A key issue facing satellite communications providers is the need to make their services more cost effective through efficient utilisation of bandwidth.
In some business-to-business scenarios many individual multimedia service providers wish to provide access to their own stand-alone services. In these cases, the service providers may have to bear the cost of installation and communications, even though other similar providers already have their own links, but which they are unwilling to share.
To overcome the high costs for each service provider operating its own link, IMPSAT will establish a shared broadband satellite access platform which can be installed in a range of different business premises and provide basic connectivity and network management services to many different applications. The cost of installation and utilisation of the broadband link is then effectively shared amongst a number of service providers, according to their level of utilisation.
In addition, we have recently been witnessing the increasing adoption of Wireless LANs. IMPSAT will integrate WLAN technology with the satellite delivery system, thereby extending the reach of satellite at the remote site and making new applications possible.
The primary application of IMPSAT will be in retail and entertainment outlets where many different broadband services such as audio and video data delivery are required. The concept can easily be extended to other locations such as cafes and bars where public wireless Internet access services could be added to the application portfolio.
Avanti has brought together a consortium of well-known companies that are keen to benefit from the system and which will take part in an extensive trial of the system.
- Integration of satellite and WLAN technology
The benefits are:
- More cost effective use satellite services;
- Encouraging the deployment of new broadband services;
- Increased uptake of DVB-S satellite services;
Demonstration of the advantages of satellite over existing terrestrial systems.
The architecture of the system to be developed in shown in the diagram below. It comprises two core components:
- the IMPSAT Hub which is used by application owners to deliver data to their remote machines;
the In-store Multimedia Platform (IMP) which provides satellite reception and forwarding of data to the client machines.
The IMPSAT project will culminate in a full trial of the system, once the basic design and development activities have been completed. The project will involve the following work packages:
- IMPSAT Requirements: the objective of this WP Series is to formalise and consolidate the requirements on the IMPSAT platform from end users and content provider;
- Business Planning: this WP Series will define the legal and commercial framework for the distribution of multimedia material via IMPSAT services;
- IMPSAT Architecture: this WP Series will expand on the level of detail within the Pilot Architecture document facilitating implementation of the IMPSAT infrastructure;
- IMPSAT Development: the implementation of the IMPSAT system, using the maximum level of existing software tools and packages to quickly develop a demonstrable service will take place in this work package;
- IMPSAT Integration & Test: the objective of this WP Series is to successfully integrate the pilot system to ensure that an adequate level and quality of service can be achieved for the end users;
- Pilot Trials: this WP Series aims to continuously run a reliable service for the duration of the pilot demonstration to answer the key questions regarding business concepts;
Evaluation and Planning: the objective of this WP Series is to evaluate the technical, operational and commercial aspects of the pilot demonstration and plan the roll-out of the commercial service.
- The User Requirements have been gathered;
- The Pilot Architecture has been done;
- The Baseline Design review has been passed;
- The Development has been completed;
- Integration with a music play-out system, an internet access system, an in-store TV system and a games delivery network has been done;
- The Mid Term Review has taken place;
- Trial sites (15) have been installed with background music and/or in-store TV systems;
- Initial reaction from the end user has been very positive and has resulted in the commercial launch of a music video service called MVN (Music Video Network);
- The MVN service has been rolled-out to more than 50 sites across the UK with more sites planned in the near future;
- An interactive quiz game has been prepared and tested using the IMPSAT broadcast video infrastructure, with an SMS return channel;
- Production of high quality content for a commercial quiz has been completed ready for a launch within the next few weeks;
- The project has now finished.