Shipping companies will be able to access cloud-based solutions for fleet management worldwide following investments by Microsoft and SE.
SES has become Microsoft’s new multi-orbit satellite connectivity partner as part of the Azure Orbital drive. Both companies will jointly invest in Azure Orbital ground stations that SES will deploy and manage to support its medium Earth orbit (MEO) O2b Power constellation.
The first gateways will be located in Phoenix, Arizona US, and Quincy, in Western Australia.
SES and Microsoft plan to co-locate several telemetry, tracking and command systems, and data ground stations with Microsoft’s Azure edge sites enabling maritime users of O3b Power connectivity to access Azure networks and cloud services within satellite coverage over the world’s oceans.
SES said this would improve the network performance, security, flexibility and scalability users would need to capitalise on new revenue opportunities.
“Our launch of Azure Orbital will enable our partners’ customers to on-ramp their data into Azure where it can immediately be processed with data analytics, geospatial tools and machine learning services, adding another layer of automation and intelligence in their networks,” said Microsoft manager of Azure networking and the partner programme Jeff Cohen. “SES’s O3b mPower communications system aligns with our connectivity vision for the future.”
SES expects to begin launching O3b mPower satellites in 2021. This constellation will have higher throughput and lower latency than geostationary satellites and its own existing MEO units.
It will have automated and intelligence-powered ground infrastructure to deliver managed services of hundreds of Mbps up to multiple Gbps to users, which currently include cruise ships, naval fleets and offshore installations.
Both Microsoft and SES have worked to introduce services to Azure with SES implementing an open network automation platform using technology hosted on Azure.
“In the last 12-18 months, our focus has been to accelerate our customers’ cloud adoption plans,” said SES Networks chief executive JP Hemingway.
“This agreement leverages both companies’ knowledge in satellite infrastructure and cloud expertise. These are building blocks in developing new and innovative solutions for the future,” he said.
“One-hop connectivity to the cloud from remote sites will enable our MEO customers to enhance their cloud application performance, optimise business operations with much flexibility and agility needed to expand new markets,” Mr Hemingway added.