You may have seen that we recently announced a big change to our group’s focus. The Satellite Interference Reduction Group (IRG) has become the Satcoms Innovation Group (SIG), as part of a wider expansion to encompass all types of innovation within the satellite industry. In this blog post, we’ll answer some common questions about the expansion and what this means for the group.
1. Why did IRG decide to become SIG?
Originally created in 1998, IRG has been at the forefront of interference mitigation for twenty years. We were the group that brought most of the industry together around the same table, sharing operational experiences in detecting and resolving radio frequency interferences. Since the first meeting in Paris in 1998, the then SUIRG supported a mutual co-operation between satellite operators, end users and the industry, greatly improving process and procedures and raising awareness of the interferences issues. In the last few years, downtime caused by interference has reduced, more organisations are committed to preventing interference and new processes and tools have greatly minimised the time taken to resolve issues. The most recent achievement is the introduction of Carrier ID, but we have been at the heart of many other global initiatives to lessen the effects of satellite interference.
Interference is still an ongoing issue, which is why it will remain a large part of what we do. As long as it is causing problems and requiring resources to fix, we will be working to eradicate it.
However, with LEO constellations, 5G, the digitization of the ground segment and demand for constant connectivity, there are big opportunities but also challenges coming our way. With more and more satellites launching, we may find it harder to keep space safe and clean. At the same time, competition from other communication methods are placing a strain on satellite operators to provide less expensive services. What this means is that we must optimize every aspect of the satellite world, keep errors to a minimum, and provide reliable, quality services.
So in October 2018 IRG became SIG, with the aim of building on current innovations in satellite technology in order to improve efficiencies in all operational areas of satellite.
2. What is the aim of the group?
The aim of the expansion is to promote innovation in the satellite communication industry to improve operational efficiency, saving time and ultimately money. We hope this will enable the industry to cope with the challenges of the future, and make the most of new opportunities.
The group will aim to facilitate the provision of highly reliable and quality satellite services, through innovation, whilst keeping interference to a minimum. We will bring engineers together to share information and discuss what is causing the problems they face on their daily duties and where we can improve, as well as share ideas and build a wish list for the industry to innovate and progress. As part of this, we hope to support manufacturers as they build tools and innovations to improve efficiencies and limit errors, taking insights from operators and users to help us inform the inception of these tools.
3. How do you expect to meet that aim?
One of our biggest roles within the industry is as a facilitator of close relationships between organisations, including all stakeholders in the satellite industry, making sure visionaries and innovators are given the necessary support and visibility. The most effective way of doing so is through events, which we hold regularly.
This year, we held workshops on three continents, bringing together regional players to share local information about satellite markets and challenges. We will also be speaking on industry panels at leading shows throughout 2019, and holding workshops alongside.
Since the inception of the group in 1998, we have been instrumental in lobbying regulatory bodies, small businesses with big ideas and other organisations and will continue to do so going ahead. We aim to, where necessary, push for legislation that respects the importance of the satellite industry and protects it from harm.
The Satellite Innovation Group’s main aim is to promote all types of innovation, in order for the satellite industry to continue to stay ahead of the curve. We hope that by innovating new technologies and tools, we can improve efficiency in all sectors of the satellite industry and allow all organisations to benefit both monetarily and operationally.
4. What’s next for SIG?
As part of the widening of our remit, there are a number of new topics which will be covering at our next few events and in the foreseeable future. A prominent topic is the potential for Big Data and Machine Learning (or Artificial Intelligence depending on your viewpoint) to help in our quest to manage future challenge, such as vast LEO constellations and future super networks. The group believes this is an area where we will see substantial development in the next few years, driven by the efforts of our members and supported by SIG.
We’ll be heading to Cabsat in January which will excitingly be our first tradeshow as SIG! It will be a great opportunity to discuss the change with any members and the wider industry that didn’t attend our event, Satellite Technology Asia.
Our next workshop will most likely be in March here in the UK then the next alongside the Satellite Show 2019 in May, so stay tuned!
5. How can I get involved?
The best way to get involved with SIG is undoubtedly to become a member organisation – we have two tiers of membership with varying cost to suit all. If your employer isn’t yet a member, you should still attend SIG events and workshops. These are free to attend if you are a member, but some of our events are also free to non-members. As part of media partnerships with external industry events and conferences, we can, in some instances, offer members discounted passes to attend these too.
If you have an interesting topic to discuss, why not ask us about speaking at our events? We do give priority to members, but always welcome non-members with a particularly interesting story or topic to discuss.
And finally, don’t forget to connect with us at tradeshows! Our Executive Director, Martin Coleman, attends most of the industry events around the world, and is always available for a chat to discuss innovation, membership or anything related to the satellite industry. Stay up to date and find out what events we will attend by signing up the SIG newsletter here.