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Today, it seems, everything is booming in India. Nowhere is that more evident than in its banking system where an emerging middle class is helping to drive innovation. The 21st century Indian customer is seeking not just a bank, but total financial institutions providing credit cards, loans, financial services, insurance, mutual funds, securities, and commodities.
And the banking industry is responding. India’s robust financial system is marked by well-established institutions, healthy competition, and high technology adoption. Managing assets worth $1 trillion, the Indian banking sector is growing at an annual composite rate greater than 13 percent. The next logical step for India’s banking system lies in its goal of greater financial inclusion throughout the country.
In rural and remote areas of the country, for example, a high percentage of the population is considered “under-banked,” an industry term that means that the average branch office in these areas serves a larger population than the national average. What’s more, every one million people in India are served by a mere 39 ATMs, translating to a vast underserved segment that offers enormous potential for growth. There is also a strong correlation between under-banked areas and low tele-density areas where the reach of terrestrial telecommunications is low. This lack of infrastructure and services creates a significant digital and financial divide among Indian people.
Fully managed satellite and terrestrial broadband solutions from Hughes Communications India Ltd. (HCIL) are helping to close that divide. As the leading provider of satellite broadband solutions in the Indian financial sector, Hughes today supports more than 25 nationalized and private banks with nearly 19,000 sites, including more than 10,000 branches and 8,000 offsite ATMs. Currently, HCIL is rolling out an additional 8,000 branches for various regional rural banks that will further financial inclusion in under-banked areas in the country.
Under a recent contract with Allahabad Bank, HCIL will provide broadband services connecting 1,400 locations with satellite terminals and 1,000 with terrestrial MPLS links. Allahabad Bank plans to utilize the satellite and MPLS network to launch Phase II of its Core Banking Solution, which improves efficiency and enables low-value transactions, in both urban and rural branches. Similarly, HCIL signed a recent contract to deploy a network of 1,955 satellite terminals for the Central Bank of India whose mandate is to expand its Core Banking Solution to all its rural branches. Serving many of India’s largest banks, including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank, HCIL has built and operates INFINET—the Indian Financial Network of more than 3,000 locations across all banks, facilitated by the Reserve Bank of India.
A huge offsite ATM/kiosk rollout is also under way involving the deployment of 25,000 ATMs over the next three years, and in which HCIL is playing a key role by providing its satellite broadband technology. The company is also in partnership with various ASPs (application service providers) to provide core banking solutions to smaller and cooperative banks through managed service/outsourcing models.
“The banking journey has been an exciting one for HCIL,” said Shivaji Chatterjee, vice president of HCIL. “Because satellite communications is available everywhere—even in remote areas where terrestrial technologies can’t reach—it is a natural means to help expand financial inclusion in India. In addition to its ubiquity and quick deployment, satellite is optimal for sharing bandwidth resources, making it a highly cost-effective solution for small branches.”
Moreover, as the most disaster-proof technology, satellite can be also used as a backup for major banks where an emergency can disrupt terrestrial connectivity for days or even weeks.
Today, by implementing their Hughes broadband communications systems, Allahabad Bank, the Central Bank of India, and other prominent banks are taking important steps toward the expansion of financial inclusion in India—providing needed services to communities and further contributing to the country’s surging economic and social growth
As the world gets smaller and global communications become ever more pervasive, more and more enterprises and governments face a myriad of challenges to expand their networks, especially if multiple countries are involved. Connecting offices and people across work environments and countries inevitably means resolving different networking technologies, infrastructures, and regulatory and legal requirements—representing just the top level of issues that can hinder or block any needed expansion.
Rather than trying to design, implement, and run their networks on their own, many progressive organizations now look to an experienced managed services provider, freeing them to focus on running their operations. And if the requirement crosses country or continental borders, the choice needs to factor in the provider’s global experience. Take as examples a hotel chain, a ministry of foreign affairs, or a multi-national bank, with locations all over the world. Even if they’re already working with a network provider in, say, North America, can that provider reliably cover their requirements in Europe, Asia, or Africa?
