Keeping the World Connected

C-COM Satellite Systems

C-COM Satellite Systems has been keeping the world connected since 1997. “I started this business 17 years ago because I believed that, just like radio, internet would be prevalent in cars one day,” recalls Founder and President Leslie Klein, Ph.D., P.Eng. “And it turned out to be a good guess.”

Basing a new business venture around this prediction was quite risky at the time, however. “It was a longshot,” Dr. Klein admits. “But I did believe that the internet would revolutionize the way that people would communicate.”

Dr. Klein’s hunch was correct of course, and C-COM has been transforming the way we communicate ever since. The Ottawa based business is a front-runner in the development and deployment of commercial grade, mobile satellite-based technology for the delivery of two-way high-speed internet, VoIP and video services into vehicles and transportable structures. The company is also a service provider of reliable 2-way fixed broadband satellite internet services.

C-COM successfully developed the iNetVu®, a unique, proprietary mobile auto-deploying antenna that allows the delivery of high-speed satellite based internet services into vehicles – no matter where they are located. The iNetVu® Mobile antennas are easily transportable, and can even be checked onto an airplane. The leading edge technology has allowed C-COM to bring a complete, cost effective internet access solution for a wide range of applications to virtually anywhere on the planet. This includes everything from simple email retrieval to SNG (Satellite News Gathering), Voice over Internet, Cellular Backhaul and database sharing.

Business in Focus highlighted the company’s iNetVu Mobile satellite antenna system in November 2012 and since then, there have been a number of exciting developments. “We are constantly working on new technologies,” Dr. Klein shares. Most notably, the company has recently introduced a new series of NetVu® Ka-band antenna systems. The C-COM team has developed around ten new antennae products for the Ka-band market over the past year.

Ka-band technology represents a substantial shift in the satellite market, and the NetVu® Ka-Band antennas keep C-COM at the forefront of the industry. “Ka-band is the new satellite service that is being rolled out around the world,” Dr. Klein explains. “It is a very hot commodity… We are developing new products and new technologies to adapt to this new satellite service that is going to revolutionize the way that broadband is delivered over satellite.”

The advantages of the new satellite service – and C-COM’s associated products – are clear. “The [Ka-band] satellites that are being put up are delivering one hundred times more throughput than existing Ku-band satellites,” says Dr. Klein. The airtime also costs significantly less, while the bandwidth is significantly increased. Furthermore, the antennae equipment is lighter, smaller, and less expensive than comparable Ku-band products. “It is a game changer in many ways.”

The company is also expanding its footprint around the globe. C-COM has just announced a new presence in the Middle East that will enable the company to cover the Middle Eastern and North African market “from the local perspective,” Dr. Klein reports. “There is more and more business coming to us from that region.”

C-COM’s new developments are already paying off financially. “The company has grown almost 17 percent from the year before,” Dr. Klein says. “We have also increased our dividend payment to our shareholders by a quarter percent from the year before. The company has no debt and has had nine consecutive profitable years.”

Dr. Klein believes that much of this success comes from simply providing a superior product. “One of the strategies that we have is [providing] extremely reliable, high quality product at a very reasonable price,” he explains. As a result, industry giants around the globe choose C-COM as their provider. “For example, Halliburton, one of the largest oil and gas exploration companies as well as many others in the oil and gas sector are using our antennas all over the world. The reason for this is simple; the product is one of the most advanced on the market today, is price competitive, extremely reliable, easily field repairable and well supported.

C-COM also stays a step ahead of the competition by maintaining extensive inventory. The company keeps over $3 million worth of product at any given time so that customers don’t have to wait to get the product. “We are able to ship within days when somebody requires equipment, rather than in weeks or months,” Dr. Klein points out. “I don’t think that anybody else in the industry can even come close to that.” Most competitors manufacture products to order, he explains, whereas C-COM pre-orders hundreds of products from its manufacturer, “so we have it when someone needs it and while the sales cycles are long, when a decision is made to purchase, customers want the product yesterday.”

This strategy has paid off, particularly when disasters strike. For example, when the tsunami ripped through Japan in 2011, a slew of cell towers were destroyed. C-COM was able to deliver 340 antennas to a large Japanese cellular operator within a few weeks which enabled them to replace their downed cell towers with our mobile antennas making it possible to start offering their customers cellular services rapidly.

C-COM’s efficient operations have also contributed to the company’s success. C-COM subcontracts all of its manufacturing to other entities, so the team can concentrate on developing and supporting its product. (The company uses a number of local manufacturers located only a few kilometres away, so the team is able to maintain control over the product quality.) As a result, the business is streamlined, lean and well managed, employing just 32 people. “We keep the company small and extremely efficient,” Dr. Klein explains.

The small team is close-knit and committed to C-COM’s vision. “We don’t have a very large staff, but the people who work at C-COM are extremely dedicated,” Dr. Klein points out. “There is almost no turnover in the company. Many of the people who work at C-COM have been here for many years.” This loyalty is increased even more through generous stock options. “They all have a stake in the company,” Dr. Klein explains. “And they all have done very well over the years.” Moreover, the company continues to show promise. “The stock has dramatically risen over the last year. It has more than doubled in price.”

In fact, the entire satellite industry is growing. “Last year there were three launches of Ka-band satellites; this year there will be thirty. People are investing hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, betting on the market.” With billions of dollars at stake, these investors believe that the projected demand is a pretty sure thing. “The industry will be expanding rapidly, and as more bandwidth is needed around the world, the players who are ready now will be in a very good position to capitalize on it,” Dr. Klein explains.

C-COM is one of these players. With resellers located in more than 90 countries around the world, the company is ready to connect more people than ever before. In fact, many of the 90 plus countries to which C-COM sells product currently “have very limited or no connectivity whatsoever,” Dr. Klein points out. The potential to connect all these people is significant. “Even in North America and Europe, where one would assume most people are already connected, we sell a lot of product because there is not enough bandwidth for those who need more than what the terrestrial services can deliver,” Dr. Klein adds. “I think that C-COM will benefit from being in the right market at the right time.”

The team is eager to continue meeting the communication needs of a demanding global market. They are currently working closely with several universities as they try to develop the next generation of ground breaking communications technology. The government is also helping to spur the next great breakthrough. “The Canadian government has been extremely cooperative in supporting us with grants and funding,” Dr. Klein reports.

Indeed, there are a number of exciting, game changing products in the pipeline right now. “We are working on interesting technologies that will expand the reach and capabilities of satellite based broadband connectivity,” shares Dr. Klein. These advancements will be able to provide connectivity to places where these are currently unavailable in a way presently not possible

For more information about C-COM Satellite Systems, please visit http://www.c-comsat.com/

August 17, 2017, 3:48 AM EDT

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