Study on Emerging Markets and Future Applications

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The objective of the study was to identify and characterise upcoming new opportunities for the European and Canadian satellite industry. The study monitored the emergence of new drivers of the evolution of the demand and key enablers for provision of innovative commercial services worldwide.

The analysis was performed from bottom-up perspective, examining the socio-economic trend and scenarios from which economic-technical specifications and requirements could be derived for the satellite industry and subsequent market players.

A major target was to analyse the perspectives offered by existing and upcoming multimedia applications and the supporting communications services. The study focused on services that are either solely based on Satcom technology or that use it as part of an integrated service (including other space-based and terrestrial technologies).


The dimension of technology solutions are envisaged during the analysis of the applications. Especially, IT technology enablers addressing the question of availability of new software or hardware which is fundamental for development of ICT applications (e.g. personal media players, personal visualisation, personal input devices, personal communication, body sensors, 3D screens, virtual presence, user profiling etc.). Also telecom network solutions, be they satellite or terrestrial or even hybrid based, are taken into account.


The findings of the interviews and the two workshops, with sub-meetings, aggregated a concentration of new trends, where scenarios for business and the telecom satellite segments were further extrapolated, developed, and tentatively presented. The interaction between new technology and new services was defined and differentiated. Both have certain impacts on each other despite remaining interdependent.

Throughout the study, emphasis was placed on the design of technology roadmaps, the question of how the satellite industry would react, and when other actors in the satcom value chain would adopt to new requirements operationally and strategically.


The study seeks to, in the course of its analysis, identify and characterise in qualitative and quantitative terms the future applications that represent the most interesting opportunities for the space industry in the outlined business sectors (see Section 1.4) with respect to revenues, profitability, risk and sustainability.

Along with this identification and characterization, the analysis has to tackle with above listed dimensions from different angels (Utilisation environment and circumstances, technology solutions, types of telecommunication and basic services used, differentiation of end user groups, ESA / ARTES application list, geographical differentiation, service integration with other technologies etc).

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The study takes into account the utilisation environment and discuss advanced services and applications that are offered as fixed or mobile, temporary or permanent. Also, the geographical location, which applies to the end user situation, is considered.

Current status

The study is complete and the final presentation took place at ESA headquarters on Feb. 27th, 2009. A very brief overview is offered below.

Our vision of the year 2020 is a more technologically advanced society, and one that adheres to economic laws and psychological realities that have governed the technologic revolutions to date, from industrialization to dot-com.

We anticipate efficiency and green technology to gain prevalence, and expect large connected bases of users to access rich media from mobile devices.

Towards 2020, we envision more of an emphasis on deploying existing solutions and bringing them to mass markets, much like we have seen in recent times but with more features or bundles of features that can be subscribed to, and with the following themes:

  • Energy-efficient components
  • ‘Cleantech‘, ‘greentech‘ positionings
  • Location-based services

What we do not expect in this short time period are

  • Significantly improved anything (at least in Europe) ,
  • Far-fetched innovations like complete convergence of portable products – too complex, too costly, industries too diverse.

In general we do not expect a truly killer application to emerge from the unknown and expect that any high-impact technology is already with us in some form. Our study has shown that timelines for innovation to market are very long, and not getting shorter.

Satellite communication services have significant potential to continue to grow in the next decade. As video based service like HDTV, VOD and interactive TV become increasingly important in the overall multimedia world, satellite-based services are well positioned to profit from this evolution.

In the satellite sector, satellite manufacturing and satellite operations appear to be the most robust. The difficulties of the early 2000s forced consolidation, creating a smaller number of stronger entities. The recession will affect both domains and will see the demise of smaller players and new ventures, particularly up to around 2012.

The study concluded with a detailed look at ESA’s ARTES program in the light of the study findings. The various ARTES programs are essentially modern and well conceived, managing to cover the majority of applications that our study uncovered. Element ARTES 20 strengthens the framework of the ARTES declaration. The integrated and user-needs focus is consistent with our expected pattern of information evolution. We found three integrated areas that could be included in ARTES 20, roadway applications, tactical networks, and energy systems.

Finally the time to 2020 will in our findings be characterized by the following developments:

  • Flight from commoditization. At a corporate level, telecom and internet services are turning into commodities and firms will fight this trend by turning to new services and taking risks
  • Government enforced adoption. The pattern of adoption of technology to 2020 is likely to include governments pushing “clean and green” solutions, in power, efficiency, and communications
  • Big buys little. Innovation is predicted to be outsourced by big companies, meaning they will buy ideas that will help them increase margins and utilize their infrastructure.
  • Fashion moves markets. Fashion will be a leading driver of the ICT evolution, whether it’s the IPhone or solar panels.
  • Simplicity vs. sophistication. Simplifying the complex and delivering it to mass markets via clever marketing should be successful across all sectors.
  • Critical mass of information in developing world. Cheap communications and abundant information in populous countries is significant for business and democratization.

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