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In the past 10 years, there have been several converging forces at play that have changed the landscape of oil and gas exploration in North America. First, geology and imaging sciences have significantly accelerated the ability to locate oil and gas formations under the surface. Likewise, recent mechanical and technological advances have allowed drill operators to extend the reach of a well hole to thousands of feet, both horizontally and vertically. Finally, chemical engineers have been able to find ways to extract oil and gas from rock and shale formations previously considered to be unusable—via “fracking.”
The fracking boom is prompting a vast expansion as natural gas pipelines are extending into the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. And the United States is not the only country focused on increasing its reliance on natural gas and reducing its use of coal; Canada is as well. These trends mean there is a big scramble underway in the exploration segment of the energy sector to secure new locations for drilling rigs and operations. And, this increased energy demand has pushed exploration and production activities deeper into both the land and the ocean, expanding the need for drilling services.
There are over 2,000 active rig sites in the United States and Canada today. One common misconception is that these rigs are offshore over water. In fact, 90 percent are on land. Furthermore, the ability to store and convert natural gas into viable, cost-effective energy has changed the landscape of drilling as well. Twenty years ago, natural gas was considered a by-product of crude oil exploration. Today, over 30 percent of rigs in North America are searching for natural gas. Once a rig is “capped” and turned into a production site, it must be transported.
Ultimately, as these examples illustrate, it’s a win-win partnership: Hughes broadband solutions tailored to solve the myriad of industry problems in delivering the world sufficient and cost-effective energy to power economic and social development.
Now with over 6 billion subscribers of cellular voice and Internet services, the continued burgeoning demand for mobile communications is generating significant business opportunities for solution providers across the globe, including mobile satellite operators. And when it comes to new technology, the world’s leading Mobilesat operators turn to Hughes to develop comprehensive networking and portable terminal solutions. Here’s a brief recap of the latest examples.
Solaris Mobile has one of the two S-band licenses in Europe to deploy a combined satellite and cellular network by reusing frequencies on the ground to deliver comple- mentary services. This marriage of terrestrial cellular and mobile satellite is naturally synergistic, and Hughes’ experience in both realms makes its development role key to successful service delivery.
In this case, Hughes is developing the first portable terminal together with the system infrastructure for Solaris, based on the Hughes-developed GMR-1 3G ETSI standard air interface, and is on track to meet service deployment in the 2016 time frame.
Responding to today’s trend towards higher data speeds and smaller terminals, Hughes has launched the world’s smallest and lightest Inmarsat BGAN high data rate (HDR)-capable terminal, the Hughes 9211-HDR. The new terminal is designed to operate with Inmarsat’s BGAN HDR service, providing asymmetric streaming rates at an average of 650 kbps, with potential speeds up to 800 kbps.
Designed to provide high-performance mobile satellite connectivity even in the most demanding environments where quality of service and performance is paramount, the Hughes 9211-HDR is ideal for media broadcast organizations, government agencies, global relief organizations (NGOs), mobile healthcare, and public safety/emergency response. We expect to begin shipping these units by December 2014.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity supporting the “Internet of Things” is taking off in all communications sectors, and satellite is no exception. Direct M2M communications require little to no human intervention, which is especially valuable in the oil, gas, water, and utility industries where reliable, unattended monitoring of remote sites is essential.
Our all-IP, Hughes 9502 BGAN M2M terminal operates over the global Inmarsat BGAN network, and a variant is expressly designed for hazardous envi- ronments such as oil and gas markets. It is the terminal of choice in upstream well-site automation and midstream pipeline monitoring/control, reliably backhauling data even during the most extreme weather conditions. Consuming less than one watt in always-on mode, the 9502 M2M is ideal for solar-powered sites and remote stations. The unit has experienced strong sales growth over the past few years, dominating the satellite M2M segment.
Reliable connectivity on the move in the Middle East/Asia region is the name of the game for Thuraya, which launched two Hughes-built broadband terminals this year—Thuraya Orion IP and Thuraya IP Voyager—to address the needs of the L-band maritime and land mobile markets. Both terminals went commercial at the beginning of 2014 and are seeing good adoption under the large Thuraya coverage footprint.