That’s where Hughes Global Services comes in. Leveraging over 25 years of technology and service leadership internationally, Hughes provides a one-stop, global managed service for any organization’s communications networking, IT, and related support needs—anywhere in the world. Hughes does this by combining the capabilities and reach of its own service companies in North America, Brazil, Europe, China, and India with strategic partnerships across the globe.
Hughes today serves over one million sites on five continents, providing broadband connectivity and solutions to a wide range of customers, from consumers and small businesses, to governments and many of the world’s leading multi-national enterprises. The company’s rapidly growing base of authorized service providers and strategic partners similarly deliver broadband solutions using Hughes technology to their customers throughout the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Russia and the CIS countries.
Strategic partners range from value-added resellers (VARs), to satellite segment providers, to installation, repair and maintenance partners. When there is a requirement for network services in South Africa or Ethiopia, for example, Hughes may work with a regional provider to deliver this service, while all network components are managed from a central Hughes location. Similarly, if remote troubleshooting does not solve a problem on the network, Hughes would dispatch a local service technician.
The beauty of this arrangement is that customers work with a single trusted vendor under one contract to deliver a uniform, high-quality network service at all locations, gaining the advantages of responsive local support while solving the problem of filling the gaps between countries.
Hughes Managed Network Services integrates voice, data, and video applications seamlessly over any broadband transport, whether satellite, DSL, cable, 3G/cellular, MPLS—or any combination. It covers end-to-end requirements from network engineering and day-to-day program management, to installation, proactive monitoring, training, and customer service.
Understanding that one size does not fit all, Hughes builds solutions tailored to meet customer needs. Some customers are looking for voice and videoconferencing solutions, for example. Others require content management and delivery. Still others need a help desk. Working with the customer, Hughes designs a cost-effective solution to fit the customer—and then manages it, end-to-end.
Typical global customers are governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses in a range of industries, including finance, retail, healthcare, technology, petroleum, hospitality, and energy.
For example, a large African bank with a presence in more than 20 countries is using Hughes Managed Network Services for voice over IP (VoIP), videoconferencing, bank applications, and broadband Internet access. The entire solution is managed from the Hughes network operations center (NOC) based in Griesheim, Germany. Similarly, a global payments technology company is using Hughes managed services as a backup network in 118 countries, and in some sites as a primary network, to support its banking applications.
In the government space, a ministry of foreign affairs has contracted Hughes to provide a substantial network for voice, video, data, and security observation services at all its embassies and consulates in Saudi Arabia. Hughes has also expanded the provisioning of high-speed satellite Internet access for U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Available at U.S. military bases, the broadband Internet service is delivered via the company’s operations hub in the U.K., enabling troops to stay in touch with family and friends at home, including sending photos and videos, connecting over social networking sites, and making VoIP telephone calls.
But Hughes Global Services are not confined to land-based applications. The company also delivers its Maritime Broadband Service to provide offshore broadband communications to workboats, vessels, and cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea. A fully managed service, the comprehensive offering includes network monitoring, proactive alerts, position location updates, and monthly reporting.
“Today’s multi-national enterprises, governments, and organizations are looking at their networks from a global perspective and face formidable technological and logistical challenges as they expand operations across borders” said Kamran Givpoor, vice president, Hughes Global Services. “Hughes Global Services brings the resources, the experience, and the relationships to help them solve those problems.”
Hughes believes in acting globally and thinking locally. Partnering with Hughes, today’s businesses and governments can connect all their facilities and readily expand globally, knowing they can rely on a single provider for organization-wide managed services—no matter where in the world they choose to go.
Technology Marketing Corp. (TMC) recently honored Hughes with its 2010 Satellite Spotlight Product of the Year Award for the company’s innovative, dual Ka/Ku-band HN9400 satellite router. The newest member of its market-leading family of broadband satellite routers and modems, the HN9400 boasts several technology firsts and is spearheading the industry’s move to highthroughput Ka-band satellites from prior generation Ku-band systems.
