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Canada’s SkyWave Tracks U.S. Customers

By | October 4, 2004

      Ottawa, Canada-based SkyWave Mobile Communications, a provider of Inmarsat D+ satellite airtime, services and terminal equipment, is pursuing an aggressive expansion program that will seize on its recent receipt of a 15-year license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to serve the U.S. market. The company also announced the availability of two new satellite terminals, the DMR200D and DMR200L, intended to increase the integration of powerful remote monitoring and control functions as well as improving signal reception for low-elevation and marine applications.

      Long-term access to the U.S. market could give the company’s sales efforts a significant lift. For many technology companies, the United States is the single most identifiable market in the world.

      SkyWave has signed up new U.S. solutions providers, and it is expecting an uptake in sales during the next six to nine months, said Brent Winsor, SkyWave’s marketing manager.

      “We were the first Inmarsat D+ provider to enter the United States in 1999,” Winsor said. With the extended FCC license, SkyWave will be able to expand its market in asset tracking and management to a larger customer base.

      “The technology has been around but we are starting to see an uptake from the market,” said Glenn Eaves, SkyWave’s director of technical pre-sales. “It might have been a technology that was ahead of its time. But we have been busy over the last several years to educate the marketplace and work with our partners for them to develop cost-effective solutions.”

      Jabursat, a Londrina, Brazil-based partner of SkyWave, has been an effective seller of the Canadian company’s products for fleet tracking in that country.

      “The whole transportation industry in Brazil works with risk management companies and insurance companies to manage the risk of cargo theft,” Eaves said. “Vehicles that have an approved cargo-security system pay significantly lower insurance premiums.”

      The company now is focused on the U.S. government market, particularly the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is another example of a government agency with which SkyWave is working to provide technology either directly or indirectly through its value-added resellers.

      One such niche market is theft-prevention. Typical applications of SkyWave solutions include remote fleet management of trucks, shipboard security alert systems and tuna fishing buoy sensors.

      “Cargo theft is a huge issue in South America,” Eaves said. “Theft is a whole industry in that part of the world.”

      New Terminals

      The two new terminals released by SkyWave last month would help to expand the company’s built-in, input-output capabilities to allow its partners to connect directly to more sensors without having to add additional hardware. That capability also would lower the cost of the solution.

      One of the new terminals is equipped with an antenna that expands coverage. As a terminal moves closer to the poles, its angle to the satellite becomes lower on the horizon. The new terminals would be able to see signals just above the horizon. That feature would enable the terminals to be used closer to the poles by the maritime industry.

      The equipment also is unique because it combines the satellite transceiver, antenna, and GPS receiver into a single integrated unit that can be installed quickly. That results in a lower cost of maintaining and installing the terminal.

      SkyWave provides Inmarsat D+ satellite systems that offer global asset tracking, monitoring and control solutions on land and sea. It has sold more than 33,000 units and it has raised $26 million in venture-capital funding.

      (Brent Winsor, SkyWave, 613/836-4844, ext. 271)

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