Sunday, January 03, 2016

A Canadian Space Holiday Story, Complete With Dancing Sugar Plums

          By Glen Strom

Potential partners? Graphics c/o Urthecast & exactEarth.
The holiday season is a good time to speculate because it’s a quiet time for space news. Space writers sometimes fill the void with visions of rocket-powered sugar plums dancing in their heads.

OK, maybe just one space writer.

With that in mind, consider the case of two fast-growing Canadian space companies: UrtheCast, the Vancouver based Earth imaging company; and exactEarth, the Cambridge, Ontario based satellite automatic identification system (AIS) service that tracks ship movements.

Both companies are focused on the ultimate goal: the internet of things (IoT), a world-wide network that connects systems, objects and people by way of satellites. Both companies have made major strides toward this goal in 2015.

As outlined in the November 25th, 2015 post “exactEarth’s Big Bet on The Internet of Things,” exactEarth’s latest move was to acquire a minority stake in Myriota, an Australian IoT technology company. That, and their partnerships with Hisdesat Strategic Services S.A. of Spain, a satellite constellation company, and the communications giant Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Florida, puts exactEarth in a strong position in the IoT field.

Infographic c/o exactEarth.

UrtheCast, as noted on their website, has been widening the market for their space-based cameras by working with TV and news companies to customize content for targeted audiences. Discovery Channel is one of their partners.

UrtheCast has other significant partnerships. RAL Space is a space research and technology development organization and part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Swindon, UK. STFC says their mandate is “helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy.”

Another partner is the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the training arm of the United Nations and an organization with global reach.

UrtheCast CEO Scott Larson,  Interana founder & CEO Anne Johnson and The Gadget Buzz series editor Andy O'Donoghue discussing big data and it's consequences for business in October 2015. Video c/o Web Summit 2016.

Between the two companies, UrtheCast and exactEarth cover a lot of ground in the growing world of IoT. That raises the question, have they talked to each other about it? The only sure answer is they’ve had opportunities, judging by some of the conferences they’ve been to recently.

The Canadian pavilion at IAC 2014. Graphic c/o IAF. 
Both companies were at World Satellite Business Week in Paris, France for the 2014 conference. About 250 top executives in the satellite communications and information business attend this yearly event.

Each company had a display booth at IAC 2014 in Toronto. The booths were side-by-side, separated by about 3 metres—close enough for at least a how-de-do.

They crossed paths again at the C-Sigma VI conference in London, England in December 2015. The event gets industry people together to talk about satellite maritime surveillance.

Just being in the same place proves nothing, but remember, it’s sugar plum week. Let your imagination float along on that candied wave.

What’s the point of all this speculation?

What if the two companies made a strategic alliance with each other? What if UrtheCast and exactEarth combined their abilities to create a strong Canadian effort in the IoT world?

Imagine two of Canada’s fastest growing space companies combining their expertise and their growing international footprint in IoT. That could put Canada in a strong position as a leader in the IoT space.

Glen Strom.
Too bad it’s just idle speculation in a slow news week.

Fa la la la la, la la la la...

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