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Q: Hughes had a great year in 2014. What were some of the company’s major accomplishments?A: With growing revenues and healthy margins in our businesses all over the world, Hughes had an exceptional year in 2014. Of particular note, we crossed the 1 million mark of active users for HughesNet® high-speed satellite Internet service in North America, making it the world’s largest consumer satellite service—all of which is powered by our award-winning JUPITER™ System. In the enterprise space, our HughesON™ Managed Network Solutions portfolio has been well received with some major wins and expansions, including Delhaize (Food Lion), Springleaf Financial, and GTECH, the U.S.’s largest lottery provider, which extended its service agreement through September 2022, including space segment, hub operations, and maintenance for over 100,000 sites. Within our franchise-oriented markets, Hughes expanded numerous contracts, one of the largest being with Yum! brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut). We also successfully introduced the HR4400 Branch Gateway, a single cost-effective device that combines strong security, routing, and Hughes unique Active Technologies for multibranch organizations—a big driver for enterprise managed services globally.Q: In terms of our successes internationally, which new accounts or account expansions stand out?A: Hughes service companies in Brazil, India, and Europe, all had equally great years. The Hughes Brazilian subsidiary signed a contract extension with Telemar for the provision of broadband services for approximately 3,200 sites, while the Indian subsidiary continued to expand its rural bank and ATM network in India. There are more than 50,000 sites now in service, part of a major project that connects rural locations to the national banking network. Prior to this network, residents had to travel to the nearest city with a branch bank to conduct transactions. Hughes India now has over 100,000 VSAT sites in operation. Hughes Europe was selected by Smiggle for a comprehensive HughesON Managed Network Solution that includes wireless backup to support the Australian retailer’s UK Launch. In the Middle East, we won a $69 million contract for a global foreign ministry satellite network spanning six continents and 100 countries. And in Colombia, Hughes was selected by both Hispasat and Anditel to provide high-speed Internet services to rural schools and communities under the Vive Digital program.Q: How did Hughes do in the aeronautical sector in 2014?A: We have continued to make great inroads with airborne broadband solutions through our partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment (formerly Row 44). Hughes provides the onboard routers that underpin their inflight systems, together with satellite hub connectivity and leased space segment. Beyond the U.S., Europe, and Russia, in 2014 Hughes aeronautical business expanded into the Asia Pacific region with Thaicom, a leading satellite communications provider, supporting services to airlines in Thailand and Southeast Asia.Q: Can you share an update on JUPITER™, in terms of our strategy or progress against goals?A: Building on its success as the cornerstone of HughesNet service in North America, our JUPITER System in 2014 become the high-throughput satellite (HTS) platform of choice by leading providers globally, whether the operation is over Ka-, Ku- or C-band satellites. That means the ground system control and management infrastructure as well as customer terminals are based on the same core technology building blocks, powered by our System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technology. This offers customers tremendous advantages and efficiencies and opens the door to delivering the widest range of enterprise and consumer applications. (See related story in this issue of Channels).Q: Which of the milestones in the Mobile Satellite arena are particularly noteworthy?A: Recently, our parent company EchoStar announced a name change for its wholly-owned subsidiary, changing Solaris Mobile to EchoStar Mobile. Echo- Star Mobile is the pan-European S-band licensee for mobile satellite services with complementary ground components, and they are moving forward with Hughes to design and develop a satellite-based platform utilizing the ETSI GMR-1 3G air interface standard. This platform enables wireless mobile devices to communicate over the satellite portion of EchoStar Mobile’s network, supporting 3G/4G compatible user services, including multimedia and voice.Q:After such a banner year in 2014, what is the outlook for 2015 and beyond?A: Looking ahead, Hughes is on track for the 2016 launch of our next-generation high-throughput satellite, EchoStar® XIX. With over 150 Gbps throughput, this new Ka-band satellite will have 50 percent greater capacity than EchoStar® XVII. Building on its success, the new satellite system is designed with an advanced architecture having more than 120 spot beams, to further expand high-quality HughesNet Gen4 Internet services across the U.S. and major parts of Canada and Central America. In fact, Xplornet Communications, Canada’s largest rural broadband provider, has committed to a lifetime lease for all of the Canadian satellite broadband capacity on EchoStar XIX, including the gateways necessary to support the service. All in all, 2014 validated why I am very bullish about the healthy growth of all our business segments, as our continuing investments in both new technology and services yield ever higher speeds, lower cost per bit and more applications and benefits for our customers. Our leadership in both technology and service delivery sets Hughes apart and is the key to our success.
