Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has been awarded a three-year contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), which will co-fund the development of a new capability for governments to plan, procure, manage and monitor their satellite communications (satcoms) services from Inmarsat and other operators and service providers. The contract is valued at $26m over three years.
The new Inmarsat capability, called the International Virtual Satellite Operators Network (Invision), promises to be a secure, user-centric platform. It is being supported by ESA as part of its Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S) Strategic Line, which is a new component of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunication Systems (ARTES), aimed at transforming R&D investment into successful commercial products and services.
The Invision programme will also see the development of new government services and applications that will be accessible in a uniform and user-friendly way over the Invision platform.
Examples include groundbreaking new security-hardened Internet of Things (IoT) solution that will be deployed with government users to monitor critical infrastructure and geohazard events in Norway and the UK.
Software applications will be developed to enable highly effective bandwidth optimisation for mission-critical imagery and video delivery over satellite and the integration of new government services from Inmarsat’s future Highly Elliptical Orbit satellites over the Arctic region (GX10A and 10B).
Commenting on the new platform, Nick Shave, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Strategic Programmes, Global Government said: “In the face of ongoing challenges, governments around the world require more control, flexibility, immediacy and transparency over the satellite services they procure. The Inmarsat Invision platform puts the government user in control of the services they rely on by enabling a wide range of satcoms services, brokered from multiple operators and providers, to be more accessible and secure.
“This advanced new system and service will drive innovation and efficiency throughout the entire satcoms value chain, delivering flexibility and value for money for our government customers. Inmarsat is proud to lead a consortium of Norwegian and UK based companies such as AnsuR, Avanti Communications, Geonor, Global RadioData Communications, MConnected, the Satellite Applications Catapult and SINTEF. We anticipate a number of other industrial partners will join the consortium in due course.”
Elodie Viau, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, remarked: “ESA is extremely pleased to enable continued investment in the development of highly innovative solutions and services by European and Canadian manufacturers and operators. ESA is committed to developing initiatives in support of the European commercial satellite telecommunications industry and triggers new innovations in this domain for the benefit of Europe’s worldwide competitiveness. This Invision contract with Inmarsat represents the next step of a long-standing effort in that endeavour.”