Once thought to be an industry mainly dominated by hobbyists, the satellite industry has grown tremendously on a global scale. The industry has benefited Tremendously from the advent of smaller satellite dishes which have made multichannel satellite television accessible to many more homeowners. One sure sign that this industry has come of age is that the satellite industry now has its own expo: SATCON 2005. SATCON (which stands for Satellite Application and Content Delivery Conference & Expo) is still in its infancy compared to many of the larger, and grander computer/IT shows which have been held at Javits Convention Center. The show, held this year from October 26-27 at Jacob Javits in NYC, is the fourth consecutive year for this “newbie” expo. This year, with more than 110 exhibitors, 100 speakers, and 25 sessions, SATCON was particularly exciting.
The reduction in size of satellite dishes over the past decade from the huge, radar sized dishes that were mounted on rooftops years back has prompted tremendous growth in this market which was once relegated to electronic hobbyists and tinkerers who assembled satellite kits ordered from the backs of magazines. The SATCON show not only highlighted the sophisticated equipment used in satellite applications, but also the economic, political, and social strengths satellite have over more conventional forms of signal transmission. Broadcasters, corporate and government users are decreasing costs and increasing their content delivery options with IP platforms, which require new content management systems. Satellites have become less expensive and easier to place in orbit with the age of the space shuttle and have now become a kep component of the military’s transition to a net-centric defense system and to the development of “on-the-move” applications to equip the mobile warfighter.
Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and terrorist attacks such as the 9/11 attacks have raised public awareness of the value of satellites. During the 9/11 attacks, many New Yorkers who relied on aerial antennae’s were unable to receive television signals for several days and even then many homeowners had to realign their antennae’s. The benefits of satellite communications for television distribution and newsgathering, training, data applications, and rural connectivity have been recognized by broadcasters, enterprises and government agencies for decades. SATCON was a unique opportunity to hear from these companies and to understand their plans for the future of the satellite industry.