Fully compliant with the IPoS/DVB-S2/ACM industry standard, the HN9400 supports up to 60 Mbps of throughput on the forward channel, and is the first to incorporate advanced adaptive LDPC coding on the return channel. This results in up to 20 percent improvement in link performance, thereby enabling very efficient use of satellite capacity. Capable of operating in Ka- or Ku-bands and with upstream rates of up to 3 Mbps, the HN9400 is an ideal platform to deliver even the most bandwidth-demanding services on today’s satellites, while being future-proof for next-generation, high-throughput systems. Continuing the Hughes tradition of innovation, this award-winning router is helping to unlock the many benefits of broadband connectivity for enterprise and government customers globally.
Under a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Hughes will conduct a study of commercial communications satellite system architectures and provide a report focused on meeting future tactical communications-on-the-move (COTM) needs of the U.S. military. Research will encompass DoD COTM requirements and scenarios using both onboard processing and transponded satellite architectures available in the marketplace. Examples will include SPACEWAY® 3, the world’s first commercial satellite with onboard switching and routing from Hughes, which today serves more than 400,000 Ka-band terminals in North America, and the company’s high-throughput JUPITER™ satellite, a 100+ Gbps Ka-band system under development for launch in the first half of 2012. The report is expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Command Center’s Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems Directorate by July 2011.
In today’s evolving enterprise, no matter how much bandwidth is procured, it’s quickly gobbled up by bandwidth-hungry applications and requirements. This trend has only been exacerbated by the rapid growth of new applications such as virtual desktop deployments, cloud computing, and VoIP. In addition, video-centric applications such as digital signage, training, video surveillance, interactive kiosks, and Wi-Fi continue to drive demand for bandwidth.
But help is on the way. The Hughes Branch Server helps distributed enterprises manage the “disappearing bandwidth” problem and simplify their branch locations at the same time. The Hughes Branch Server lowers capital costs, reduces power consumption, improves application performance, and—since Hughes manages the platform—lowers support costs. It does all this by leveraging advances in virtualization technology.
Virtualization is causing a lot of buzz in enterprises today. In many enterprises, separate servers are dedicated to individual functions such as point-of-sale, inventory management, training, and loss prevention applications. Virtualization refers to the ability to run multiple virtual computers with different operating systems and applications—using a single physical server. As the use of high-bandwidth applications continues to grow, the advantages to virtualization are many—cost containment, energy savings, and overall operational efficiency improvement through server consolidation.
The Hughes Branch Server is an affordable, turnkey platform that enables enterprises to collapse multiple store/branch servers and PCs into a single server. Fully managed by Hughes, the in-store/branch platform enables enterprises to virtualize multiple high-bandwidth applications around the store/branch into a single server. The Hughes Branch Server can easily host multiple Hughes applications such as WAN Optimization, Digital Signage, eLearning, and Interactive Kiosk. Plus, the Branch Server accommodates the customer’s own applications such as virtualized desktop environments to replace expensive Windows desktops, and inventory and workforce management applications.
“Enterprises can simplify their branch IT operations considerably with the Hughes Branch Server, reducing the number of servers they need to manage, eliminating the need for costly upgrades, and freeing them to focus on their business rather than the infrastructure,” said Doug Medina, Hughes senior director of enterprise marketing.
By choosing the fully managed Hughes Branch Server, enterprises can implement their store or branch of the future today by leveraging smart technology to improve efficiencies, contain costs, and bring more customers in the door—not to mention getting ahead of that disappearing bandwidth.
As satellite broadband continues its global expansion, Ka-band technology is on a tear. The Ka-band wave began in earnest in North America with the launch of the Hughes SPACEWAY® 3 satellite system in 2007 and spread to Europe when Avanti’s HYLAS 1 satellite was launched in late 2010. Now it’s expanding across the globe to the Middle East, Russia, and Australia. Why has Ka-band satellite become one of today’s hottest technologies?
In a word: Capacity. The seemingly insatiable demand for broadband is rapidly exhausting the available capacity of existing Ku-band satellites. Large and small enterprises increasingly depend on media-rich applications to grow their businesses and retain their competitive edge. Governments need high-bandwidth applications to deliver services to their citizens. And consumers want to watch movies, make VoIP phone calls, and browse the Web—all at the same time.