Mexico’s national satellite system, known as Mexsat, is undergoing a transfor- mation to a state-of-the-art network that promises to be the most advanced mobile satellite system in the world. Based on the GMR-1 3G standard, the innovative satellite/cellular system integrates a number of communication capabilities, including asset tracking, handheld and portable units, IP data, telephony voice, push-to-talk voice, and on-the-move capability that includes air, maritime, and land vehicular in a single network.
Hughes was selected to develop the ground communications network (GCN) for the Mexsat system, including refer- ence user terminals, as a subcontractor to Boeing. The terminals are based upon the advanced Hughes system-on-a-chip (SoC) technology developed during the main ground segment program.
The Mexsat system is designed to support a range of government initiatives, including education, military, police, social work, rural broadband to villages, and remote medicine.
Hughes is developing a second- generation Globalstar network and chipset—another SoC with integrated software—as well as validating the chip with the network.
As briefly summarized, mobile satellite communications has countless applications in a world constantly on the go—from portable Internet access, to media, to healthcare, to education, to M2M. But its most valuable role is in times of disaster when terrestrial networks are most vulnerable. As towers go down and power is lost, Mobilesat offers a true alternate path via portable and battery-operated, low-power terminals, providing essential continuity of operations.
Whether it’s supporting recovery/relief efforts in the aftermath of a disaster or for an ever-expanding range of commer- cial or personal applications, Hughes stands at the forefront of providing innovative technology solutions, whatever the environment.
First, Hughes invented satellite Internet. Now, with its HughesNet® Gen4 service in North America, the company has gone on to become the first satellite Internet service to exceed one million active users, including Hughes retail and wholesale subscribers and those receiving services through third-party operators.
Each month, as more people realize they don’t have to choose between living where they want and staying connected with high-speed Internet access, Hughes and its partners are attracting thousands of new subscribers. Today, just about anyone in North America can enjoy the many entertainment, business, and educational benefits that come with high- quality broadband connectivity.
Through letters, phone calls, and emails, more and more HughesNet customers are sharing how they use satellite Internet to enhance their lives and connect with their communities.
Dan F. lives in a passive solar house that he designed and built near the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. He moved to Buckhorn Canyon in 1991 for the solitude, the natural beauty, and to be near the fishing, hiking, backpacking, and camping just outside his door.
Dan installs wind and solar energy systems, teaches classes on renewable energy, runs two renewable energy businesses, writes for renewable energy magazines, and advises people on off-grid living. He uses HughesNet Gen4 for voice service, to maintain his Web sites, and to communicate with clients, suppliers, and subcontractors.
“It’s been a game changer. I can do everything I need to from here,” Dan said. “Without the Gen4 service, I’d have to spend three hours every day driving back and forth to the nearest town to run my business.”
Deb F. lives in the agricultural plains of the Midwest, where she scouts for parcels of unused farmland for the “farm to table” movement. HughesNet Gen4 high-speed Internet service is one of Deb’s most important tools for finding land and convincing owners to loan it to groups to grow food for local consumption. She uses HughesNet Gen4 for researching parcels and owners, emailing, and other pursuits such as writing screenplays.
A Purdue University graduate, Deb looks for idle plots of land as small as three to five acres, which are ideal for growing crops like turnips, rutabagas, and beets that can go directly to the table. “I was already on HughesNet when I heard about Gen4, and as soon as it was available, I called and said ‘get me upgraded.’ I’m always going to push for the most performance I can get.”
Carla M. and her husband have been residents of the Albemarle Sound region of North Carolina for 20 years. They enjoy the laid-back pace of life, and their property offers them the space they need for gardening and to care for their dog and five farm cats. HughesNet Gen4 helps them avoid one of the few downsides to living in the region—spotty Internet service.
