David Gelerman did not set out to serve the satellite sector when he founded Advantech in 1988, but more than 20 years later, he has positioned the Canadian company as one of the leading suppliers of communications network components and solutions for broadband connectivity, broadcast solutions and backhaul requirements.
Gelerman emigrated from the Soviet Union to Canada in 1981 and spent seven years at Nortel Networks before striking out on his own. “I was manager of product development at Nortel, and at the time, an executive told me, ‘Don’t bring us any opportunity unless they are worth $100 million.’ I knew there was a lot of business below $100 million, and this is what I started doing. I didn’t know what I would be doing, but I knew how to design and build microwave components and had the knowledge and expertise that could be applied to satellite technology.”
Gelerman did not launch the business with a target market in mind, but using his experience in microwave products and solid state amplifiers, he developed product lines for the satellite sector. “This was a time when the satellite industry decided to embrace solid state technology, and little-by-little we were drawn into satellite sector by our potential customers.”
Gelerman discusses the evolution of Advantech’s business and product lines and where the satellite sector is leading him next.
Via Satellite: How has Advantech’s product line evolved?
Gelerman: We have moved from simply having a microwave specialty to a total solutions company. We provide everything from transceivers to antenna tracking controls to antennas. We provide VSAT networks, high capacity throughput in TDMA. We are a completely different company that is, in essence, a one stop-shop for most of our customers. A lot of our customers still associate us with microwave components, but six months ago we changed our image and branded ourselves as Advantech Wireless. We want customers to think not just about microwave components but total solutions.
Via Satellite: What drove this change?
Gelerman: Most of the ideas come from the customers. They have a problem such as they need more throughput, more efficiency, less consumption. We try to leverage our knowledge and see what we need to change with our products or develop new products. We just launched a line of block-up converters for use in flyaway and manpack applications because we are continuously improving our technology and our own processes.