Ka-band technology is now making all this possible over satellite, breaking down the barriers posed to the uncountable millions of households and small businesses globally that lack access to terrestrial broadband service—or can’t get Ku-band services because the spectrum is saturated. The high bandwidth available in the Ka spectrum and frequency re-use capabilities across multiple beams enables the delivery of more capacity at faster speeds to smaller dishes—opening the door to upgraded services at lower costs for more users.
“The bottom line is that our customers need more capacity,” said Mike Cook, senior vice president of North America sales and marketing for Hughes. “Every day they’re using new applications that are increasingly media-rich—making Ka-band essential to the continued growth and development of satellite broadband.”
Ka-band offers huge potential in a range of market segments, including retail, hospitality, and government initiatives such as emergency communications, rural broadband, telemedicine, and distance education. In addition, capabilities such as bandwidth-on-demand, constant bit services, and dish-to-dish networking enable more advanced applications. The technology also holds considerable promise for airline, railroad, military, and other mobile applications. But by far the biggest driver today and in the foreseeable future is high-speed Internet access for consumers—the fastest growing segment—which Hughes leads with almost 600,000 HughesNet subscribers in North America.
With 10 Gbps throughput, SPACEWAY 3 is the world’s largest traffic-carrying Kaband commercial satellite system. Featuring the highest-speed satellite Internet access plans available on the market—up to 5 Mbps—SPACEWAY 3 today serves over 400,000 HughesNet consumer subscribers, exceeding 70 percent of the total subscriber base. To put it in perspective, SPACEWAY 3 is equivalent to approximately eight conventional Ku-band satellites and is the largest Ka-band network of its kind globally. It continues to bridge the digital divide in North America, which is estimated to have 10 to 15 million households unserved or underserved by terrestrial broadband technologies.
JUPITER, the next-generation, high-throughput, Ka-band satellite from Hughes will provide over 100 Gbps additional capacity to further fuel the rapidly growing HughesNet service business in North America. Scheduled for launch in the first half of 2012, JUPITER is expected to provide service for 15 years or more. To put it in context, each single JUPITER beam has more capacity than an entire conventional Ku-band satellite—making JUPITER equivalent to approximately 80 conventional Ku-band satellites—truly transformational for the industry.
Across Europe, there are an estimated 30 million households and small businesses without access to terrestrial broadband. But thanks to a partnership between Avanti Communications Group plc and Hughes, they will now get access to high-speed broadband communications by satellite, starting with the launch of service in March 2011 on Avanti’s HYLAS 1, Europe’s first dedicated, high-throughput, Ka-band broadband satellite. Avanti is also planning to launch HYLAS 2 in 2012. Hughes is supplying all the ground systems and customer terminals for both satellites, and is additionally acquiring capacity from Avanti to deliver broadband services to its customers.
In 2011, Star Satellite Communications Company PJSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC (Yahsat) based in United Arab Emirates, signed a contract with Hughes to supply its high-performance Ka-band HN broadband satellite system and terminals for the ground segment. Yahsat will leverage the highthroughput capability of its Yahsat 1B satellite and the Hughes HN System to provide its YahClick broadband Internet access and other applications to large and small enterprises, governments, and consumers in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
Russia, too, is jumping on the Ka bandwagon and is planning to launch new Ka-band satellites later in 2011 and in subsequent years. Hughes recently signed contracts with the Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) and RTCOMM, a subsidiary of Rostelecom, to supply its Ka-band HN Systems and terminals for new Russia-wide satellite broadband services.
“Recognizing the enormous potential in Kaband, we immediately applied for Ka-band spectrum in the U.S. when it was released by the Federal Communications Commission,” said Cook. “Then we took the lead in the development of Ka-band systems with our groundbreaking SPACEWAY 3 system. And with our JUPITER program, Hughes is continuing to push the limits of Ka-band technology. “The fact that all of our major development effort over the last several years has gone into the development of our major Ka-band systems means that we’re able to keep a technological lead in the global Ka-band market,” added Cook.
Today, Ka-band initiatives are also under way in Australia and Latin America. Indeed, the scope of satellite broadband is so immense, it is challenging for the industry to move quickly enough to keep up with it. But there is no stopping the momentum. And as the world’s #1 provider of satellite broadband services and solutions, Hughes intends to stay at the forefront of the Ka-band explosion.
