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Chris Britton, Managing Director, Hughes Europe
Q. Give us a short history of how Hughes entered the EU market and your strategy for growth.
A. Hughes has been operating in the U.K. for more than 30 years offering a wide range of satellite services, including managed enterprise networks, which is now our primary focus. We expanded into Europe a few years later working in partnership with BT and since then successfully expanded our presence by opening offices in Germany and Italy. A key part is our Network Operations Center, or NOC, established in Griesheim, Germany, which complements our headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK, delivering extended service and support to build strong and longlasting relationships with key customers across Europe.
Q. What wins are you most proud of and how is the business positioned for continued success?
A. I am most proud of how we have won profitable business with some of the world’s leading brands and also of how we have kept those customers. An example is our 11-year relationship with Camelot, which operates the UK’s National Lottery program. This is the largest VSAT network in Europe; Hughes Europe manages the entire 37,000-site network across both VSAT and terrestrial services. We’ll be running the network for Camelot until their license comes up for renewal in 2023, and if Camelot wins the next license, we hope to continue with our partnership for many more years. I believe this has only been possible because of the dedication of our teams, across all functions, who are putting the customer first. By winning and keeping customers, we have created a firm foundation for growth, having developed the necessary skills and expertise in managing the connectivity needs of large distributed enterprises. As a result, we are in a strong position to capitalize on the growing demand for managed network services—and in particular, our HughesON SD-WAN offering—supporting the complex digital transformation projects being undertaken by many companies across Europe.
Q. Managed Services are a staple of the Hughes enterprise business; can you talk about the recent launch of HughesON Managed SD-WAN in Europe? In which verticals are you seeing traction?
A. We officially launched our capability at the SD-WAN summit in Paris in September. Though it is still early for this solution in Europe, we are following in the successful footsteps of our colleagues in North America and have already secured a significant win with a leading downstream petroleum retailer in Poland. The solution they chose comprises our HR4860 Gateway across their 370-site estate; it should be an excellent reference for other key prospects. We’ve also just launched a new Managed SD-WAN marketing campaign, which focuses on retailers, and look forward to providing updates as that market develops in Europe.
Q. When trying to expand the footprint, how does the team deal with multiple languages, currencies, and borders?
A. We’ve found that in the IT business-to-business sector, language is not as much of a barrier as you might expect. Still, we make sure our communications are in plain and simple English for our partners and customers whose first language is not English. One of our key differentiators in Europe is that we have developed the capability to deliver services across multiple countries under a single Service Level Agreement (SLA). We can do this because we have a sales presence in multiple countries and we work closely with local partners to deliver the services our customers need.
Q. Can you talk about some of the expansion goals for the next year and beyond? How do you see leveraging your success in Europe and that of Hughes in North America and other regions into broadening the verticals and new markets?
A. We are actively looking at new opportunities to expand segments. We see lots of potential in the retail sector where there is a good deal of change happening—and disruption often leads to opportunity from an IT perspective. We are evaluating the market opportunity in Europe for sectors where our U.S. colleagues have been successful, such as the casual dining sector. There is also opportunity to leverage the launch of EchoStar Mobile to create a joint proposition in the utilities space where IoT and remote connectivity challenges create a great fit for a joint proposition.
Q. Can you please share details with us about the EchoStar Mobile efforts and accomplishments to date?
A. We are taking the EchoStar Mobile proposition to market though an indirect model. Our first objective is to establish partnerships with key players in this space to create a channel model that will facilitate fast and successful market entry. In establishing these partnerships, we are developing supporting materials to target specific sectors, such as utilities. Our early successes include a joint partnership with Telespazio and Thales to create a proposition specific to first responders for emergency services. This is a really exciting time for EchoStar Mobile in Europe, and we are looking forward to helping them establish a successful, profitable business unit. I am confident we have the team to make it happen.
Jennifer Manner, senior vice president, Regulatory Affairs for Hughes and parent company EchoStar, was named to Cablefax Magazine’s annual power list of women in cable and the Internet. The awards recognize female trailblazers who are leading their companies into a new age.
In her role, Manner works to ensure that spectrum and standards are available nationwide and globally to support Hughes, EchoStar, and the satellite industry. Passionate about the need for international collaboration across the industry, Manner champions satellite as an essential part of the global communications infrastructure, especially at this critical time of ever-increasing connectivity demands and the upcoming deployment of 5G.
This year, Manner created the Women’s Impact Network to help empower women who work at Hughes and EchoStar. She actively mentors junior members of the satellite regulatory community and serves as professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center for Global Communications Law and Policy. 2018 Cablefax awardees were honored during a recognition event in New York City.
