Sunday, February 14, 2016

Newborn exactEarth Faces its First Battle for the Worm

          By Glen Strom

Not unlike a newborn baby bird, exactEarth Ltd. of Cambridge, Ontario has to fight a nest-mate for a worm even before the company’s new-bird smell wears off.

exactEarth Ltd. (XCT) CEO Peter Mabson (center, at the podium) joined Rob Peterman, the director of global business development for the Toronto Stock Exchange and quite a number of others, to open the TSX on February 11th. The company was first listed on the TSX only two days earlier, on February 9th. Photo c/o CNW Group/TMX Group Limited.

The week before, exactEarth officially became a stand-alone company. They were spun off when parent company COM DEV International Ltd. was sold to US-based Honeywell International, as outlined in the January 24th, 2016 post, “Did the Government Let COM DEV Go Because They Have Bigger Fish to Fry?” In their first test as a separate company, exactEarth is looking to keep a Canadian government contract, set to expire this March, away from a foreign competitor.

As outlined in a February 12, 2016 SpaceNews article, “Orbcomm, exactEarth compete for key Canadian satellite-AIS contract,” exactEarth currently provides maritime surveillance data to the Canadian government. Their competitor for the contract is Orbcomm Inc. of Rochelle Park, New Jersey.

Orbcomm would say the competition is local, not foreign, because the official bidder is Skywave Mobile Communications of Ottawa. Seeing as how Orbcomm bought Skyway in January 2015, as outlined on the January 5th, Business Wire press release, "ORBCOMM Completes Acquisition of SkyWave," it’s not unreasonable to say that only one of the battling birdies is Canadian.

Peter Mabson, president of exactEarth, says in the article that they are optimistic about winning the new contract.

The current contract is worth $19Mln CDN, with $7.5Mln CDN of that for selling data to foreign governments. Mr. Mabson said even if they don’t get the new contract, nothing is stopping them from providing data to those foreign governments anyway (It’s always good to have a backup worm in case the first one gets grabbed by a pushy foreign bird).

We’ll soon find out how exactEarth’s first solo flight goes. If you hear a splat, just help the little guy up and point him seaward. He’ll be fine.

"We have a competitor, but here's the difference," said exactEarth president and CEO Peter Mabson during a February 11th, 2016 BNN interview. Screen shot c/o BNN.

As a side note, Mr. Mabson did a February 11th, 2016 video interview on Bell Media’s Business News Network (BNN), “exactEarth: Tracking the world's shipping.” He gave an interesting demonstration of how to avoid an unpleasant question.

Mr. Mabson, who seemingly had excellent hearing throughout most of the interview, appeared to go momentarily deaf when asked who exactEarth’s competitors were. The interviewer repeated the question.

This time Mr. Mabson heard the question but appeared to have a momentary memory lapse. After all, he’s a busy man and can’t be expected to remember everyone. He simply referred to that company as one from “south of the border” and resumed talking about his company.

In case Mr. Mabson reads this, the name of that company you couldn’t remember from south of the border is the aforementioned Orbcomm. They do stuff with satellites. And they like boats.

That’s Orbcomm with two m’s. Yes, those companies south of the border can be excessive. A good Canadian company would use a single m.

At least exactEarth spells their name sensibly. A good Canadian company wouldn’t have a weird spelling for “earth.”
Glen Strom.

Oh...never mind.

Who says the Canadian space biz can’t be fun? Cheep, cheep.

Glen Strom is a freelance writer and editor with a background in business and technical writing. Follow him on Twitter @stromspace for the latest on Canadian space stories.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page