The Hughes JUPITER™ System was named 2014 Technology Innovation of the Year at the leading satellite industry conference, VSAT Global 2014, in London last September. The award recognizes technological innovation that enhances the delivery of satellite services to the wider community and evolves the industry beyond its current limits.
Hughes President Pradman Kaul received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Via Satellite Excellence Awards breakfast held during the Satellite 2015 conference/ exhibition in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes people, companies, and technologies that have helped shape the success of the global satellite industry. Kaul was honored for 30 years of contributions to the satellite industry.
Beginning with the invention of the first commercial VSAT in 1983 and subsequent launch of the satellite networking industry, Kaul has been a leading force in technology and business. Throughout his career, Kaul and the Hughes team pioneered seminal breakthroughs for satellite networks, including the current SPACEWAY® and JUPITER System.
“I am honored by this recognition and grateful for the opportunity to lead the Hughes team in helping shape the satellite industry’s evolution,” Kaul said. “After all these years, I am more passionate than ever about the enormous potential of satellite technology as a mainstream part of the world’s telecom infrastructure.”
The HughesON™ Suite of Managed Network Solutions was named a bronze winner in The Best New [Enterprise] Product of the Year category by Best in Biz Awards 2014, the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts. The Best in Biz Awards’ fourth annual North American program was its most competitive yet. More than 550 award nominations were received in a variety of company, executive, team, and product-focused categories. Nominations were fielded from public and private companies of all sizes, from virtually every major industry and region in the U.S. and Canada.
Hughes was honored to receive the Corporate Achievement Award from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) during its Business Awards Dinner in late November 2014. Each year, this award is presented to an individual or company that has made a significant contribution to the local economy and to the community by demonstrating leadership, innovation, commitment, and good corporate citizenship.
“Hughes leadership is recognized worldwide,” said Gigi Godwin, president and CEO, MCCC. “We are proud to have them headquartered here in Montgomery County, Maryland.” Hughes was recognized specifically for its multiple years of recognition for workplace excellence, employee diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, along with EcoLeadership as a Montgomery County Green Certified Business. The annual awards event attracts 700+ guests including award winners, sponsors, business leaders, elected and government officials, and the media.
Conducting discreet operations is a top priority for police forces, border patrols, the military, and a range of government agencies around the world. In the past, a major challenge facing these organizations has been implementing concealed and unattended connectivity at off-the-grid locations.
Introducing the Hughes Low-Profile BGAN (LPB), the world’s first lie-flat antenna coupled with a robust, remotely operable BGAN terminal, built to function even when buried under light debris. Offering reliable, remotely controllable satellite connectivity over the Inmarsat BGAN network, the Hughes LPB is the ideal solution for unmanned surveillance in real time.
Compatible with a broad range of surveillance hardware, the Hughes LPB solution is quickly and easily installed, and is capable of high-speed transmission for a number of applications, including real-time audio, data, and streaming video to end users around the world. Requiring only minimal power consumption for remote installations, the LPB is IP-67 rated for outdoor use and can be installed below ground for inconspicuous operation even with a thin layer of dry, non-metallic material over the antenna.
It is ideal in situations where satcom equipment is a target for malicious damage and an antenna cannot be visible, such as covert installations on embassy buildings, or at locations requiring concealed surveillance.
Equipped with a squinted beam antenna, the LPB negates the need for complex pointing and meets government-level environmental and ingress protection. In addition, it can lie dormant until awoken by a network command from a distant center or triggered into action by an event in the field.
"The Hughes Low-Profile BGAN is a game-changing solution for unmanned connectivity in remote areas,” said Peter Dingley, Inmarsat Global Government. “And when you add in the ability to be buried or camouflaged to avoid detection, the LPB is expected to become the staple satcom backbone of future discreet operations."
Added Graham Avis, vice president and general manager of Hughes San Diego, “The LPB directly builds on our successful work with Inmarsat in the machine-to-machine communications market, bringing highly available and reliable communications for a variety of commercial and government applications where a conspicuous installation cannot be tolerated.
The latest in a long line of innovative mobile satellite solutions developed by Hughes for Inmarsat’s BGAN service, the new Low-Profile BGAN will equip police forces and other government users around the world with discreet communications for global high-speed IP surveillance connectivity, changing the future of discreet operations.