The HughesON™ Managed SD-WAN solution won the 2018 SD-WAN Product of the Year Award presented by Internet Telephony magazine. Hughes was recognized for its innovation, vision, and execution in delivering superior SD-WAN solutions.
“We are honored by this award. It validates what our customers already know: our SD-WAN solution delivers optimized bandwidth across their sites plus the integrated security they need to operate in today’s cloud-based, app-driven environment,” said Mike Tippets, vice president of Enterprise Marketing, Hughes.
SD-WAN Product of the Year Award winners were determined by product reviews conducted by TMC Labs, an in-house testing facility for TMCnet, parent company of Internet Telephony magazine. TMC previously honored Hughes for the company’s broadband QoS and Internet telephony products.
As a long-time trusted partner, Hughes was again awarded a new contract for a fully managed, global satellite network to support distance learning programs for the Government Education and Training Network (GETN). The GETN community, a consortium of multiple agencies, has depended on Hughes for over a decade to power its distance learning network across the U.S. and dozens of international sites.
“Hughes has supported GETN for 10 years, and we value the opportunity to continue delivering a secure and reliable network for government agencies to train their global workforce,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president of Government Solutions at Hughes. “The GETN program exemplifies how best to harness the power of online training for employees in dispersed locations, while reducing or eliminating travel costs.”
GETN distributes training content via High-Definition (HD) interactive TV through a secure terrestrial audio-conferencing system. This seamless, interoperable network allows member agencies to share video-based distance learning and common facilities. Users report completing over 250,000 student training hours each year through GETN, resulting in a cost avoidance totaling tens of millions in annual training dollars.
GETN supports, among others, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United States Air Force (USAF), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), Air National Guard (ANG), Defense Health Agency (DHA), and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Training applications over the network range from broadcasting videos of mock trials for judicial employees to instructor-led video discussions for air traffic controllers, medical personnel, civil engineers, acquisition professionals, and aircraft mechanics around the world.
This marks the third time Hughes has been selected to deliver the turnkey satellite broadcast network, which is expected to encompass 1,030+ downlink sites with one or more classrooms, 5 uplink sites, 21 broadcast studios, and 44 international sites. The Hughes team includes longtime subcontractor Convergent Media Systems to support installation, maintenance, and content scheduling for the network.
Under the contract, GETN will utilize HughesON™ managed broadband service at select sites—including the most cost-effective combination of wireline, wireless and satellite connectivity—and enable agencies to maximize network efficiency and performance by sharing idle bandwidth among members.
Hughes and Yahsat, a leading global satellite operator based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), recently announced an agreement to enter into a joint venture to provide satellite broadband services across Africa, the Middle East, and southwest Asia. The venture combines Hughes deep expertise as the world leader in broadband satellite networks and services with Yahsat’s unique position and knowledge as a leader in satellite broadband solutions across these regions.
The new venture will provide unserved and underserved communities with reliable, high-speed services operating over Yahsat’s Al Yah 2 (AY2) and Al Yah 3 (AY3) Ka-band satellites, and leveraging the capabilities of the Hughes JUPITER™ System, which is designed and optimized for large-scale High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). As part of the joint venture, Hughes will also supply solutions for comprehensive network operations and management.
Initially, the focus will be on delivering “direct-to-premises services” to homes, small- to medium-sized enterprises, and community centers and schools under local government programs across these regions. In parallel, there will be an increased emphasis on “community hotspot” solutions to make satellite-enabled broadband more accessible to a far greater number of users across the AY2 and AY3 footprint, which covers more than 1 billion people. The venture will also capitalize on deploying high-performance JUPITER System satellite backhaul and carrier solutions for mobile network operators, accelerating expansion in areas unserved or underserved by terrestrial backhaul.
“The partnership with Hughes plays a significant role in Yahsat’s story of growth and serves as an important step in achieving our vision to provide global satellite broadband services to individuals, communities, governments, and businesses in unserved and underserved communities,” said Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, chief executive officer of Yahsat. “Our remarkable operating track record and experience, combined with Hughes technology leadership and experience, are a winning proposition to unlock the mass market potential of satellite broadband services across the region.”
“Yahsat has been a valued customer for many years, incorporating our JUPITER System and operating expertise into their services,” explained Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes. “This next step in our relationship is a natural evolution that builds on our shared commitment to connecting the unconnected and reflects our strategy to partner with leading providers around the world.”
Reliance Jio, the largest 4G and mobile broadband digital services provider in India, selected the Hughes JUPITER™ System to enable satellite backhaul connectivity to more than 400 of its 4G/LTE cellular sites in remote and rural locations.