As one of the world’s largest police forces, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is using the latest in digital media and broadband technologies from Hughes to bring innovative communication and education programs to its law enforcement work environments and to inmates in correctional institutions.
Rather than simply “warehousing” inmates and returning them to the community, LASD is providing them with educational, vocational, and life-skills training through an innovative approach called Education-Based Incarceration (EBI). EBI focuses on equipping inmates with the skills they need to avoid criminal acts and live productive lives outside of custody.
Under the Offender Services Bureau, EBI coordinates with the Inmate Programs Unit and the Community Transition Unit to enhance programs throughout the jails. A combination of traditional classroom settings, self-study materials, and instructive videos are employed, exposing inmates to educational opportunities at every point during their incarceration. The programs offered through the Offender Services Bureau include a roster of vocational courses including masonry, painting, commercial embroidery, graphic arts, and landscaping.
To further its educational program, the Sheriff’s Department is expanding its use of Hughes Media Signage digital technology throughout its nine jail facilities, which house nearly 18,000 inmates. The all-in-one digital communications system delivers a unique combination of digital messaging, on-demand training, and internal communications. As part of the EBI program, the LASD is increasing its deployment throughout housing pods and high-traffic areas in the jails, providing both educational and informational content to keep inmates learning, motivated, and engaged.
“Education is integral to preparing our inmates for their transition back into the community,” said Sheriff Leroy D. Baca. “The digital signage system enables us to deliver engaging and educational content that helps inmates learn new skills so they can improve their chances for success when they are released from jail.”
The Inmate Reception Center of the LASD Correctional Services Division is also taking advantage of the Hughes digital system’s multi-language capability in its booking area to communicate with detainees who do not speak English. The digital screens present consistent, step-by-step instructions in the inmate’s language to complete the intake process.
The digital system is also helping LASD maintain risk management and meet legal requirements. This includes training officers about regulations, as well as keeping employees aware of the length of time inmates have been detained in time-limited processing areas. In addition, the LASD is using the system to notify inmates who are foreign nationals how to contact their consulates according to legal requirements.
Living up to its history of staying on the cutting edge of technology, the LASD began using its Hughes digital signage system in 2009 as a department-wide employee Digital Briefing Board. The system enabled the LASD to meet the challenge of disseminating an enormous volume of unified messages to its widely dispersed workforce at dozens of sheriff’s stations, jails, and courthouses.
One of the first of its kind to be deployed by a U.S. law enforcement agency, the state-ofthe-art digital system conveys command information instantly, provides on-demand training for a staff that’s constantly on the move, and distributes news and announcements on a variety of routine and urgent issues. In total, the LASD is using more than 120 screens throughout the Department, including those for employees and inmates.
Never content with the status quo, the LASD is implementing its plans to further benefit from the digital system’s functionality by deploying additional screens throughout the Department and incorporating point-to-point, multi-screen videoconferencing with live distribution to employee work areas Department-wide.
Meanwhile, through its innovative EBI program, the LASD is offering an increasing number of inmates new opportunities to change the direction of their lives—an important project that Hughes is very proud to be part of.
Hughes Communications, Inc. announced strong third-quarter revenue growth, record adjusted EBITDA of $61 million, impressive growth in the consumer business, record new orders, and renewed growth in the enterprise business.
Snapshot of Third Quarter Financial Results
Consolidated revenues of $266 million for a 6% growth over the third quarter of 2009; a 10% growth if revenues from the discontinued contract with Telematics are excluded.
Consolidated services revenues of $202 million for a growth of 15% over the third quarter of 2009; 18% growth excluding revenues from the discontinued contract with Telematics.
Record Adjusted EBITDA of $61 million, an increase of 38% over the third quarter of 2009.
Operating income of $26 million for a 64% growth over the third quarter of 2009; net income attributable to stockholders of $10.1 million compared to a loss of $2.6 million in the third quarter of 2009; earnings per share (fully diluted) of $0.45 in the third quarter of 2010 compared to a loss per share (fully diluted) of ($0.12) in the third quarter of 2009.
