Reliable connectivity is critical in any business including the Oil & Gas industry, where crew safety and millions of dollars are at stake every day. SkyVision’s Oil & Gas Director, JEAN DANIEL TRAGUS speaks with IT Edge News, MARTIN EKPEKE, on why the global IP telecommunication service provider via satellite in emerging markets is doing business in the sector. TRAGUS also speaks on the Frost & Sullivan award, the recently signed 5-year corporate voice and data services contract with SAPETRO and other solutions designed for Nigeria’s telecom, mining, NGO and financial sectors.
How will you describe SkyVision’s activities in Africa in 2013, what other areas of the ICT sector do you hope to exploit in 2014?
During 2013, SkyVision was focused on further expanding our vertical market focus that included the telecom, oil and gas, mining, NGO and financial sectors. Much of our efforts involved launching solutions that were suited to meet the unique needs of large corporate customers. We also placed tremendous importance on customizing our solutions for our corporate customers’ applications.
We implemented several important and challenging projects throughout Africa in 2013, coupled with our ongoing activities and increased presence in Nigeria in particular. We understood that expansion in Africa had to be an integral part of our strategic plan to grow within the enterprise market. What became apparent was fueled by our geographic expansion into the US and Europe. This now enables us to offer SkyVision solutions to US and EU-based companies who require connectivity between HQ and branch offices across Africa and/or between offices scattered in remote locations.
With the rapid development of the ICT in Africa, there has been an increasing demand for efficient connectivity solutions. In many urban areas, fiber or wireless connectivity solutions exist, however, often, the quality and terrestrial infrastructure are not sufficient for business customers who simply cannot afford network access outages. Although the hybrid satellite-cable approach has not been utilized enough to expand internet and ICT penetration to many regions in Africa, a combination of satellite and fiber-based solutions will bring more wealth to the African people.
SkyVision is committed to strengthen and expand its business in Nigeria and other African nations, so that we may create and sustain value for our customers and help them grow their business year after year. 2014 has ushered in an overwhelming need for improved ICT solutions and services to a large customer base. For these customers, SkyVision proposes several satellite-based solutions, specially provisioned to support inter-branch connectivity and various corporate applications. We foresee much of 2014 concentrated on developing and enhancing these and other solutions and services for a fast-growing user community in Africa.
The Nigerian Oil & Gas industry is huge, what exactly is SkyVision offering the sector in terms of technology applications?
SkyVision solutions for Nigeria’s Oil and Gas industry address comprehensive remote offshore and onshore operations. In a market sector where reliable connectivity is critical, and where crew safety and millions of dollars are at stake every day, there is no room for error or delayed decision-making. Our dedicated oil and gas applications cover the full range of communications needs, including enhanced crew welfare (data, voice and video), real-time upload of drilling data, on demand bandwidth for video conferencing, ROV video and telemedicine and hubless meshed connectivity.
Managed from its international gateways in Africa, Europe, the US and the Middle East, and local hubs and multiple POPs, SkyVision’s global MPLS network connects its customers to the Internet or to their private backbone. We boast over 10 global satellites, with 2 dedicated (Points of Presence) PoPs in Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja). C-Band and Ku-Band VSAT network solutions draw on SkyVision’s extensive space segment inventory from leading satellite providers and its capacity is carefully tailored to customers’ individual needs for optimal cost-effectiveness.
Nigeria’s oil and gas industry profit from SkyVision’s comprehensive range of managed services, available as end-to-end solutions or standalone services. These include communications via satellite or a global MPLS network, secured, or via Internet with a choice of connectivity platforms: satellite or hybrid networks, WLAN, microwave, VHF/UHF and fiber optics. Our business operations solutions tailored to the oil and gas industry include Intranet and Internet, voice lines/managed PBX, video conferencing, SCADA, and streaming video. Our solutions are further complemented by crucial, much-needed crew communications such as scratch cards for voice calls and Internet, telemedicine, video-on-demand, WLAN hotspots, and online gaming.