“After an extensive evaluation of the satellite technology on the market, we felt strongly that the Hughes JUPITER System, with its high-throughput terminals and future-proof multiservice capabilities, provided the ideal performance and efficiency for supporting connectivity to our 4G/LTE sites,” said Jyotindra Thacker, group president, Reliance Jio. “The JUPITER satellite system is key to our ability to provide ubiquitous and seamless connectivity to each and every part of the country, and we believe Hughes has the experience and expertise to support this large project.”
“The fact that Jio selected Hughes to underpin this large 4G/LTE satellite backhaul network is a testament to the superior performance and efficiency enabled by our JUPITER System,” said Partho Banerjee, president, Hughes Communications India. “Satellite is the ideal technology for extending 4G/LTE service to remote and rural communities beyond the reach of terrestrial backhaul and for connecting the unconnected in India.”
The JUPITER System is a high-performance, field-proven satellite networking solution that backhauls all generations of cellular technologies, including 2G/3G/4G LTE. It delivers more than 200 Mbps of TCP throughput per terminal and includes built-in 4G/LTE optimization capabilities that yield from 30 to 60 percent bandwidth savings over conventional backhaul solutions. Under the agreement with Jio, Hughes India will provide a managed services solution, which includes network planning, implementation, operation, and maintenance.
Hughes was named number 10 in the Fortune Change the World List, a ranking of the top 57 companies that make a positive social impact as part of their core business strategy. Fortune selected Hughes for the company’s efforts to connect people, businesses, and communities: bridging the digital divide and contributing to disaster preparedness and recovery.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by Fortune magazine among such prestigious companies in the 2018 Change the World List,” said Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes. “It is a testament to our dedicated and innovative people and the work they do every day, all around the world, providing reliable and resilient connectivity to businesses, governments, and communities.”
Also on the list, in the number-one spot, was Hughes customer Reliance Jio, the largest 4G and mobile broadband digital services provider in India. Reliance Jio earned the recognition for bringing connectivity to remote and rural areas of India. Hughes is proud to be part of that initiative, providing satellite backhaul to 400 of Reliance Jio’s 4G cellular sites (see story on page 11).
Today, enterprises, governments, service providers, and consumers on six continents depend on Hughes technologies and services. Hughes invented the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) over three decades ago and commercialized satellite networks for businesses and governments; in the last decade it has helped close the digital divide by bringing high-speed satellite Internet service to people and small businesses outside the reach of terrestrial broadband.
As cited by Fortune, Hughes technology enables communications during times of disaster, such as when Hurricane Maria erased 2,400 miles of terrestrial lines in Puerto Rico, and over 1,500 Hughes VSATs were deployed to connect residents, hospitals, and first responders. Hughes now stands as the #1 global provider of satellite networks and operator of the world’s largest satellite Internet service.
Fortune evaluated and identified the top companies based on four criteria: measurable social impact, the business result in terms of profitability and contribution to shareholder value, degree of innovation, and corporate integration.
Powering a connected experience is what Hughes® is all about and the connected experience is changing the world. Enabling individuals to thrive, communities to join the global economy, governments to deliver much-needed services to citizens, and enterprises large and small to successfully compete in bringing products and services to markets. Indeed, Hughes has been recognized by Fortune as one of the top ten companies that are changing the world—delivering broadband satellite connectivity to people and organizations globally, especially in areas underserved and unserved by terrestrial providers.
Serving a wide range of end users—from consumers to large distributed organizations and governments—Hughes has an unwavering commitment to make broadband access ubiquitous. This mission is shared across business units and championed by company employees at every level — led by president Pradman Kaul.
The India Case
In India, where Kaul was born, 63% of the population, mostly in rural areas, have no Internet connectivity.
In Kaul’s words: Even in America, big cities and suburbs are the first to enjoy many modern services – from Internet and TV to distance learning and telemedicine – while sparsely populated areas continue to be the last priority, or not a priority at all, to benefit from the infrastructure needed to make so many technologies possible. For these often-overlooked communities, satellite has been the solution, and Hughes continues to provide it every day.
As a case in point, Reliance Jio, one of India’s largest telecom providers, is deploying a Hughes JUPITER™ satellite backhaul solution to connect its nationwide network of more than 400 cellular (4G) sites, bringing much-needed wireless connectivity to rural areas. By way of this solution, the entire country will soon enjoy ubiquitous coverage (full story page 11). Reliance Jio, a long-time Hughes customer, was also recognized by Fortune, earning the list’s top spot as a company changing the world.