Positive net cash from operating activities of $69 million.New orders of $549 million for a growth of 164% over the third quarter of 2009, with major orders from Barrett Xplore, Rite Aid, Social Security Administration, Dillard’s, TJ Maxx, Buckeye Pipeline, GETN, and ConocoPhillips in the North America Broadband business; JSC Iskra, GTECH Colombia, Camelot, PrimeNet, VIVO, SEDUC, SREI, and Allahabad Bank in our International Broadband business; and Glocom and Harris in our Mobile Satellite business.
Consumer business continued impressive growth trajectory:
Total revenue increased by 14% and services revenue by 19% over the third quarter of 2009.
Strong third-quarter subscriber gross adds of 49,000 and net adds of 13,000.
Consumer ARPU increased to $75 from $71 in the third quarter of 2009.
Churn improved to 2.2% from 2.3% in the third quarter of 2009.
Enterprise business growth resumed both domestically and internationally.
Snapshot of Nine Months Ending September 30, 2010
Consolidated total revenues of $762 million for a 2% growth over the nine months ending September 30, 2009; 5% growth excluding revenues from the discontinued contract with Telematics.
Consolidated services revenues of $583 million for a growth of 14% over the nine months ending September 30, 2009; 18% growth excluding revenues from the discontinued contract with Telematics.
Adjusted EBITDA of $156 million for a growth of 33% over the nine months ending September 30, 2009.
Strong liquidity with cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $222 million as of September 30, 2010.
New orders of $989 million for a growth of 32% over the nine months ending September 30, 2009, resulting in a record non-consumer backlog of $1,038 million, a 26% growth over the backlog at September 30, 2009.
Strong growth in consumer business over the nine months ending September 30, 2009:
Total revenue up 14%; service revenue up 20%.
Subscriber gross adds of 154,000 and net adds of 54,000.
Total subscriber base of 558,000 as of September 30, 2010, for a growth of 14% over the subscriber base as of September 30, 2009.
Building on its leadership in developing advanced technologies and products for the world’s premier mobile satellite operators, Hughes earlier this year commenced work on the ground communications network for MEXSAT, Mexico’s next-generation mobile satellite system. The company is taking mobile satellite technology to a new level by developing advanced features such as push-to-talk functionality and an all-IP multicast capability—both industry firsts.
The government of Mexico awarded the MEXSAT contract to Boeing to deliver an end-to-end L-band satellite communications system, which will consist of three satellites, two gateway sites, associated network operations systems, and reference user terminals. With satellites operating over Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean, the geo-mobile satellite system will provide mobile and fixed satellite services to support national security, civil, and humanitarian efforts, including disaster relief, emergency services, telemedicine, rural education, surveillance, and government agency operations.
As a subcontractor to Boeing, Hughes will provide the ground communications network for MEXSAT, which will be installed at two gateway sites, consisting of satellite base stations, core cellular network switching and related equipment, and customer care and billing systems.
“Mobile satellite broadband technology is ideal for government, military, and emergency communications, particularly in countries with limited terrestrial infrastructure,” said Matthew Mohebbi, vice president and general manager of Mobile Satellite Systems at Hughes. “That’s why today more and more governments are showing considerable interest in owning their own satellites for use by their defense, government, and public safety agencies. Mexico is one of the first to deploy its own mobile satellite system and this may become a trend as nations such as Korea, India, and Australia consider following suit.”
Besides the ground network, Hughes is also building a range of reference user terminals for maritime, aeronautical, and high-speed vehicular applications. These new voice and data terminals will leverage a common, flexible architecture so that different antennas and amplifiers can be employed to build various types, such as handheld portables, on-the-pause units, and terminals with rooftop antennas for different uses.
Hughes has already begun work on the 33-month project, which includes system design and development engineering, fabrication, development of gateways, factory integration, and testing of all subsystems.
At Hughes, innovation is a commitment and a passion. The company’s state-of-the-art work on MEXSAT and other mobile satellite systems means more and more people around the world will continue to reap the powerful benefits of broadband.
