This project is aimed at providing to ESA a comprehensive understanding and perspective on the developing market for multimedia satellite services, within the context of the broader multimedia industry.
The key issues faced by the project span the range of issues currently facing the multimedia satellite industry - namely, identifying and characterising the user base for multimedia satellite services, assessing the principal problems faced by these users and the solutions which satellite services present to the users. Further key issues are presented to the project team in the form of technology development, and the range of different service alternatives which are presented through terrestrial and mobile systems currently in development or under construction in various territories.
The principal expected benefits of the project lie in providing ESA with a greater clarity and understanding into the state of the satellite multimedia market. These benefits should allow for increased precision in the implementation of the ESA Telecoms Strategic and Implementation Plans, and an improved vision into the development priorities of the future - and the appropriate steps and actions which ESA can undertake in order to boost European competitiveness and capabilities in this area.
The project is structured in four tasks, covering desk research, to executing an interview program, to developing a parametric model to analyse the results, to developing a series of key recommendations. The project plan calls for an iteration of the four tasks over a period of 42 months, during which time the analysis, assessment and recommendations presented in the first iteration of the project will be re-presented.
The first iteration of this plan has just been submitted, with final strategic recommendations having been submitted to ESA.
Of the numerous final recommendations made in this project, several stand out:
European and Canadian Return: Booz Allen has calculated that the European and Canadian return from Multimedia Satellite Services impacts 6,000 skilled, high technology jobs, and generates industry value of over Euro 3bn.
Governmental Policy Initiative Support: Satellites can play an important role in supporting e-Government policy initiatives, particularly in supporting businesses wishing to take advantage of electronic commerce, and in extending broadband into rural classrooms.
Increased EU Share of Global Satellite Business: Continued growth in primary and secondary applications markets will present European industry with the opportunity to increase its share of the global market to around 50%.
However, the extent to which ESA can directly affect the development of the main satellite multimedia markets is limited. Booz Allen research indicates that the most popular applications for the next three years remain browsing, email, and network redundancy, and that the more specialised applications such as collaborative multimedia will continue to address markets with limited growth potential. Nevertheless, Booz Allen highlights several specific issues, which if addressed by ESA, could have a significant impact on the development of multimedia satellite services. These are:
- Supporting the development of low cost CPE for consumer installations - with a target price of Euro 500 per terminal
- Supporting the development of middleware needed to closely mesh satellite capacity in terrestrial networks, especially for latency-sensitive applications
- Encouraging clarity in the customer-focused relationship between network operators and service providers
- Supporting service customisation and enhancing the levels of customer support available across the value chain.
Booz Allen concludes that, although there are signs of strain in this industry reflecting overall demand instability, ESA could have a significant impact through focusing on specific - rather than broad-scale - programs. This is an industry in which a small number of targeted initiatives have every chance of making a significant and lasting impact, to the benefit of the European and Canadian industry, prosperity and employment.