Positive Social Impact
Through its satellite broadband service and support network, Hughes has helped Puerto Rico rebuild from the devastating hurricane in 2017. The Hughes team on the ground deployed more than 1,500 Hughes VSATs to connect residents, hospitals, and first responders.
Another example of positive social impact took place during Pink October in a remote village of Brazil’s Peti Valley, supporting breast cancer awareness. In partnership with the Imama Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, a HughesNet team gathered women from the village to participate in an online video chat with an oncologist and several breast cancer survivors. The women were able to learn about the importance of self-exams and the prevention of and treatment options for breast cancer. The survivors were able to share their stories and touching testimonials. In this way, for these women in Peti Valley, satellite connectivity made potentially life-saving learning possible.
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food industries in the world, and salmon farmers are constantly looking for innovative ways to accelerate the growth of their stocks until they are ready for harvest. A crucial means of doing this is to ensure that the sea cages—which hold up to 60,000 fish—have optimal oxygen levels.
This requires reliable communications and remote-control capabilities to monitor data and adjust oxygenation to keep salmon healthy. In Puerto Montt, the gateway to the South of Chile, many salmon farms sit isolated from terrestrial connectivity between fjords and volcanoes. There, reliable broadband connectivity is imperative to the survival of the salmon—and these businesses.
The solution on the job every day and night is based on a Hughes BGAN 9502 machine-to-machine (M2M) satellite terminal, backed up by a Hughes VSAT terminal. Failover logic automatically shifts traffic if the primary connection is interrupted, which can happen unexpectedly in maritime or remote locations. As a result of this high availability solution, the salmon farms can operate around the clock in all kinds of conditions. With such technology to support their efforts to accelerate growth, these salmon farmers can truly boast about the size of their daily catch.
Award-winning managed network service helps distributed enterprises realize the full potential of SD-WAN.
Hughes recently announced the availability of its HughesON™ Managed SD-WAN solution in Europe. HughesON Managed SD-WAN is a new generation software-defined wide area network that enables multibranch enterprises to optimize network and application performance across multiple locations while incorporating best-in-class network security. The leader in managed SD-WAN solutions, Hughes has deployed more than 30,000 managed sites—with the largest single customer network spanning over 3,500 locations.
“We have a global vision for our HughesON SD-WAN service to enable companies with dispersed locations anywhere on the planet to enjoy consistent application performance across their networks,” said Mike Cook, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, North America, Hughes. “This introduction is the next step in our delivery on that vision.”
“Hughes Europe counts two major retailers among its first customers of HughesON Managed SD-WAN,” said Chris O’Dell, vice president, Sales and Marketing, Hughes Europe. “Now, retailers, restaurants, convenience stores, petrol stations, and other multibranch businesses in Europe can implement this award-winning solution to reduce network complexity, ensure high security, and get the most from their cloud-based applications.”
With 99.99% network availability, 24/7 network monitoring and security operations support, HughesON Managed SD-WAN delivers dynamic load sharing across multiple connections for better traffic flow across wireless, wireline, and satellite transports. Zero-touch configuration control and web-based features simplify network management. Integrated into the solution are Hughes ActiveTechnologies™, a suite of network optimization capabilities that deliver high QOS by mitigating brownouts and blackouts, using traffic shaping, intelligent path selection, and forward error correction, along with next-generation firewall and unified threat management capabilities.
Leading Managed Network Security Service: NOW Available for Small- to Medium-sized Businesses
Hughes recently launched HughesON™ Secure Connectivity Service (SCS), an affordable firewall solution for small-to-medium-sized businesses that delivers industry-leading security and PCI compliance in one easy-to-deploy platform. HughesON SCS comes with a plug-and-play router, continuous network management, 24/7 support, available 4G backup, and optional PCI compliance software.
“HughesON SCS gives businesses of all sizes and any number of locations a robust managed firewall solution on par with the largest enterprise-grade networks,” said Mike Tippets, vice president of Enterprise Marketing at Hughes. “More and more businesses today are depending on cloud-based applications and in need of a managed security system. With this offering, we’re bringing franchise and unbranded locations all the benefits of state-of-the-industry security and the peace-of-mind of comprehensive Hughes support—at less cost than an IT department to try and manage it all.”
Based on their needs and budgets, customers can select from several HughesON SCS solutions to gain the security and experience of an enterprise solution without the IT complication and costs. The newly released Hughes HR 4860 is a secure SD-WAN Gateway available with HughesON SCS, which integrates seamlessly with existing network infrastructure, regardless of the type of broadband connection. As a customer’s needs and infrastructure expand, a HughesON SCS solution can be transitioned to a Hughes enterprise solution.