If you’ve ever been far enough north to witness the amazing sight of the Aurora Borealis—the northern lights dancing across the night sky—you’ll understand why the Cree Natives call it the “Dance of the Spirits.” Named after the Roman goddess of dawn, the Aurora is like a hypnotic light show. It’s electric—full of energy and impact, connecting people to the enormous power of nature. Which is why we chose it as the backdrop in our corporate ad this year—it’s a perfect metaphor for Hughes, because we’re all about connecting people around the world. It’s why we do what we do.
Indeed, as Simon Sinek explains in his book entitled Start With Why, all companies know the “what” and “how” of their products and services, but few the “why.” His message is that unless the buyer understands and shares in the company’s values and beliefs, the buying decision is usually driven by “lowest price wins.” Here’s the difference: Do you mostly buy something because you think it’s the “best,” or because you think the company making that something is the “best”?
Knowing a company’s reason for being—beyond the advantages and benefits of its products and services—influences people in a far more profound way, elevating the buying decision to be one based on trust, credibility, and value, instead of price alone. Which is where Hughes marketing communications comes in—to create compelling and uniform messaging about not just our superb technology, product, and service offerings, but also about who we are and why we do what we do.
So what’s our game plan to get out the story of Hughes? Most people are familiar with traditional marketing communications functions of branding, public relations, advertising, shows/events, and Web sites—all of which we do. But today there’s a new world of collaborative electronic media such as blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook that’s taking over the airwaves and capturing enormous mindshare around this ever-shrinking planet of ours. So-called social media has exploded onto the scene as a product of the combined Internet, wireless, and broadband revolutions that have fundamentally redefined communications—changing the paradigm from predominately one-to-one connections between people to one-to-any collaborations among people.
Just think about it: Anyone with a broadband connection, whether fixed or mobile, can instantly create an affinity group around any subject matter of interest and gather a following. Talk about a world of personal Pied Pipers—and you too can do it! In fact, 75 percent of the world’s news and ads today are available on the Internet, with literally trillions of video and data transactions being shared each second across the planet. And as we’ve recently witnessed during uprisings in the Middle East and the tragic disaster in Japan, much of it is generated by individuals either live on the scene or as active observers and commentators. Whether it’s breaking news or about some latest product or TV show, social media has itself become a force for change. Not surprisingly, tapping into it to better connect with constituents has become a priority for progressive companies and organizations of all kinds—and is especially important for Hughes, since our business is about connecting people.
Recognizing the reach and power of social media, last year we launched an outreach campaign on Facebook and Twitter for our HughesNet consumer service where topics about speed, reliability, and support are tracked daily to ensure we build rapport with our customers and respond to their needs. Our job to stay close to customers also meant upgrading all of our Web sites across the globe to ensure that we’re speaking their language. Just click on www.hughes.com and you’ll find an interactive, image-based, and easyto-navigate architecture that quickly connects customers to what they want to see and that is responsive to their inquiries.
And who better to tell our stories than our customers? Our library of customer success stories grew last year by more than 40 HughesTV videos covering all market sectors around the globe—augmenting our Channels and Competitive Edge newsletters that reach in excess of 10,000 subscribers. These stories highlight the enormous positive impact of Hughes technologies and services in connecting people—from helping to close the digital divide by bringing high-speed satellite Internet service to over half a million consumers and small businesses across North America; to distance learning via thousands of HughesNet Fusion kiosks in rural India; to e-governance and GSM backhaul services in the Amazon; to enabling governments with telework and emergency preparedness solutions; to providing a wealth of managed services to some of the world’s largest enterprises. And they’re all available with just a few clicks.
Although electronic media and the Web are powerful ways to communicate, nothing can take the place of face-to-face interaction, listening to our customers, and exhibiting the latest in Hughes products and solutions. Last year Hughes participated at more than 80 events—the most ever—where we connected with thousands of potential and existing customers and partners. As an industry leader, Hughes shares our expertise by exhibiting and speaking at major industry shows such as Satellite2011, Via Satellite’s annual forum which had over 10,000 attendees this year, and at more modest events held in geographic regions where we do business.