Today’s customers are more demanding than ever. Conditioned by outstanding user experiences from online retailers, such as Amazon, customers now expect a superior experience with instant access to information and rapid delivery of products and services when they shop at their favorite stores. All types of businesses— from finance to retail, from restaurant to hospitality— are responding to these higher customer expectations by digitizing operations and embracing the use of mobile devices at their stores and branches. Millions are engaged in an effort to “move to the cloud” to support the resulting explosion of applications such as mobile POS, assisted selling, and back office services, all of which are ultimately focused on boosting competitive positioning and profitability.
Underpinning the performance of these applications is the network itself—and it takes a powerful network to successfully move to the cloud. In essence, customer engagement starts with the network. With cloud-based applications requiring higher bandwidth, stronger security, and better reliability, how can businesses accomplish this move without overwhelming the network or the IT department? Getting to the Cloud— Securely and Efficiently Enter HughesON™, a comprehensive suite of managed network and digital media solutions that enhance existing infrastructure at all branches. Now companies can quickly respond to the changing needs of their business—and get to the cloud—without overwhelming the network or creating additional headaches for IT.
With HughesON, businesses can quickly and easily deploy new branch applications that require high-speed access to the cloud directly from their branch locations—a process known as “split-tunneling” to the Internet. Customer privacy is safeguarded by strong security, which locks down the network through state-of-the-art technology from Fortinet integrated into the Hughes HR4700 Branch Gateway.
The bandwidth-hungry demands of many new cloud-based applications often exceed what a traditional primary network (typically MPLS) can costeffectively provide. HughesON has the flexibility to readily expand to support them, such as a new guest Wi-Fi initiative, through a parallel broadband network to the primary.
HughesON not only supplements, but can also back-up an existing network to achieve high availability and mitigate downtime. Key to offering unmatched enterprise-grade performance over affordable broadband is Hughes optimization technology—ActiveQoS™ and ActiveCompression™—which is integrated into the HR4700 Branch Gateway and delivers speeds up to 20 times faster than traditional broadband networks.
In addition, critical applications can be prioritized end-to-end over both the broadband Wide-Area-Network (WAN) and the in-store/branch Wireless LAN (WLAN). As a result, customers and employees can enjoy easy and secure access to the Internet with no dead zones or dropped connections.
A recent survey of U.S. retailers by Boston Retail Partners (BRP)1 indicates that faster, more secure networking is a key technology to enable real-time retailing and other trends in retail. “The move to real-time retail has tremendous payback,” said Ken Morris, principal of BRP. “The future is this sort of ‘Amazon experience’ at the store level and with that, comes the need for increased bandwidth.”
In today’s video-driven world, what would a customer engagement network be without the ability to easily deliver targeted video to hundreds or thousands of locations? HughesON Digital Media solutions unleash the power of video to engage customers and employees at all branches, when and where it matters most, as well as deliver training, live or on-demand, to branch locations—all managed by a trusted partner.
Adapting quickly to evolving customer and operational needs—without overwhelming the network or the IT department— means having the right network to start with. And the simple answer is: It’s all about agility. Empowering a company’s line of business, marketing, operations, and IT staffs collectively to quickly respond to the needs of the customers is all about the network that underpins the initiatives. Now, that’s agility at work.
The definition of “innovation” is to make new. To innovate or to be innovative does not necessarily mean to be revolutionary or to change the world. Often the simplest idea leads to the most useful innovation.
Having a passion for innovation is in the Hughes DNA. With a workforce boasting a diverse background and a wide range of skills, the company’s culture is all about promoting new ideas and spans the entire organization.
The Internet has fundamentally changed our world, creating a new information economy that everyone on the planet can personally participate in. Whether in a coffee shop, on an airplane, in a hotel lobby, on a ship, or at home, people expect nothing less than reliable, high-speed access to online services wherever they go.
“This presents challenges; and challenges always present opportunities for innovation,” said John Kenyon, senior vice president at Hughes. “At Hughes, we are very much an integral part of the global Internet delivery system and understand that we have to continuously adapt to the market. We know that in order for us to be successful, we need everybody thinking ‘What If?’ not just 10 or 20 people thinking that way. We need 2000 people thinking about ‘What if?’”
The Hughes corporate culture promotes innovative thinking at all levels and in all areas, across the full scope of its businesses as both a technology and service provider. As a recent case in point, its JUPITER™ System was named Technology Innovation of the Year at VSAT 2014, which recognized that it enhances the delivery of satellite services to the wider community and evolves the industry beyond its current limits.