Hughes Completes Global Managed IP Network Installation for Multinational Organization
Hughes completed the initial deployment and implementation of a 260-site global managed network for a major multinational organization. The network extends from the organization’s European headquarters to the most remote locations around the world, including Ascension, Cook, Easter, and St. Helena Islands, providing data transport and remote station operations and monitoring.
“Our global managed network services set the standard in the industry for reliably connecting dispersed locations, no matter where they may be and no matter what transport technology is available,” noted Ramesh Ramaswamy, senior vice president and general manager, International Division at Hughes.
The fully managed, private IP-based network employs the industry-leading Hughes JUPITER™ System to provide highly resilient and secure connectivity to and from cloud-based data centers. Comprising a mix of satellite and terrestrial links, the network is backed up by 3G/4G, IP-VPN, and VSAT/BGAN satellite technologies, depending on transport availability at the site. At many of the most difficult-to-reach locations, a Hughes 9502 BGAN machine-to-machine (M2M) satellite terminal backs up a VSAT using failover logic that automatically shifts traffic if the primary connection is interrupted.
Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has leveraged HughesON™ Digital Signage solutions at VA hospitals and clinics around the country, taking advantage of its many benefits as a fully managed, turnkey offering. Based on each facility’s requirements, this includes end-to-end system design, installation, training, operations, help desk, and onsite maintenance, along with step-changes in technology as it evolves. For the VA, HughesON Digital Signage supports a positive patient experience and improves employee engagement throughout the hospital network.
Underpinning the VA network is Hughes MediaSignage™, a proprietary cloud-based system to manage content on high definition screens at hospitals in 11 states, including Mississippi, Utah, Kansas, New York, California, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, and most recently, in Florida, as well as at more than 200 community-based outpatient clinics and the Arkansas VA Law Enforcement Training Center. Employing the powerful capabilities of Hughes MediaSignage, the VA has integrated their communications strategies and channels to deliver timely information wherever and whenever it’s needed. As a result, the VA has replaced posters, pamphlets, and notices, previously displayed throughout lobbies and public areas with far more dynamic and media-rich dissemination, while also complying with the Federal Government’s mandate to reduce paper consumption.
Additionally, the VA is leveraging the HughesON solution to address extensive organizational communications needs at various medical facilities across the country, tailoring it to effectively meet the unique needs of various audiences – employees, patients, families, and visitors at each location.
A Step-Change in Technology
At the most recent installation at the VA Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, the VA implemented new LG SmartTV screens, which Hughes sells as part of its comprehensive HughesON Digital Signage solution. Previously, screens required the deployment of a small media player; the LG SmartTV integrates that player technology into the screen as an application. The hospital simply mounts the LG SmartTVs throughout the facility and connects them to the network either via Wi-Fi or a direct wireline. The LG SmartTVs run WebOS 3.0 or later and connect to the local network for access to the centrally-managed Hughes MediaSignage software.
Screens in the Gainesville locations, which serve veterans from Florida and Georgia, are distributed throughout various buildings and clinics, with some locations mounted lower on the walls to improve accessibility for visitors and patients in wheelchairs.
Customized Content Management
The VA’s solution includes a customized content-management portal. At each site where the solution is deployed, local administrators have online access to the Hughes MediaSignage software to manage the content displayed on the screens for their area. With an average of 30 screens at each site—and 60 at the largest deployment in Dallas—content management could be overwhelming. But with online—and even mobile—access, authorized administrators can display pertinent information and promotional content where and when it’s needed. Individual screens can be configured by building and by room or location within a building, such as having content in the VA hospital break rooms or canteens tailored for morning workers versus overnight staff.
One of the most valuable features of the HughesON Digital Signage solution is the Wayfinding application, which provides location and map capabilities with a “You Are Here” starting point, including a directory listing of all departments within the facility or campus. Interactive screens throughout the facility provide instant access to the Live Help Desk. The solution is flexible and can be updated using a simple web-based user interface.
As a leading-edge content management system, Hughes MediaSignage is built to store video and digital content at the screen level. Consequently, should the network go down, the screen continues to play scheduled content, ensuring that information is always available to patients, staff, and visitors as planned. The system also enables each screen to provide access to live TV programming and multicast streams, training content, and video-on-demand, all within a multilingual and customized VA-branded interface.
Throughout the VA hospital network, HughesON Digital Signage solutions are supporting an enhanced customer experience and boosting employee engagement. The platform enables each hospital or clinic to manage thousands of digital assets from anywhere, at any time. In real time, administrators monitor screen status, push updates to various screens, and schedule content weeks or months in advance—so they can be sure that signage is conveying information when, where, and to whom it is needed.
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