Additionally, Hughes attends and often hosts targeted vertical sector events—because there’s no better way to know customers than to cloak ourselves in their clothes—covering everything from restaurant and retailer forums, to international workboat shows, to electricity grid conferences. Most of these are held in our own service business markets of North America, Europe, India, Brazil and now China, augmented by regional seminars held annually in Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Middle East/Africa, and Russia/CIS countries. Next time you visit one, check out the high-definition screens showing videos of customers using Hughes products and services— it’s the optimal formula to get our story out—up close and personal, reinforced by electronic means. But then travel budgets don’t always support face-to-face interaction, which explains why we also organize interactive Webinars addressing specialized topics such as Communications-onthe-Move (COTM) and Continuity of Operations (COOP). These are especially popular in the Government and Defense communities, letting people sign up for a session at a time and attend from their desktops. Better to connect with them electronically than not at all.
Our passion at Hughes is about discovery and innovation—it underlies everything we do. To connect people is our “why”—with the best technologies, products, and services we can conceive. We need only to look skyward and let the energy and impact of the Aurora Borealis inspire us to ever greater heights.
Thank you to all our readers and contributors. I welcome comments or input about Channels, HughesTV, or any other Hughes marketing communications initiatives.
An expedition to the northernmost point of the planet that’s reachable by car is no ordinary trip. Just ask the participants of YakutEthnoExp, an annual winter expedition of Russia’s “In Search of the Edge” project, which focuses on ethnographic research, a branch of anthropology dealing with the scientific study of individual cultures.
Traveling in four SUVs especially prepared for extreme northern conditions, seven participants set out from the town of Neryungri on February 24, 2011 on a 5,000-kilometer trek through the Russian Republic of Yakutiya and the Taimyr Peninsula in the Krasnoyarsk Region—passing through 10 remote settlements well inside the Arctic circle, ending an exhausting 28 days later in Norilsk City.
Notwithstanding the harsh travel conditions on trackless roads, accessing broadband connectivity north of the Arctic Circle—where temperatures can dip to -50 Celsius or colder—presented a formidable challenge, yet was essential for the project’s success.
With limited or no availability of terrestrial telecom, the expedition relied on a transportable satellite communications solution from AltegroSky Group, a leading service provider and Hughes customer in Russia, and official sponsor of the ethnographic expedition. AltegroSky’s robust offering utilized the C-COM iNetVu® 1200 auto-deploying antenna system configured with the powerful Hughes HN7740S satellite terminal.
Installed inside one of the SUVs, the HN7740S was an off-the-shelf unit with no special configuration except for electric power using the automobile inverter. The iNetVu antenna system was also a standard unit mounted on the roof—in a collapsed state when in motion, and deployed for the delivery of high-speed satellite services while stationary. At the press of a button, the system began calculating its location automatically, and within 90 seconds pointed the antenna to the required satellite.
Throughout the expedition, the solution reliably delivered Internet speeds up to 4 Mbps, enabling participants to stay connected and access email, leave comments on blogs, Twitter, and LiveJournal, and most importantly, upload and view photos.
Highly experienced in providing communications services during extreme conditions in remote locations like Siberia and Mongolia, the AltegroSky team closely monitored the expedition’s progress.
“We are proud to have provided reliable broadband Internet service for this important expedition in one of the world’s most challenging and hard-to-reach areas of Arctic Siberia,” said Sergei Pekhterev, COO of AltegroSky Group. “The system operated flawlessly under extreme circumstances of icing and high winds, in bitter temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius. It’s a testament to the high quality and reliability of products from Hughes and C-COM that our road warriors were able to stay connected, helping ensure the success of the project.”
Konstantin Lanin, sales director and head of the Hughes office in Moscow, added, “Satellite broadband plays a vital communications role throughout Russia and the CIS countries, particularly in regions like Yakutiya where there is limited terrestrial infrastructure, and serving this expedition is just one more example of its intrinsic value. Hughes salutes the researchers for their important work and we look forward to continuing to power AltegroSky and other customers with our advanced technology to deliver the highest quality broadband services—from Internet access and telemedicine to distance learning, and emergency preparedness.”