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In this issue, we speak with Hughes Executive Vice President and General Manager, North America, Paul Gaske about the many ways that Hughes technologies and services support education and training initiatives around the globe – in schools, businesses and governments.
Q: Can you talk to us about the importance of the education market to Hughes and its business strategy?
A: Looking back, satellite communications were initially used for video services and also to reach schools with educational programs and materials. Over the years, we’ve been primarily focused on distance learning. Our solutions tend to reach rural communities and the underserved. Or, in the case of corporations, serve as a consistent platform across numerous locations to provide training. For our early very small aperture terminals, or VSATs, it was one of our first applications. So, as education systems and companies have expanded their needs for distance learning and e-learning, we’ve added products and capabilities.
Q: What particular growth areas or opportunities do you see?
A: In this space, the Hughes BreakroomTV ™ is one of the biggest opportunities. During their shifts, employees at large retailers or major service companies have breaks and they want to relax, maybe get the news. But that break time is also an opportunity for the employer to share information or educate employees about their business or products. We launched the new capability with Kohl’s and it’s getting a lot of traction in the market. As employees become more video literate and less dependent on text-based materials, they will be interested in or looking for training in a video format. This will be an exciting application for these companies.
Q: Looking to the future, how do you see the next generation of high-throughput satellite systems such as EchoStar® XIX, with the JUPITER™ System, or the new partnership with OneWeb, changing or expanding this market?
A: The EchoStar XIX is a massive satellite that will cover all of North America and some markets in Central America. Its capability is outstanding and it will allow us to continue to expand our rapidly growing HughesNet® business. We’re looking forward to launching it late next year. All the tests have gone well so far and the program looks like it’s going to be a big success for us.
As for OneWeb, we’re really excited to be a part of this amazing new satellite system. We’re an investor, along with a number of well-known companies bringing the LEO system, or Low Earth Orbiting system, into being. We see great opportunities for our markets and to connect the underserved parts of the world. OneWeb can provide low-latency, high-speed bandwidth over 100% of the globe. At the same time, our JUPITER technology, which is geostationary satellite technology, provides tremendous amounts of bandwidth in certain locations. By offering the two technologies, OneWeb’s LEO and EchoStar XIX GEO, we’ll have the capability to service all of our key markets with unique and exciting products.
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