The idea of CampNet was to serve the user group of the caravan and especially the motor caravan users with a new triple play service via satellite. The upcoming Newtec Sat3Play technology turned out to be the ideal vehicle for such service.
For IPcopter the core motivation for the project and the subsequent service have been:
- Unserved market requirement.
- End user base familiar with satellite communication and open to spend siginificant amounts for satcom technology, e.g. automatic pointing systems.
- Growing market as shown by demographic development.
- Excellent competitive position of satellite communication at nomadic services: The less infrastructure the more attractive are locations for campers.
- Very limited competition by fixed terrestrial networks
More than 2 years after project start the service and the corresponding technology are already introduced in the market, which could not have happened without this project. Several hundred motor homes are already equipped with a CampNet like Triple Play.
- Low cost autopointing terminal
- Competitive transmission rates
- Tariff schemes tailored to Campers needs
- Simple operation
- Service to end users
The competitive analysis with GPRS, UMTS and WiFi Hotspots shows clear advantages of the CampNet solution:
- The coverage is ideal for the campers, who usually like to be fully independent of any infrastructure.
- The price difference to a TVRO system is acceptable for a major part of the motor caravan users.
- The performance is better than UMTS and similar with a WiFi Hotspot.
- The service pricing of about 3 € per usage day is far below the price for other mobile broadband access services, especially at international use.
- The system installation is similar as the installation of a TVRO system.
- The operation proved to be plug and play.
Those benefits convinced the company Alden, one of the European leaders for satcom systems for campers, to cooperate with IPcopter, productize the systems and perform strong marketing activities.
Some of the manufacturers of autopointing TV platforms and competitors of Alden are preparing systems similar to the Alden @ Mondo. One of them is supplied by Alden with iLNB and ABX and uses the IPcopter network. One of them, who missed core technical developments, recommends Alden as the only straightforward Internet system for campers.
The following key features describe the unique selling points of the CampNet based services and terminals tailored to the needs of caravan users:
- Low cost terminals based on autopointing TVRO systems,
- Plug and Play operation,
- Real Triple Play: TV, bidirectional Broadband Internet Access, VoIP Communication,
- Homogeneous coverage of European vacation areas,
- High service quality at competitive rates tailored to the needs of caravan users,
- The additional cost compared to a TVRO system are reasonable,
- The motor home becomes really a “home” with all communication means. No need to look for an internet café,
- The internet access is independent of terrestrial infrastructure like UMTS coverage. Even at very remote locations Internet access is possible. Those locations are the most popular ones for motor caravan users,
- Ku- Ku-Band System allows use of wide range of Ku-Band based space segments,
- Plug and Play: The motor caravan user at first switches on the automatic Sat antenna by pushing a single button. With that he is already connected to the internet or has TV reception,
- The tariff model is tailored for the occasional use of campers: The camper buys packages of usage days. A usage day is a calendar day, on which the user goes into the internet,
- Initial use: Initial internet access after installation is provided without preconditions: The terminal is delivered with an initial package of 50 usage days. Within those 50 usage days the end user has to register his station at http://alden.ipcopter.com,
- European wide service network: Alden as one of the European market leaders in Campng car electronics has an European wide dealer and service network.
The project is subdivided into two phases according to the following project plan:
|BDR Baseline Design Review||14th December 2005|
|Final Review Phase1||29th-30th June 2006|
|PQR Pilot Qualification Review||June 2007|
|SDA System Deployment Acceptance||November 2007, 2nd step December 2007|
|Pilot||December 2007 to May 2008|
|FR Final Review||May 19th 2008|
The project has successfully been finalized on May, 19th . The pilot service with more than 30 commercial users lasted about 6 months. Joanneum Research did an extensive user evaluation. For that an online survey has been developed and executed within the project. The result of the survey is summarized in the following:
Although it is not possible to generalize the results of the survey it can be said that the group of test persons was quite satisfied with the Alden@Mondo system. The section about the general impression confirms this completely with minor exceptions.
The failures reported during the usage can mostly be considered as within the tolerance when using a sophisticated electronic device. But even in failure cases the overall quality has been approved by the pilot users. The user manual is generally also approved by the pilot users though there are single suggestions from the users that should be considered in future versions of the manual.
Since end of 2007 the product is marketed commercially. Several hundred terminals are already in the field. Sales and marketing of the terminals is performed by Alden, www.alden.fr. Meanwhile the system is in the catalogue of most of the camping equipment wholesalers, e.g. Movera.
Comment of a customer: You have an excellent product.