Satellite services taking off, says visitor

Forty years after the first satellite began orbiting the Earth, satellite technology is playing an increasing role in telecommunications and IT and is set to grow rapidly in future. Managing editor of Price Waterhouse's Entertainment and Communications (EMC) Technology Forecast, Mike Katz of California, was in New Zealand last week launching the forecast in this country.

Forty years after the first satellite began orbiting the Earth, satellite technology is playing an increasing role in telecommunications and IT and is set to grow rapidly in future.

Managing editor of Price Waterhouse’s Entertainment and Communications (EMC) Technology Forecast, Mike Katz of California, was in New Zealand last week launching the forecast in this country.

The EMC report says satellite systems scheduled to begin operation within the next five years are designed to offer two-way, real-time global mobile fax messaging, data and voice services via hand-held telephones, fax machines and laptop computers. It says the costs of satellite communications have been reduced by improvements in satellite power, switching capability and digital transmission techniques, while improving capacity and speed.

Katz says satellites are starting to play an increasing role in the IT industry, even though it’s a technology that’s been around for a long time.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve starting to see the use of satellite technology for applications as diverse as direct-to-home broadcasting services for video, to the use of satellites for global roaming telephony — things that were unimagined a few years ago.”

He says as business gets more and more global, the need for communication in a global environment increases and it will pick up in it’s importance.

The report says satellites will play a big part in un-tethering computer and communications users, allowing them mobility and communications capabilities previously inconceivable.

Katz says for all businesses a key future trend is more connectivity.

He says the Internet has been the first step toward that and there are many other new technologies which will enhance the ability for businesses to communicate with customers and suppliers further.

In addition to things like satellite technology, he says things like asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) is a technology which will allow businesses to take up the “Inter-net paradigm” and make it work for the future.

He says ATM has the ability to operate over high-speed communications links and combine voice data and video all on the same line.

“That’s been something we’ve been looking to do in the IT industry for as long as I’ve been part of the IT industry, and it’s never really come to fruition, but finally we’re starting to see the deployment of a technology that looks like that it will handle that.

“And we see carriers around the world rushing to support it and we see some leading-edge customers installing ATM within their campuses and across their wide area network.”

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