaller the satcom terminal, the more satellite bandwidth it will require. We need to reach a compromise where we have compact terminals using efficient satellite bandwidth. This can be achieved by improvement to the terminal design, waveform implementation and careful use of satellite capacity resources.”