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Kymeta: At the Intersection of Wealth and Danger

by Roger Lanctot | Jan 25, 2017

That's how Kymeta's senior vice president for land mobile puts it. Kymeta's new satellite technology meets the needs of the civilian armored vehicle segment and will be coming to that market segment in Q2.

Moving vehicles will never be safe and secure until they can get closer to universal connectivity. By universal connectivity I mean ubiquitous connectivity with unlimited bandwidth.

Ubiquitous connectivity is necessary both for automatic crash response beyond the coverage of cellular networks and for cybersecurity attack detection and prevention. Without a connection that the vehicle operator can rely on there is no way to anticipate cyber attacks and, more importantly, without a software update path, no way to prevent them.

The only technology that comes close to delivering this level of connectivity is satellite. Satellite technology is prohibitively expensive from a transmission and a reception standpoint. But for the customer for whom price is no object Kymeta has a solution.

Kymeta is putting the first market transforming price/performance stake in the ground this week with its announced plans to work with Aurum Security to bring Kymeta mTenna high-throughput satellite connectivity to VIP and civilian armored vehicles (CAVs). CAV manufacturers and integrators will be able to deliver global connectivity, on the go, that their customers demand, without impacting the natural design lines of the vehicle.

Kymeta is targeting the 38,000 civilian armored VIP vehicles manufactured annually. Kymeta's longer term goal is to pursue the larger mass passenger vehicle market in partnership with IntelSat. This initial market step will set the stage for broader deployment in coming years.

In essence, Kymeta's technology will make the satellite antenna more or less invisible meaning anyone from VIPs, to government officials, to royalty, will have access to high bandwidth connectivity wherever they go that is secure, reliable and inobtrusive – even in remote places - the company says. Connectivity like this comes at a price - and that price is $39,500.

 Kymeta says Aurum Security will use Kymeta's mTennau7 70cm terminal to access audio, data, and video communication. “The Kymeta mTennau7 mobile satellite terminal will provide continuous connectivity to our customers for their productivity and security benefits; furthermore, it is affordable, and does not draw unwanted attention,” said Andre Uschakow, managing director, Aurum Security. “Terrestrial cellular networks are easily disrupted and hacked leaving the convoy blind and vulnerable. Satellite systems are notoriously difficult to compromise, and with Kymeta mTenna technology, we will be able to deliver secure, high-throughput, satellite-based internet access.”

Kymeta’s longer term goal is to collaborate with car companies, such as Toyota and others, to enable broadcast-based software updating capability. The essence of the Kymeta value proposition is to amortize the cost of the hardware and data transmission across a growing fleet and against the billions of dollars in warranty costs facing car companies.

The deal with Aurum Security opens a shorter path to market while the passenger car solutions are still in development. But the Aurum deal also reveals the direct relevance between connectivity and security - especially if your financial resources allow it.

Satellite technology remains an expensive silver bullet for vehicle connectivity, but the introduction of Ku band transmission to moving vehicles is a game changer. Car makers are slowly coming around to realize that they need a secure wireless means to connect to all of their cars wherever they are around the world.

Advanced cellular technologies such as 4.5G LTE and 5G will help, but satellite is now part of the connectivity mix - especially for transmissions requiring high bandwidth and security for urgent software updates and even for low bandwidth emergency transmissions. Kymeta mTenna satellite solutions for CAVs will become commercially available Q2 2017. The company will be demonstrating its technology at the Global Space Congress in Dubai, UAE, next week.

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