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The #SpaceWatchME IBC 2016 Interviews: Bruno Dupas of Kratos

Kratos is addressing some of the unique management demands of HTS with products such as Monics 200 for spot beam monitoring and Monics Enterprise, which provides map-based view of distribute infrastructure and services.
Kratos is addressing some of the unique management demands of HTS with products such as Monics 200 for spot beam monitoring and Monics Enterprise, which provides map-based view of distribute infrastructure and services.

SpaceWatch Middle East conducted a series of interviews during the International Broadcast Convention 2016 in Amsterdam earlier this month. The first of these interviews is with Bruno Dupas, President of Kratos Integral Systems Europe.

Tell us why the Middle East market is so important to Kratos?

The Middle East is one of two areas—along with the Asia/Pacific region—where new activity in the satellite industry is growing the most. That activity is allowing companies in the region to capitalize on many of the new technologies and application areas that have been introduced recently, and it also means they are encountering some new challenges beyond the traditional operating issues faced by satellite operators and their customers. By that I mean issues that come with mobility, increasing interference, and the growing complexity of satellite network/terrestrial network integration and optimization, just to name a few.

At Kratos we specialize in products, services and solutions that assure the availability, reliability, and security of satellite and satellite-enabled missions and communications. We help our customers manage and optimize almost all aspects of the critical processes that occur between the satellite and the end user— from satellite C2, to RF signal management, to network QoS—so that they can achieve the highest levels of revenue return and mission assurance. We work with nearly all commercial satellite operators, as well as network operators and governments across the globe.

Kratos has been directly serving customers in the Middle East since 2004, and serving satellite operators who supply the region for some 30 years. That includes not just commercial companies, but also governmental agencies and frequency regulators who are also very much concerned with these technology trends and challenges that can impact economics and security, particularly in this region of the world. Working with government regulators has become something of a specialty for us in recent years, both because of our integrated approach to solutions and because of our unique strengths in signal analysis, RF spectrum monitoring and interference mitigation technologies, where our Monics and satID products are industry leaders.

What do you see being the biggest opportunities and challenges in the Middle East market?

Given the role we play in the industry, our customers are telling us that managing change in a variety of forms is one of their greatest needs. Given how satellite communications technology is moving so rapidly and with it so much capacity growth driving down bandwidth prices,  commercial operators are going to focus more and more on finding ways to be strategic to their customers, growing their customer base and maximizing margin by finding new solutions to offer their customers. That will mean increasingly taking an integrated, end-to-end approach across the entire service delivery network, both RF and IP segments, and turning increasingly to technologies that enable even higher levels of digital enablement, for example cloud technologies and IF-over-IP. Technologies like these will provide far more flexibility in ground architectures, reducing costs while enhancing quality of service, and allowing them to layer market-specific applications on their connectivity services. And while enhancing revenue isn’t a factor for government agencies, managing costs is, and so is national security and policing their spectrum.

Related to this, the size and complexity of satellite networks are increasing dramatically, to the point that people are having a much harder time managing them, especially in real time. Network security is intimately tied into this as the nature and number of threats continue to grow.

Kratos’ SpectralNet uses IF-over-IP technology to eliminate the distance barrier to RF signal distribution and enable flexible ground architectures for needs such as site diversity.
Kratos’ SpectralNet uses IF-over-IP technology to eliminate the distance barrier to RF signal distribution and enable flexible ground architectures for needs such as site diversity.

What product and/or technology do you provide, or are developing, that you believe will give Kratos a competitive advantage?

I mentioned that RF interference mitigation is one of key technology areas where we continue to research and develop new solutions. Since most interference is unintentional, usually due to factors such as faulty equipment or incorrect positioning, technologies such as automation, signal cancellation, and carrier ID can have a big impact. Of course, the challenge will continue to evolve as the space environment becomes more congested and use of VSAT expands, so we will continue working on advanced solutions. In the case of intentional interference, which has been a challenge in the region, different technologies may be required.

In the area of optimizing management, we are working towards enhancing our products with features that will help our customers manage networks and services for growing application areas such as mobility and everything-over-IP. That includes solutions that can help them collect management data from different systems to learn more about trends and troubleshooting. We are also focused on the unique management challenges presented by High Throughput Satellites (HTS). The HTS multiple spot beam model and the associated flexibility of future software-defined payloads present entirely new challenges that are unlike the traditional management processes, and we are working with our customers to address those needs.

As I mentioned earlier, we are also working on technologies that will provide operators with greater flexibility in their ground station architectures. For example our new SpectralNet product transports RF over IP networks over any distance without loss of quality. It is an enabling technology that will allow far greater freedom in the placement of stations and antennas, as well applications such as virtual ground stations. It also enable seemless site diversity, and allows customers to extend their hub services to new regions. Before SpectralNet, the transport of RF signals was limited to approximately 75 kilometers, severely constraining satellite ground system architecture by requiring teleports and antennas to be in close proximity.

Bruno Dupas, President of Kratos Integral Systems Europe
Bruno Dupas, President of Kratos Integral Systems Europe

What are your company highlights and News at IBC 2016?

Well, I just mentioned SpectralNet. Here at IBC we just announced release 1.2 of SpectralNet which includes an Automated Site Diversity (ASD) enhancement. ASD provides seamless switching between geographically dispersed antennas with no effect on downstream services. This optimizes antenna utilization and minimizes the data loss and impaired service that often happens when a satellite or network operator must switch from one antenna to another, say for a network failure.

In addition, we announced enhancements to our Monics product line, the industry’s leading solution for carrier management and RF Interference monitoring. These included two new solutions— Monics Enterprise, which is designed to give a global view of distributed operations in an increasingly congested space environment; and Monics 200, a new, cost effective monitoring device for multi-beam, HTS monitoring, as well as applications including fly-away environments and instances where only limited monitoring is required, such as remote teleports with a small number of antennas.

Beyond those announcement, we are spending a good bit of time here at the IBC show talking about our integrated solutions for broadcasters supported by our expertise in Antenna/RF systems, interference monitoring, network monitoring and control (M&C) and turnkey solutions from antennas to complete broadcast systems.

SpaceWatch Middle East thanks Bruno Dupas, President of Kratos Integral Systems Europe, for the interview.

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