“I love HughesNet. The customer service is always excellent. We seldom lose a signal due to a storm, and if we do, it’s only for a couple of minutes.” Carla said.
When Carla had a graphic design business, she used HughesNet Internet access for Web design and to Skype with overseas clients. Animal care is Carla’s passion, and her HughesNet service enables her to take online veterinary assistant courses. “Without HughesNet I wouldn’t be able to do any online training.”
To read more stories or share your own, please visit Hughesnet.com/lifeconnected.
Some field communications environments call for the most compact and lightweight portable equipment possible. As the inventor of the original VSAT (very small aperture terminal), as well as the world’s smallest and lightest Inmarsat BGAN high data rate (HDR)-capable terminal, Hughes knows a thing or two about small.
That’s one reason why Airbus Defence and Space has chosen Hughes as its terminal development partner for an ultra-compact and lightweight X-band satellite terminal for a new Airbus service named XeBRA (Zee-brah). Utilizing Hughes innovative modem and waveform technology, the less-than-12 lb. terminal provides an ultra-lightweight portable voice and data capability suitable for tactical military environments. Key to service delivery is the use of Airbus Defence and Space’s global X-band military communi- cations satellite system (Skynet), whose unique features enable superior mobility with all the security benefits of X-band.
“The high power and unique beam-forming capabilities of our four Skynet 5 satellites mean we can provide reliable and secure high-broadband-speed X-band services to small terminals. With this small, proven X-band terminal from Hughes, we can enhance the mobility of users in the field,” said Colin Paynter, Head of Airbus Defence and Space UK.
First of its kind, the terminal is ideal for transmitting full- motion video via secure remote access. Weighing in at less than 12 lbs (5.4 kg) and approximately 3 x 10 x 9 inches
(8 x 25.8 x 23 centimeters) in size, the terminal is the smallest X-band terminal available and can deliver up to 512 kbps through the Skynet 5 system, which is enough to transmit high-quality videoconferencing or online streaming services. It is easily stowable and man-portable for transport on foot for Communications-on-the-Pause (COTP) operations.
“Given our work on specialized waveforms and longtime lead- ership in VSAT technology,” said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems Division, “it was just a matter of time for us to come up with this new “microsat” modem concept, which combines attributes of small size and low cost in a highly versatile package that’s readily adapted for vehicular and airborne communications-on-the-move applications. We are excited to work with the Airbus team on productizing it and the first practical application.”
The Hughes terminal is highly reliable and can operate with stan- dard military battery packs. Satellite pointing and acquisition are easily achieved using a built-in LCD screen and adjustable stand that allows the terminal to maintain connectivity and throughput in harsh environmental conditions.
For mobile field communications, when small really counts, the ultra-compact satellite terminal from Hughes for portable X-band service will really pack a punch for Airbus Defence and Space’s new XeBRA service.
The Hughes JUPITERTM high-throughput satellite system was named the 2014 Technology Innovation of the Year at VSAT 2014, one of the satellite commu- nication industry’s top international events. The award recognizes how VSAT technological innovation has enhanced the delivery of satellite services to the wider community, while evolving the industry beyond its current limits.
First introduced as the cornerstone tech- nology for HughesNet® Gen 4 broad- band Internet service in North America operating over the 100+ Gbps Echo- Star® XVII satellite, the highly successful JUPITER System has now been produc- tized for the global marketplace.
Employing a novel System on a Chip (SoC) and numerous other advance- ments—including an enhanced air interface and wideband carriers— JUPITER’s modular design makes it the ideal, future-proof platform for operators to gain technology and cost advantages on today’s conventional satellites and be well positioned for migration to next-generation HTS satellites. Besides powering HughesNet service in North America, the versatile JUPITER platform has now been chosen by operators in Latin America, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Middle East.
