A new beginning for collaboration


Following the success of the Inmarsat Developer Conference, Rupert Peace looks ahead to how opening up our technology models will change the way data applications are being utilised.

Open-technology models have forever changed the way tech and data applications are utilised. At Inmarsat, we are starting to see the same innovation. The 2015 Inmarsat Developer Conference (IDC) has enabled us to set the scene and lay out both our new approach to collaborative technology development and the exciting opportunities for us all in the years ahead.

Inmarsat has always been about collaboration. But if we are to make the most of the significant opportunities emerging in the next few years, we have to take collaboration to the next level. This is not just a technology shift; it is a commercial one too, which will benefit us, and the developer community.

At Inmarsat, we see three clear global trends:

  • A dramatic increase in mobile device and sensor penetration, with more than 10 billion mobile devices of some kind already in existence[1].
  • These devices are being served by an extraordinary proliferation of solutions, services and capabilities, increasingly hosted remotely, often in the cloud.
  • And both devices and applications are being supported by huge growth in mobile data traffic: indeed Cisco predicts more than 60% CAGR in global mobile data traffic over the next five years alone.

Taken together, these three trends are utterly changing the way we live our lives, conduct our business, defend our borders and provide our public services. Our world is becoming untethered, ‘playing fields’ are being levelled and distances are being shrunk. It is nothing less than a global cultural, business and socio-economic revolution.

Despite being the global leader in mobile satellite services for more than 35 years, we have never seen trends like this before. They affect us profoundly in two ways – both of them enormously exciting.

Firstly, we are finding that the traditional communities are jumping on the mobile broadband bandwagon. The 100,000 maritime vessels we serve are becoming floating nodes on corporate networks, the 2.5 million crew members on those ships becoming connected with satellite broadband for the first time. The more than 20,000 commercial aircraft that fly over our heads every day are embracing a new era of safety and greener operations via satellite broadband connectivity and the hundreds of millions of passengers who fly on them each year are demanding to be connected.

On land, the internet of everything is demanding to become the internet of everywhere, and the energy, resources, media, aid, transport and logistics sectors that we have served for many years are increasingly embracing richer, greener and more efficient working practices via broadband connectivity. Government users are at the forefront of all these trends, requiring highly reliable and secure ubiquitous global connectivity wherever they may go, not just for their strategic and tactical activities, but also for the morale, welfare and recreation of their young personnel.

The second trend is just as significant. The worlds of terrestrial and satellite broadband are coming together in exciting and novel combinations, playing to each other’s respective strengths. If we are to rely on accessing mission-critical applications in the cloud on the move, then we demand a solution to the ‘not-spot’ and the edge of terrestrial network coverage. We also need our services to provide utmost reliability and resilience across all environments.  In that world, satellite services for the first time can offer a powerful complementary capability, delivering seamless global coverage.

We are responding to these needs but we know that we can’t succeed on our own. Fundamentally, success is all about collaboration.

This Inmarsat Developer Conference 2015 represented a new beginning for Inmarsat and our partners. By bringing together a huge array of talent from around the world, recognising together what an incredible commercial opportunity we have in front of us, we are being strengthened by the power of collaboration and cooperation. What an exciting journey this is going to be.


About the author

Rupert Pearce was Inmarsat’s Chief Executive Officer from January 2012 until February 2021. Rupert joined Inmarsat in January 2005 as Group General Counsel and, from January 2009, additionally held the position of Senior Vice President, Inmarsat Enterprises. Previously, Rupert worked for Atlas Venture, where he was a partner working with the firm’s European and US investment teams. He was previously also a partner at the international law firm Linklaters, where he spent 13 years specialising in corporate finance, M&A and private equity transactions. Rupert received an MA (First Class) in Modern History from Oxford University and won the 1995 Fullbright Fellowship in US securities law, studying at the Georgetown Law Center. He has been a visiting fellow of the Imperial College Business School, London, lecturing on the school’s Entrepreneurship programme, and is the co-author of Raising Venture Capital (Wiley).