Exploring Space as a Service 

With the improvement of on-satellite technology there has been a surge of interest in hosting ‘space as a service’ business models. On Episode 14 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Dennis Silin, who is the CEO and Founder of Exodus Orbitals. He established Exodus Orbitals in 2019 as a ‘satellite as a service’ space startup based in Toronto. Here are Dennis’s insights into the ‘space as a service’ business model:

The primary direction of the ‘space as a service’ business models is making satellite capabilities more available by democratising access to them. End users want fast, cheap and effective satellites, with easy access to a digital service like storage or cloud computing. They also want minimal hassle with the maximum amount of use for the least amount of money. For existing satellite companies, even NewSpace ones, it doesn’t make sense to offer something that will cut into their own profits. They’re looking for ways to create those ‘as a service’ platforms while increasing their revenue, not decreasing them. 

There’s a conflict between what the customer wants and what the vendor or satellite operator wants. At the same time, the whole nature of ‘as a service’ is making those services cheaper, more accessible, and costing less than the alternative. In my opinion, the incumbents are not going to solve this problem, even if they do know how to solve it. Why would they do something that will disrupt their own business model? Why would companies like Planet Inspire offer their satellites for a low cost if they make more money by just selling data from them? 

As a new company, Exodus has nothing to lose and everything to gain from this model. We’re doing something that’s not really been executed yet, giving users a fast, cheap and efficient way of accessing space, mirroring the development of the IT industry. If you remember the history from the 1960s, there were one or two big companies offering mainframes which were so expensive you couldn’t even buy them, you could only lease them from IBM. It would cost you a lot of money per month just to use the computer, but in the ‘70s and ‘80s, personal minicomputers appeared and offered what businesses needed at a lower cost. Now there is a computer in every pocket. That’s what I want to build in the satellite industry; I want every person on earth to have their own personalised virtual satellite. 

It won’t happen immediately, we’re going to start with a b2b model. There is a company that has a few houses for rent and they want the satellite specifically tailored to track the state of the roofs with their own data feed. That type of customised mission is what we are trying to enable on our platform. We’re building a pipeline for these missions through software apps that you can use to deploy directly on the satellites. Earth observation satellites can be used in this manner, tailored to your specific, customised, local application. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to make it affordable for small or medium businesses around the world. That’s our vision. 

To learn more about the work that Dennis and Exodus Orbital are doing, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Managing Cyber Security Within the Industry

Growing companies often face cyber security challenges as they manage teams that are scattered across the world. On The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we were joined by Ivan Milenkovic to discuss how companies can manage those challenges, even inside the industry. With over 20 years of expertise in information security, Ivan is currently a Group CISO at WebHelp, where he’s managed a large security team that doubled in size to over 140,000 people. He’s a security evangelist and a huge advocate of addressing cultural and leadership factors rather than relying solely on technology to protect your teams. 

What were the security challenges involved in scaling so fast at WebHelp, and how did you overcome those?

When I joined three years ago, WebHelp was just shy of 58,000 people. Throughout COVID we started growing to address the way that our clients worked, and what was happening to the sector at the time. We are very aggressive when it comes to acquisitions and expanding into new markets, and that brings some very interesting challenges. We’re a very large global company. That’s how our clients see us, and they expect a certain level of quality across the board, regardless of where their services come from. 

We effectively needed to bring everybody up to speed and bought-in to our culture. I’m a big believer that people are a very important part of the picture when it comes to security. That’s why it’s very important to get everybody on board to recognise certain values that must be respected. The challenge is to get people on this journey, and for them to understand that when it comes to security, it’s not just that you’re trying to enforce boundaries, it’s actually about supporting the qualities. You need to be able to lead and take people on that journey, rather than providing rigid boundaries that they don’t understand.

How do you balance managing a large security team with meeting the demands of internal stakeholders?

WebHelp is split into what we refer to as regions. They’re not necessarily geographic regions, but logical parts of the business that operate as semi-dependent companies tied together at a group level. Because of how everything came together, we’re talking about various teams spread around the world. InfoSec is a very large team, so you have all the daily challenges when it comes to the InfoSec itself. Because it is a rather big team, not everybody is my direct report. Whenever you work with people though, you need to respect their different needs and requirements, and understand what’s going on. We’re blessed with the quality and enthusiasm of people that are part of the team, which helps a lot. Most of my time is actually spent dealing with senior stakeholders from the business rather than my team. It’s been important to make sure that my people are bought-in enough to carry on without much management. 

You’re a really passionate advocate of the idea that technology alone can’t solve security problems, so the leadership aspects of cybersecurity are key. Why is that? 

It boils down to two things. One is that culture we touched on, because when people understand why certain things need to be done in a certain way, that’s half the job done. If you have people that are trying their best, that are not scared to report problems, that are educated well enough to understand, appreciate and communicate when something goes bad, everything is easier to deal with. 