Hughes was honored with the Ellersick Best Paper Award at the MILCOM 2014 Conference for its Faster-Than-Nyquist (FTN) technology. The paper was awarded the top prize based on technical advances for both commercial and military communications and innovative applications. The paper, “Faster- Than-Nyquist Signaling and Optimized Signal Constellation for High Spectral Efficiency Communications in Nonlinear Satellite Systems," summarizes research by Hughes engineers on the develop- ment and application of FTN transmis- sions. In addition to the winning paper, Hughes submitted two additional entries that are further evidence of the compa- ny’s renowned research and engineering capabilities.
Although the concept has existed for over three decades, Hughes engineers were the first to successfully transmit signals using a Nyquist filter at speeds that are considerably higher than Nyquist in nonlinear satellite systems. In simulations, Hughes has demonstrated transmissions more than 10 percent faster than Nyquist with an almost negligible increase in power. Military troops often operate in bandwidth-limited environments, and FTN transmissions provide the bandwidth they demand without requiring large amounts of additional power.
The inflight connectivity market is soaring. According to a 2014 report by leading international consulting and analyst firm Euroconsult, the market is expected to double over the next 10 years. The report, entitled “Prospects for In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity,” projects that passenger connectivity will grow to 12,900 commercial aircraft and 24,000 business aircraft, and reach $2.1 billion by 2023. Much of that growth is expected to take place in international markets.
Today, Hughes satellite technology and service delivery infrastructure powers one of the world’s leading inflight system integrators, Global Eagle Entertainment (formerly known as Row 44), providing broadband services on more than 550 aircraft in the U.S., Europe, Russia, and Africa. Global Eagle’s impressive list of airline customers— including Southwest Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Icelandair, Mango Airlines, and Russian- based carriers Transaero and UTair—is about to get bigger as the business is now poised to expand into Asia.
Recently, Hughes, in partnership with Global Eagle, signed a contract with Thaicom Public Company Limited (Thaicom), a leading satellite communications provider in Asia Pacific, to provide its in-flight connectivity solution across Thailand and Southeast Asia.
“The Hughes broadband satellite solution, in conjunction with the end-to-end services provided by Global Eagle Entertainment, is an ideal choice for us and our airline partners, as it enables state-of-the-art in-flight connectivity in real time and is one of the most proven solutions available today,” said Dr. Sakon Kittivatcharapong, senior vice president, Ground System Operations at Thaicom, PLC.
“Launching this service represents another significant milestone for Thaicom as we develop additional innovations and end-to-end solutions for more value-added services to our customers and bring economic benefits to our country,” added Dr. Kittivatcharapong. “This will also strengthen the capability of Thailand’s satellite systems to grow and stay competitive with other global players.”
In China, local service providers will employ the comprehensive Hughes- Global Eagle solution to provide regional inflight coverage. With a large and diverse geography, China is ideal for continent- wide satellite coverage and is expected to become a fast-growing inflight market.
“Asia is an attractive market for us,” said Aditya Chatterjee, chief technical officer at Global Eagle Entertainment. “Inflight connectivity is now considered almost as important as a second engine, with passengers and crew taking for granted that it will be there when they fly. It’s one of those things that the more available it becomes, the more uses are found for it.”
“Hughes has been an excellent partner to Global Eagle for our combined solutions around the world, including space segment, products, services on the ground, and other basic facilitators,” added Chatterjee.
“If you look at the projections for passenger traffic and airline growth on a region-by-region basis, Asia will certainly be one of the dominant regions going forward,” said Peter Pardee, vice presi- dent, Business Development at Hughes. “That makes it a very important market for inflight connectivity, which we expect to grow significantly in the coming years.”
Indeed, as passengers take off for the skies, chances are the inflight connectivity services they’ve come to rely on will be provided courtesy of Hughes and Global Eagle Entertainment—no matter where in the world their travels take them.
The key to emergency preparedness and response is ensuring that first responders can communicate with Emergency Oper- ations Centers—and with each other—to share information about the disaster and coordinate the response, no matter where they are located. That’s why it’s important news that Hughes and Thales Defense & Security, Inc., a global leader in aerospace, transportation, defense, and security technologies, successfully tested a rapidly deployable Long-Term Evolution (LTE) mobile networking solution via satel- lite. The solution leverages the powerful combination of Hughes SPACEWAY® 3 and JUPITERTM high-throughput technol- ogies, connecting with the Thales B-14 system-on-wheels. This robust and private network solution can be deployed virtually anywhere, making it ideal for emergency response networks such as FirstNet, the nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.
