2021… A Year of Progress

This year, and most of 2020, were hardly typical for GVF. Just as everywhere and for everyone, the nature of many of the association’s activities were limited and restricted by the impact of pandemic but, like all other organisations, the association adapted as necessary. This overview focuses upon GVF activities during the last year.

Regulatory Advocacy

Throughout GVF’s twenty-four year history, GVF has been the sole global trade association advocating on behalf of the communications satellite industry before the ITU, regional regulatory bodies such as CITEL, and national regulators. The past year has seen no change in GVF’s primary mission as it has submitted comments on behalf of the industry in response to national consultations throughout the world; made presentations at regulatory conferences convened by the ITU, CITEL, and private organisations; and repeatedly advocated on behalf of the industry via informal discussions with multiple regulators. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how GVF advocates in a world where meetings are almost entirely virtual, the pandemic has not diminished the volume nor effectiveness of GVF’s regulatory advocacy on behalf of the industry.

Webinar Series

Perhaps the greatest consequence of the pandemic upon GVF’s work has been the establishment of the GVF Webinar Series, produced in association with the Satellite Evolution Group. The Series has comprised a blend of (a) editorially directed industry theme-focused Webinars, and (b) sponsored analyses of industry company services and technologies under our ‘Roundtable’ or ‘Spotlight’ branding which have the added benefit of strengthening GVF’s ability to provide services to GVF members. To date, the GVF-SEG partnership has produced almost 40 events, with a total aggregate audience in excess of 17,000 located across more than 155 countries. Importantly, the webinars provide a large and diverse audience for panellists from GVF’s membership to highlight their company’s products and services at a time when face-to-face opportunities were limited due to the pandemic.

Regulatory Meetings

The widespread use of such platforms as Zoom has, of course, allowed GVF to represent the industry in virtual regulatory meetings. A recent 2021 example is the Secretary General’s participation in the ITU 22nd International Space Radio Monitoring Meeting in which he presented on interference issues in the GSO environment. This event, within the context of pandemic travel limitations, temporarily replaced GVF’s various work with the ITU Radiocommunications Bureau (for example, the GVF seminar for regulators presented during the December 2018 World Radiocommunication Summit), and its support for the ITU Development Bureau. Similarly, GVF’s Secretary General has participated in CITEL’s PCC.II meetings held during 2021 where he repeatedly advocated for the industry on matters such as ESIMs and 28 GHz.

Industry Conferences

The opening-up of international travel and the re-appearance on the calendar of in-person events in the latter half of 2021 has provided the opportunity to return to pre-pandemic work patterns. GVF was present as an exhibitor at the SATELLITE 2021 show and organised two panel sessions for the conference programme at National Harbor. Similarly, GVF exhibited in Dubai at CABSAT 2021 as well as organised and ran Day 2 of the SatExpo Summit, facilitating a mix of presentation and moderated panel sessions to which GVF members and strategic partners contributed. GVF’s Secretary General is also scheduled to moderate an in-person panel at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week conference.

Terminal Type Approvals

GVF’s work in the field of terminal type approvals: Mutual Recognition Arrangement and Product Quality Assurance has continued through our work for the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme where GVF serves as a subcontractor to QuadSAT. Following on from work in earlier years under ARTES with Fraunhofer IIS (focused on Communications-on-the-Move motion profiling analyses for land- and maritime-based terminals), the project relates to the development of a new antenna testing technology and associated protocols based on the use of drones rather than traditional far-field test ranges and test laboratories.

Improved Training

GVF Training continues as the industry’s premier in-person and online training tool offering over thirty courses which have been taken by over 17,000 students and over a dozen certifications which has the added benefit of enabling GVF to provide additional services to Members. In 2021 the most popular courses were migrated to a new platform (HTML) offering students a better learning experience.

Growing Membership

GVF has geographically and sectorally broadened its membership in 2020 and 2021 with the addition of numerous new members such as Amazon, Avealto, C-Com, Comtech, CPI, Global Invacom, Omnispace, NiAT, Sat-Lite Technologies, Spacebridge, TECHfirm Canarias, Ultisat and others. These and other new members enhance GVF’s status as the sole global trade association for the satellite industry with members representing the entire ecosystem from all continents of the world (except Antarctica).

Member Promotion & Benefits

GVF’s industry advocacy and membership promotions continues through the GVF website and semi-monthly GVF ‘eBulletin’. Examples of member benefits include the industry calendar of events and negotiation of member registration discounts for online and in-person events, and discounts for third party consulting/market analysis publications. A recently created member benefit is the first working group devoted to marketing and promoting the industry’s technological advances to stakeholders from government, business, and general public.

Thought Leadership

GVF continues its industry thought leadership initiatives through third party publications focused on the satellite industry, for example, articles in such online and print periodicals as ‘Satellite Markets & Research’ and ‘Satellite Evolution’. In addition,GVF provided a chapter on the theme of ‘Small Satellites & Innovations in Terminal & Teleport Design, Deployment & Operation’ for the latest edition of the ‘Handbook of Small Satellites’, published by Springer and edited by Dr Joseph Pelton, Dean Emeritus of the International Space University and Member of the Executive Board of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety.
These thought leadership initiatives are not limited to satellite industry publications, but extend to the commercially important wireless environment, for example, ‘Northern African Wireless Communications’, and ‘Southern African Wireless Communications’. Additionally, the ‘African Wireless Communications Yearbook 2021’ will feature a GVF-authored introductory chapter to its satellite section.

Onwards And Upwards

The pandemic has challenged GVF as it has challenged GVF’s global and diverse membership. GVF has responded by developing its highly successful Webinar Series, growing non-dues revenues to enable GVF to deepen its services to Members, and finding numerous virtual opportunities to promote member products and services. GVF continues its traditional activities of advocating on behalf of the industry by participating in regulatory conferences and national consultations, enhancing service provision and quality via GVF Training, and providing thought leadership via numerous publications. Finally, GVF has enhanced its standing as the sole global trade association by adding numerous new members from the entire satellite ecosystem.

As we close 2021, we look forward to providing support to our industry as the world’s only global trade association representing the entire satellite ecosystem. 2022 will mark GVF’s 25th anniversary and it promises to be a year in which the industry will launch new products, services, and capabilities that will bring greater connectivity to all. GVF is privileged that it can serve as the global voice for the industry.

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