If you look at what can be done with technology today, you cannot do without it. We live in a really technological era where there is too much going on, so without technology you wouldn’t have the right level of visibility and you wouldn’t be able to react fast enough. People are very creative, sometimes too creative for their own good. It’s not hard to imagine a multitude of scenarios where a very creative person can easily get around even the best piece of technology. So that’s why you must find the right mix. You cannot rely on just your technology. It’s your processes that glue it all together. So, unless you take people with you on that journey, you don’t stand a chance.

To learn more about managing risks within the industry, tune into the full episode of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How AI is Changing Live Streaming 

Since the release of Chat GPT 3, there has been a surge of interest in what AI can do. On Episode 16 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we spoke to Ingo Hofacker, the CEO at movingimage, about how he sees this technology improving our industry. Here’s his take on how data, analytics and AI play a part in live streaming video solutions. 

There are two parts to these solutions. Initially it was more related to analytical AI’s potential for understanding how someone’s posture looks when they’re setting up the camera. The AI was able to provide feedback on ‘Is that a good posture? Is that underpinning your message at a medical level? Is it contradictory to your advice on wellness?’ 

I’m a big believer in this generative AI. I think it’s premature, but I certainly believe that in five years time we will see the applications of it for video. I think we’ll be able to take a boring text, and say, ‘Can you please make a fancy video out of this, with an avatar that looks like me?’ and that will be doable. 

I spoke to an artist last weekend, a sculptor actually, and he admitted that he didn’t see how generative AI could be a competitor to him. I do believe that there are programs out there who can write poems that very few people – if any – can really distinguish from a poem that comes from an actual writer. AI doesn’t have arms yet, so the sculptor might be a little safer, but there are other challenges for creatives. 

AI has capabilities that can be used for a lot of tasks, which from a business perspective makes a lot of sense. We have to keep an eye on it as it evolves. We are not currently running POCs on it, because the generation of videos that it’s currently creating don’t quite match the market, but they’re not far out. They’re not in the distant future.

We’ve got so many exciting things that AI is working on right now, and so are we. We’re preparing ourselves for that next round.

To learn more about how video streaming is changing, tune into Episode 16 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Creating a Career in the NewSpace industry

In the last few years, we’ve seen a big shift away from data processing on the ground, to having a much more advanced computing and processing power in orbit. Some people are saying that we’re entering the era of smart satellites and spacecraft. On Episode 13 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Iulia Marushchak, the Head of Business Development at KP Labs, to discuss that claim. KP Labs are a Polish NewSpace company who aim to accelerate space exploration by advancing autonomous spacecraft operation using artificial intelligence and onboard heating and processing systems. Iulia’s career has given her valuable insights into the changes that onboard processing will bring to the industry, which she shared with us here:

I will take a step back to the start of where this onboard data processing idea is coming from, because the subject has gotten quite popular in the last few years. A lot of people are wondering why this is happening from outside the NewSpace sector. I would start in the Earth Observation sector. The amount of the data that is generated in the Earth Observation sector is tremendous. We have more than 1000 satellites circling the Earth, and there are more and more constellations coming from the commercial sector too. The amount of data that needs to be sent, stored and protected before it comes to the final customer in the form of the application or a service that they’re using is huge. There is a long wait, because this data is coming in raw to the data centres. This data is often very complicated, which is made worse by the very fast development of sensor resolution and frequency. 

One hyperspectral image is about two gigabytes. It would take around seven minutes for the transfer of one picture, which wouldn’t give us much information. The amount of data we receive allows us to extract a lot of necessary data, but the typical length of a communication session is from 5 to 10 minutes. That’s where the speed of data analysis becomes a problem. People started looking for solutions to this problem, and that’s when they figured, why should we send all the images to the earth when we can process them in space?

In addition, when a camera takes a picture, quite often, it takes multiple shots. Some of them are cloudy, some of them have some interference, and it ends up with us having tons of pictures which are not relevant for us. That creates a lot of issues on the ground. In addition, if we talk about the real time services, first you have to segment these pictures, pre process them and extract what you can use. Only then could you create what you need from the images. The idea of processing data onboard the satellite is basically a solution to limit the data that comes from the satellites to the ground. 

For crisis management, this is extremely important. If we have wildfire detection or flood detection systems and things like that, these services can change and save lives. We’re faced with a lot of challenges to make this happen, because you need powerful data processing units on board, and at the site at the same time, there are a lot of new missions coming. Now I think we could say that we have found some solutions to the problem. 

When it comes to onboard data processing, there is also telemetry data. That’s important because it allows us to detect anomalies on board of the satellite and react quickly, taking measures to lower the risk, so that the mission will be successful. For the NewSpace sector that’s quite important because missions are developing fast, and they need solutions that allow them to manage the mission on board. At KP Labs we’re creating an ecosystem of products that would answer both of those needs. We’re building onboard data processing and supporting the operations of the satellite. We call this ecosystem the Smart Mission Ecosystem, and it consists of both smart satellites and smart payloads. 

To learn more about the Satellite & NewSpace industry, tune into our podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.