Given the size of its population, India has one of the lowest ATM densities in the world with only 25 ATM machines for every 1,000 sq. km. That translates into 8.9 ATMs for every 100,000 in population.
In 2014, Hughes India connected over 12,000 new off-site ATMs and rural bank branches with a secure broadband satellite network for a number of banks, including Punjab National Bank, HDFC Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, Dena Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, and Odissa Gramya Bank. To date, the total number of ATMs and bank branches connected by Hughes satellite networking is approximately 50,000. As ATM penetration in India continues on its path of high growth, it is expected to reach an estimated 200,000 ATMs by 2016.
Hughes Satellite Services Meet the Needs of Energy Producers
The drilling rig rises up from the center of a densely forested mountain property in West Virginia. For mile in any direction, there are only trees. Such rigs are often located in remote areas—be it the backwoods of the Ohio Valley region, the oil patch of northern Alberta, or the barrens and fields of west Texas. As a result, exploration drilling rigs are typically in areas with no established information technology or communications infrastructure.
Yet at these sites and throughout the organizations that own and operate them, all aspects of their operations must be closely monitored. Above and beyond the drilling company who owns the rig itself, today’s rig features multiple “well service” companies, each with a particular specialty and each of which may utilize its own communications solution. The various players contribute a wealth of advanced technologies, such as electronic sensors that measure drilling rates, vibration, pres- sure, rock type, mud properties, and other drilling parameters. Computers actively collect an abundance of data in real-time from inside these wells. Drilling personnel share and review this data with engineers and geologists located thousands of miles away. If a problem occurs, health and safety are paramount, so a rig must be able to be safely and quickly shut down. All of this depends upon robust communications capabilities.
Most of our customers’ field operations are in hard-to-reachs areas where there is little or no infrastructure of any kind, let alone broadband connectivity, which is essential,” said Sam Baumel, vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing, Hughes North American Division. “However, through modern satellite services, which are now available virtually everywhere, Hughes is able to provide them with access to broadband connectivity. And because it’s their only option, it has to work.
Limited or nonexistent infrastructure and austere conditions are not the only challenges facing oil and energy producers. Well service providers demand broadband connectivity, reliable voice, and ruggedized solutions for both their mission-critical fixed and mobile environments. Even advanced geology cannot provide the drill operators with the exact path to a viable, productive oil or natural gas reservoir thousands of feet below the surface. Constantly in search of the next large reservoir or shale forma- tion, a typical exploration rig will operate at a given location for just two to four weeks, at which point the entire rig will be picked up and moved to the next location, perhaps just a few miles away.
Before operations can begin at a new rig site, mobile offices with dozens of personnel require communications to be established as quickly as possible. The rig manager and others rely on voice communications to update corporate offices with the status of these multi-million dollar assets. Once the rig is in operation, oil and energy companies use a diverse mix of machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions to support the ongoing un-manned data collection and transmission that occurs down the well hole and on the rig floor. This data is vital and confidential, and information security is a top concern.
“Network security is a critical issue,” added Baumel. “Not only do our customers need to protect the integrity of their corporate and customer data, but they need to monitor rigs ‘round the clock to minimize any risk to the environment. And equally important is the growing concern over the potential of coordinated terrorist attacks on the oil and gas industry through these networks.”
To meet the varied broadband needs of oil and energy companies of all sizes, Hughes offers a comprehensive suite of satellite services and solutions. The robust Hughes portfolio delivers turnkey Managed Network Solutions, including program management, training, maintenance, and support— for rapid deployment to distributed enterprises anywhere, worldwide. At the Hughes Network Operations Centers, experienced engineers monitor customer networks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And this is backed by an extensive field operations organization that provides reliable, responsive service to all customers. Hughes provides these types of solutions for major industry players such as National Oilwell Varco and Halliburton—connecting their field offices and oil rigs, reducing administrative costs, maximizing reliability, and enhancing rig operations.