Powered by an advanced System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technology which enables speeds up to 100 Mbps, the innovative JUPITER System is the cornerstone of HughesNet® high-speed satellite Internet service in North America—which recently crossed the milestone of 1 million active users—the world’s largest satellite Internet service. On its own merits, HughesNet Gen4 was a winner of the third annual Consumer World Awards program, which honors excellence in every facet of the consumer industry, including products, the people behind successes, and the best companies from around the world. Besides high-speed surfing, customers enjoy HughesNet Voice, an affordable Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service along with a host of premium features, such as call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, and enhanced voice mail.
While many Hughes innovations have involved groundbreaking technologies, some have been small yet significant ideas for product or service improvements. In one example, customer care people noticed that while there were high rates of customers choosing to add HughesNet Voice Service to their orders, many who had ordered it never activated it. That led to a series of a focus groups and some important insights. According to Nick Isoldi, service manager for HughesNet Voice Services, “We discovered how intimidating some of the activation steps can be.” To solve the problem, the team developed a one-page Quick Start Guide. “Today, the new activation process requires the user only to confirm their information and click one button. With the team’s diverse backgrounds and active involvement we were able to quickly pinpoint the problem and solve it,” Isoldi said.
Often, customers have specific requests that require solving real world challenges, triggering innovations. Recently, one of Hughes biggest international customers, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company or Yahsat, approached the Hughes team with a specific request: to double the capacity of their IP gateway, essentially overnight, to achieve speeds of 100 Mbps. Amit Arora, a Hughes engineer, analyzed traffic patterns and identified a way to make the compression software more productive in order to achieve the desired results.
Such outcomes are not uncommon. From big ideas to small, across all departments and at every level, Hughes promotes and supports this passion for innovation—and in myriad ways around the world, customers reap the benefits each day
For 20 years, Springleaf Financial Services has been a loyal Hughes customer, even as its network needs have rapidly evolved in response to dramatic changes in the banking industry and in how people conduct business. That loyalty stems from the strong collaborative partnership that has developed through the years and from Springleaf’s confidence that Hughes will rise up to meet any challenge and solve any problem.
“Hughes is our one-stop-shop, whatever it is we need in our world, we know they can provide it,” Tom Peake, Springleaf’s vice president of technical services said. “We haven’t yet come up with anything for which they haven’t been able to say, ‘We can do that for you.’” This one-stop-shop level of support comes in part from HughesON™, a comprehensive suite of managed network and digital media solutions designed for multi-branch, distributed enterprises like Springleaf.
The long-term relationship began in 1995 with a Hughes VSAT satellite networking solution to connect a large number of Springleaf’s branches across the country. The ability and flexibility to quickly add sites or change locations made VSAT the logical choice; Springleaf typically leases office space to better target branch locations to a dynamic customer market. “We will move a branch location over the course of a weekend,” said Peake. “We’ll close a branch on a Friday, move locations, and install a satellite dish over the weekend so we can be up and running at the new location on Monday. A Hughes VSAT solution made this possible for 15 years.”
Yet over the past five years, there has been a rapid shift in needs and requirements within the banking industry. Loan applications have moved from paper to online submissions. Internet demand has increased as branches have been directed to interface online with local courts and government offices. Customer expectations have also evolved.
Springleaf approached Hughes to discuss new solution options for these emerging needs. In the end a High-Availability Network (HAN) environment was implemented combining both terrestrial broadband and satellite platforms, where VSAT serves as a backup in the event a digital line or connection within the terrestrial network goes down. Springleaf also depends on VSAT to multicast software code and patch updates overnight. As the terrestrial network expanded, Springleaf’s utilization of VSAT may have been less, but it was no less critical. Today, with HughesOn, SpringLeaf is assured the coverage, scalability, and performance the company demands.
The give and take of open dialogue between Springleaf and Hughes has been imperative to the long-term success of the relationship. This is particularly true during pilot testing and the deployment of new technologies, when issues can arise.
“Hughes is both an engineering company and a service provider themselves, so we know if we have a problem, someone at Hughes is going to be able to resolve that problem,” Peake said. In addition to candid conversations, Springleaf executives participate in the annual Hughes User Group (HUG), an opportunity organized by Hughes and led by the HUG Board that brings together customers and subject matter experts to discuss technical innovations and business trends and challenges.
As the company has demonstrated, Springleaf is attuned to the swift pace of change. While the company deployed Wi-Fi in its headquarters only a couple of years ago, Peake recognizes that customers today expect Wi-Fi wherever they go—even when running a quick errand to the bank. Springleaf is committed to leveraging its partnership with Hughes so that the company can remain responsive and create a secure branch environment that meets the needs of employees and customers alike, even as those needs grow and change.