One such customer, SAPETRO (South Atlantic Petroleum), one of Nigeria’s major oil and gas upstream companies with new operations in Benin, has recently installed a full suite of SkyVision connectivity solutions in Benin. The 5-year contract consists of an end-to-end voice and data managed solution, based on multiple technologies, integration and professional services, creating unique value to customer operations. The project includes mesh VSAT and wireless point to multipoint connections for Sapetro’s offices and operational sites, mobile terrestrial units and vessels, coupled with the integration of SkyVision services, including voice and telephony over IP, two-way radios, mobile satellite phones, managed firewall and WiFi.
Tell us more about the Frost & Sullivan award SkyVision has recently received.
For well over a decade, we have focused our efforts on becoming the corporate communications ‘solution of choice’ in Africa with tremendous emphasis on the oil and gas industry. We take great pride in having recently been presented with the prestigious 2014 Frost & Sullivan Award for Oil and Gas Vertical Market Penetration Leadership.
The F&S award is presented annually to a company that has demonstrated excellence in capturing the fastest measured rate of change in market share for a specific vertical market. SkyVision won the award based on our insight and understanding of Africa’s oil and gas industry and its unique challenges. Our solutions were recognized for their multiple benefits, including the ensured effective business communications between onshore and offshore teams, optimized business productivity, guaranteed bandwidth necessary for real time applications, support for mission-critical business applications and the enhanced crew welfare due to the provision of reliable satellite connectivity for high-speed voice, video and data applications.
With Nigeria as our prime focus, and the oil and gas industry as a strategic market sector, our solutions will continue to help African corporates develop their own ICT capabilities, and increase productivity and profitability. Indeed, we are taking a lead role in one of the region’s most exciting and fast-paced markets. This important award is a great milestone, well rooted in our commitment to this market. We are proud and privileged to join the F&S global community of prestigious companies in support of a better, stronger Africa.
SkyVision has launched many new solutions suited to the corporate market, specify what VAS you offer and suitable for the Nigerian market?
SkyVision offers customized corporate services tailored to a wide Nigerian customer base. These dedicated (Value Added Services) VAS are designed for Nigeria’s telecom, oil and gas, mining, NGO and financial sectors. We are confident that during 2014 and beyond, we will continue to expand our offering to these and other markets by way of system integration and other VAS turn-key solutions to leverage our core business.
SkyVision’s range of VAS supports corporate networks, fiber solutions, and internet links. These include a SkyVision-managed firewall to improve productivity, network protection and link utilization; mobile satellite services to deliver connectivity at sea, on land, or in flight, where standard telecommunications methods are unavailable; and voice services, business-grade, VoIP-based, international calling services, and dedicated critical crew welfare solutions – scratch cards for voice calls/internet, telemedicine, video on demand, WLAN hotspots, and online gaming.
In an effort to help our customers build and maintain their businesses, we offer a range of Cloud Storage Services, providing customers with dynamic and scalable storage space. Users can add as much or as little data as desired without the worry of overbuying, underutilizing or depleting their storage space. Further, our dedicated Cloud Storage enables users to pay for space they actually use and enjoy the benefits of reliable, highly secure online file storage.
SkyVision provides the widest selection of Mobile Satellite Services available today, based on the leading satellite platforms of Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya. Customers in Nigeria benefit from voice and high-speed data services to communicate to and from areas with no terrestrial network coverage. Our services continue to deliver strong and reliable voice communications, connecting corporate headquarters, branch offices, and remote staff.
African businesses have always been and continue to be an integral part of our customer base. With Nigeria at the core, and as we grow our business in the region, we continue to partner with our customers to better understand their needs. We work together with our Nigerian partners towards building stronger, more efficient and reliable communications solutions. We believe that one of our key advantages is our ability to provide comprehensive, cutting-edge solutions to our corporate customers, particularly those who need to connect multiple locations in multiple countries throughout Africa and other countries.