Pearce Bullish about Orbcomm Link-Up
[Via Satellite 11-05-13] In an effort to boost their global aspirations, Orbcomm and Inmarsat have formed a strategic alliance to create a standard satellite platform. Orbcomm is building a series of modems, which it expects to be ready for developers by late this quarter. The modems are designed to run on the company’s OG2 VHF network and Inmarsat’s L-band network. The companies held a conference call this morning to discuss the announcement.
The alliance is part of a two-phase plan to collaborate in multiple ways. Phase one involves combining access to Orbcomm and Inmarsat networks.
“To start, we know for sure that we can create a hardware standard that takes advantage of both networks. It gets combined distribution rolling; it gets us to about global coverage even from a regulatory standpoint. We get the scale from hardware perspective and we make it incredibly easy for customers,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat.
Orbcomm plans to use its Multi-Network Access Point Platform (MAPPTM), which “translates and integrates the communications from its network service partners into a uniform set of commands and information,” according to the press release issued by the two companies. Inmarsat will then be able to use its M2MAP for provisioning, billing and multi-mode access for M2M applications through integration with Orbcomm. Manufacturers and partners will be able to drop in the appropriate modem from either Orbcomm’s or Inmarsat’s network based on geography, message size and delivery speed.
Orbcomm will be leveraging off Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP), a satellite packet data service, and BGANM2M, a 3G service offering real-time IP data up to 512 kbps on a single global SIM. These offerings are expected to be available in Orbcomm ’s end-to-end solutions businesses in the heavy equipment, fixed asset, and transportation industries, as well as through Orbcomm’s Value-Added Reseller (VAR) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) channels.
Phase two of the alliance involves identifying potential synergies between the two companies for infrastructure development.
“In due course, our respective teams are going to look at opportunities together for synergies in capital deployment for M2M services, ranging from the operation of our various networks, to distribution opportunities to combine product technologies that could be space outfits or land based opportunities,” said Pearce.
Both companies are looking at building new satellites in the future and through this alliance they hope to identify areas of overlap for these projects. Inmarsat is beginning to think about the design of its Inmarsat 6 constellation planned to launch at the end of the decade. Orbcomm, though currently focused on launching Orbcomm Generation 2 (OG2), is starting to think about OG3.
“We’ve been looking at the M2M market for some time,” said Pearce. “Our enhanced product offering, available through our combined distribution network, will enable both companies to more effectively tap into the rapidly-growing global M2M market. And as a result, create additional value to our respective shareholders.”