For oil and energy producers who choose to operate and manage their own satellite broadband networks, Hughes offers a host of services, solutions, and technologies. The company’s flagship HX platform supports a range of bandwidth-intensive services. That means workers in the field or offshore can access broadband Internet service from any device, be it a laptop, PC, cellphone, or tablet. They can place phone calls from the farthest corners of any territory through Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony. They can attend interactive distance learning sessions or participate in videoconferences through shared intelligence with multicast data delivery. And, they can gain complete situational awareness via multimedia capabilities, including MPEG video and digital video record capabilities.
“The modern day remote exploration rig operates as a mini-city, where people live in remote areas for months at a time,” explained Baumel. “In addition to business communications needs, the resident workers have personal connectivity needs. They want to be able to Skype with their families back home or watch streaming movies on their days off. Enabling them to do so is a priority for our customers, and for us.”
In almost every aspect of life today, technology innovations are changing the way people communicate. Nowhere is that more evident than on college and university campuses where bulletin boards, fliers, and public announcement systems have long given way to texting, video, and social media.
According to Rajiv Shenoy, CEO of OrcaTV, the key to commu- nicating on campus is dynamic content delivered at a place and in a way that appeals to students. That’s what Shenoy’s media technology company, OrcaTV, is all about—working on behalf of U.S. colleges and universities from New Hampshire to California to bring the best of today’s technology to enhance student life on campus.
The Philadelphia-based media firm designs and delivers Campus Life Feeds to colleges and universities, helping take the complexity out of engaging students on campus while creating a fun and easy platform for students to engage with each other. Combining university-approved social media with user-created rich videos and media, the OrcaTV team works closely with administrators to design a feed specific to each university, and circulates it across a variety of media, including digital signage networks, cable TV, and the Web.
For its digital signage network, OrcaTV turned to Hughes MediaSignageTM, a robust digital signage platform that provides a dynamic, scalable, and reliable infrastructure for delivering messages to internal and external target audiences.
Part of the suite of HughesON Digital MediaTM Solutions, Hughes MediaSignage enables OrcaTV to employ a series of on-campus screens and players populated with video, text, and graphics, customized to specific locations where students congregate, such as dining halls, residence halls, gyms, and student union buildings.
Broccoli and Cake
Shenoy, who conceived the idea when he was a student at Johns Hopkins Univer- sity, likes to explain the OrcaTV concept through a broccoli and cake analogy.
“It helps to think of administrative-level content as broccoli and student-conceived videos as cake,” said Shenoy. “In the early days of digital signage on campus, screens were typically populated with endless slides of administrative content—what we call broccoli—necessary, but not very compelling. At the same time, students were creating cool and innovative videos— what we call cake—that grabbed the atten- tion of students. When we starting putting this ‘cake’ on the screens, students were quickly engaged and started to ‘eat more broccoli’ as well.”
The OrcaTV team works with the campus community to identify compelling content, pulling in social media that is approved by the university and designing the content in a way that appeals to students. After it is curated, the approved content is circulated across multiple technologies, including digital signage, cable TV, and university Web sites.
Because every second counts in an emergency, the Campus Life Feed has a built-in program that instantly broadcasts an alert over every screen campus-wide when there is an emergency or problem. The key here is that students are already trained to look at the screens for up-to- the-minute information. The MediaS- ignage alert system is also integrated with the university’s texting solution, so that emergency notifications sent out via text message are immediately displayed on the digital screens as well.
“University campuses are brimming with student creativity and voices eager to be heard,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president of the Hughes Government Solu- tions Group. “OrcaTV’s Campus Life Feed with Hughes MediaSignage is a powerful way to tap into that creativity and enable students to connect with each other.”