With a steadily expanding presence in major international markets the Hughes JUPITER™ System has emerged as the leading ground system for High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) and conventional satellite operators around the world and was named the Technology Innovation of the Year at VSAT 2014.
As an advanced and comprehensive broadband system that can operate on any satellite in the world, JUPITER is expressly designed for HTS services and engineered for the highest possible capacity and efficiency. JUPITER powers the HughesNet® high-speed satellite Internet service in North America, which supports more than 1 million subscribers—the world’s largest consumer satellite service. In the past year, it has become the system of choice by HTS operators globally, including MNLA (Media Networks Latin America), RSCC (Russia), Turksat (Turkey, Europe/Middle East) and Malaysia. MNLA, for example, is using JUPITER for the first commercial Ka-band service over Latin America, as it expands into delivering high-speed satellite Internet access to households across the region.
In Malaysia, TS Global Network Sdn Bhd (TSGN), the country’s premier satellite communications services company is deploying JUPITER for a major technology upgrade of its existing C-band network, making TSGN the first operator to do so over conventional satellites. With a JUPITER Gateway and the latest generation enterprise-class broadband satellite terminals at over 3,000 locations, TSGN will not only refresh its technology, it will do so with minimum disruption to its customers.
Other companies deploying JUPITER on conventional satellites are Pegaso in Mexico (for C- and Ku-band) and a major Middle East Energy Company (for Ku-band). Pegaso will deliver services over the Bicentenario satellite owned by Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), operating a Hughes JUPITER Gateway and more than 5,000 remote terminals, helping the government reach its goal of providing Internet access to 100 percent of the country’s schools and municipalities.
The JUPITER System-on-a-Chip (SoC) is an advanced VLSI processor that employs a multi-core architecture and enables 100 Mbps of throughput on every terminal within the JUPITER family. It enables satellite operators to support the widest range of applications, from consumer Internet to high-end enterprise and even the most throughput-intensive applications, such as 3G and 4G backhaul and video surveillance.
“The JUPITER System is not only the standard for HTS deployments—it enables satellite operators to extract more value from their conventional networks while offering higher service levels to their customers,” said Ramesh Ramaswamy, vice president of International sales and marketing at Hughes.
“There will always be a movement toward newer and higherperforming technologies, but satellite service operators also have to deal with the basic economics of getting a return on their equipment investments,” said Ramaswamy. “JUPITER’s modular design provides the ideal, future-proof platform for operators seeking technology and cost advantages on today’s conventional satellites, while positioning them for a seamless migration to HTS satellites.”
In mid-2014, Hughes invested in a 3D printer with the primary goal to enhance the Engineering and Operations New Product Introduction (NPI) process. “Operations and Engineering have a very close working relationship,” said John McEwan, senior vice president of Operations for Hughes. “This significant new capability helps shorten the development lifecycle and improve product validation, strengthening the synergy between the two organizations and delivering tangible benefits to Hughes.”
3D printers allow the use of a wider range of materials, have faster throughput times, and support much larger sizes of final prototypes and models. They also create prototypes that can be fully functional. This helps during product definition and design because it provides an opportunity to build models with different variations before going to market. Having the ability to produce multiple iterations of new designs helps improve the end customer experience and final product quality. It also reduces the time to market.
The Hughes 3D printer is an Objet Connex 3 Model. This 3D printer is highly flexible and enables Hughes to print a variety of prototypes ranging from simple items to extremely complex designs, in either plastic or rubber, and in a variety of colors.
The actual printing process is similar to an inkjet printing process. The job begins with a Hughes engineer transmitting a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) file electronically. The file is downloaded to the 3D printer’s own built-in computer system and software, which in turn 3D Printer Enhances New Product Engineering Development converts the file into print commands. Once the operator selects the appropriate material, the system software determines the best way to layout the part for build speed and material consumption.
The prototype is printed to meet the design specifications, down to color and the placement of the Hughes logo. The Objet Connex 3 produces a range of rigid and flexible color materials by mixing three base resins. The printer uses eight print heads, consisting of 93 nozzles which apply the material in 16-micron layers. With each pass the printer uses UV light to cure the material layer by layer. In areas where there are moving parts or nothing is being printed, the printer applies support material. Once the printing is completed, the last step in the process is to remove all of the support material using pressurized water.