Yahsat and ST Engineering iDirect receive accolades at ASBU BroadcastPro Awards 2021

The awards recognised excellence in the satellite and broadcast industries across the MENA region.

The 11th edition of the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards 2021 culminated with an awards ceremony, where excellence in production, satellite and broadcast services, systems integration, OTT production, sports initiatives, among other categories, were recognised.

Two satellite players received awards at the annual event held on November 16 at the Westin Mina Seyahi in Dubai.

Yahsat, the UAE’s flagship satellite solutions provider, was presented with the Satellite Operator of the Year award while ST Engineering iDirect, a major in IP-based satellite communications, won the Satellite Solutions Provider of the Year award.

Yahsat has hit several milestones this year. In February, Yahsat collaborated with Tawazun Economic Council to establish a new company to develop critical in-country capabilities in relation to the development and manufacture of advanced satcom solutions within the UAE, with a focus on building intellectual property locally for increased national security and advanced technology development. In July, Yahsat created history by becoming the first UAE-based space entity to go public. Despite the global economic gloom, in its first announcement after the successful completion of its initial public offering (the “IPO”), Yahsat reported robust financial performance for the first half of 2021, showing strong results across all operating segments. Yahsat entered into a 15-year Thuraya 4-Next Generation Satellite Capacity Services Agreement with a government customer in the UAE, adding more than AED 2.5bn [USD 700m] to its committed contract backlog increasing it to over AED 7.7bn [USD 2.1bn].

Furthermore, Yahsat’s mobility business Thuraya secured distribution contracts worth AED 316m. Yahsat reported a net profit of AED 159m (USD 43.3m) for the first nine months of 2021. The top line continued to gain momentum with revenue for the nine months being AED 1bn ($284.3m).

Yahsat is also looking to expand its fleet further with two additional satellites, Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5. It has also been expanding its role as an incubator of homegrown engineering talent through its Space Programme, which was born out of its collaborations with the UAE Space Agency and educational institutions such as Khalifa University. In June 2020, DhabiSat, the second CubeSat produced by Yahsat Space Lab by Khalifa University students was successfully deployed into orbit.

It’s a balance of good commercial strategies and the numbers to show it is profitable coupled with its efforts to train local talent and create an industry for the manufacture of satellite components as well as the above reasons made them a good candidate for Satellite Operator of the Year.

ST Engineering received the award for putting together a B2C use case of Native IP, demonstrating origination, transport, reception and consumption of live OTT video over satellite.  A collaboration between Broadpeak, ST Engineering iDirect, EKT and EasyBroadcast delivers the world’s first end-to-end demonstration of Native IP using GSE or MPE encapsulation. A VSAT platform addresses a hybrid network of unidirectional and bidirectional connected remote PoPs (points of presence) using GSE encapsulation. Alternatively, for unidirectional communication only MPE encapsulation is deployed.

Each partner plays a critical role in the solution. Broadpeak empowers video service providers so that they can stream content with a compelling experience. Broadpeak’s solutions package and encapsulate the transcoded streams into OTT formats, so that they can be delivered via multicast and then converted back to unicast to reach the end-users’ devices with the best QoE.

ST Engineering iDirect showed the integration of its SCPC or VSAT solution for the modulation and multicast transmission of the Native IP content over satellite. EKT, a set-top box partner delivers the content to TV or mobile. This multicast ABR solution offers ultra-fast, low latency delivery of live video to mobiles and large screens alike for a global audience at the lowest cost. EasyBroadcast will be demonstrating its “edge” video service mobile application, content management system, and service backend. EasyBroadcast’s content management system and service backend run on the headend side and are pushed and made available for the demonstrated mobile application and set-top-box at the edge. This edge caching of service allows a full video experience for end-users and the ability to fully manage the service for the customer in a bidirectional as well as a unidirectional connected environment.

The demonstration has proved that satellite can deliver OTT content anywhere and to any device. This is hugely significant for service providers and telcos that in the past have struggled to reach subscribers and have had to contend with congested networks. It confirms that satellite is the ideal medium to deliver this content and that it can be achieved in a cost-effective and efficient manner. This has far-reaching implications as it content delivery will not be limited to entertainment, but also will enable educational institutions to reach their students, healthcare providers to offer telemedicine services and reach households that may not have a computer but do have a television so that they can enjoy access to information and content.

The ASBU BroadcastPro ME Summit & Awards, in its 11th year, is our flagship event to promote and celebrate excellence in the broadcast and satellite industry across the MENA region.