“An important part of what we do is to help administrators create more engaging ‘broccoli’ to tie into the student culture of today and help students to make their voices heard,” added Shenoy.
“At the end of the day our main goal is to improve the quality of student life on campus, and leveraging Hughes MediaSignage is an important tool that helps to achieve that.”
Indeed, the Orca Campus Life Feed with Hughes MediaSignage is a perfect example of how to foster a sense of community and a positive student life experience through innovative technology.
The president of Hughes, Pradman Kaul, was among six George Washington University alumni inducted into the 2014 GW Engineering Hall of Fame at an event held at the National Air and Space Museum in October.
The Hall of Fame recognizes and honors distinguished School of Engineering and Applied Sciences alumni, faculty, staff, and friends who have contributed to engineering, technology, management, or public service in a sustained and significant way during their careers. These are individuals who bring distinction to George Washington University through their achievements and contributions to their professions, the university, and society at large.
In addition to his leadership at Hughes, Mr. Kaul was recognized for his professional achievements over the course of his distinguished career. In 1999, the University of California, Berkeley selected him “Distinguished Engineering Alumnus” and in 2004, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. In 2005, George Washington University named Kaul a “Distinguished Alumnus,” and he was awarded the IEEE Third Millennium medal. In 2008, Kaul was named “Satellite Executive of the Year” by Via Satellite Magazine, and in 2009, he was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame. Most recently in 2012, he was honored by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation with an Innovator Award and with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award by COMSYS.
The field of medicine is one of the most sought-after courses of study for a professional education in India. Boasting the largest number of medical colleges in the world, India produces thousands of graduates each year. However, a lack of uniformity in the standard of medical education across the country puts doctors on an unequal footing when they appear for their higher education exams.
At the same time, somewhat paradoxically, India faces a severe shortage of specialists for both rural and urban medical services. In particular, there is a dire need for practitioners in rural India, where 70 percent of the specialist posts at rural health centers—which provide basic medical services to villagers—are vacant. As a result, a heavy emphasis of India’s $6.4 billion (USD) private coaching industry is on medical coaching.
Today, many of India’s medical coaching institutions are turning to Hughes satellite technology to level the playing field and reach medical students across the country. Hughes provides these institutions with a satellite-based tele-education network, enabling doctors with post- graduate medical aspirations—no matter where they are located—to be trained by premium faculty, and thereby gain an equal opportunity to compete for admission into prestigious post-graduate programs.
The Hughes advanced broadband satellite network solution provides a virtual face-to-face experience with high-quality, high-clarity media that enables direct eye contact, two-way voice interaction, chat-based queries. With high-definition and 3D-quality images, the educational experience simulates the in-person training available onsite at labs and classrooms. Hughes not only provides satellite broadband connectivity, but has also, with its partners, actively helped develop the special medical training software that enables this quality experience.
Specialized satellite-based studios are set up at every coaching center to enable the senior faculty to teach students from far-flung areas. The project begins with a detailed discussion of each client’s medical teaching needs and is implemented within the stipulated timeline. The broadband medical training solution consists of a central studio where specialist doctors teach, and remote classrooms throughout the country, which can receive and transmit data, voice, and video with the central studio. Equipment includes a satellite antenna, studio equipment, and medical training software.
As an example, the Delhi Academy of Medical Sciences (DAMS) deployed its Hughes tele-education network in more than 50 coaching centers across 22 states, significantly extending the Academy’s reach beyond the big cities. In addition, the Dr. Bhatia Medical Institute (DBMI) covers the Indian subcontinent with more than 75 medical coaching centers equipped with a Hughes network.
“The Hughes technology and learning software have helped us take the students to a new level,” said Dr Sumer Sethi, DAMS. “The beauty of it is that we can create mass delivery of this education, yet keep it individualistic. This will be the future of medical education in India.”
Today, medical students in India have access to high-quality faculty and courses via more than 130 medical coaching centers powered by Hughes tele-education networks, a number that is expected to grow to 200 within the next year, furthering a better education and improved opportunities for more and more medical students.
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