MSUA Member Interview | Patrick Shay, Founder & CEO, Everywhere Communications
Catherine: Patrick, Welcome to the Mobile Satellite Users Association! We feel fortunate to have EVERYWHERE Communications join our membership and we look forward to learning more about your organization and to collaborating to promote satellite in the new era of 5G mobility connectivity. I’ve enjoyed learning about your business, and I appreciate you taking time for a Mobility News interview.
To start with, EVERYWHERE Communications has some very exciting news! Tell me more about your recent teaming relationship with Garmin and what your new dual-mode cellular and satellite innovation will mean to mobile communications.
Patrick: Thank you, Catherine. It’s great to connect and have the opportunity to talk about how EVERYWHERE Communications is revolutionizing the industry. Let me first explain a little bit about EVERYWHERE, and how we are working to help organizations protect their most important assets – their people.
Our focus at EVERYWHERE is on organizations with teams that are deployed in the field, who move in and out of cellular and satellite communications, and who need to be able to locate and communicate with those teams to ensure they are productive and safe.
One of the things that makes us unique is our Intelligent Routing platform and ability to seamlessly connect a user over Wi-Fi, cellular or satellite networks, enabling us to deliver always connected solutions. This capability also allows a user to capture geotagged photos, audio and video files when out of cellular coverage – which is a large achievement, as historically it has been very expensive and difficult to send large files over a satellite connection. With EVERYWHERE’s Intelligent Routing, the user can capture the data in the field and when they connect via cellular, the large files are automatically uploaded using the customer’s existing cellular airtime plan.
Second, we are excited about our recently announced partnership with Garmin. We are thrilled to offer inReach devices, coupled with EVERYWHERE’s purpose-built enterprise software and Intelligent Routing, to government and enterprise markets. Our solution enables organizations to locate and communicate with their teams deployed around the globe.
In essence, EVERYWHERE Communications is three things – a safety tool that provides the vital communications link for those in trouble; a location and tracking tool that provides customers with visibility to their people deployed around the globe; and a productivity tool to enable them to communicate between team members and back to headquarters.
Catherine: Partnering with a mainstream commercial technology player like Garmin is less common in the satellite industry. How did this relationship come about and do you think it’s likely we’ll see other such pairings as the mobility field continues to evolve?
Patrick: We always look for partners that can augment our customer offerings and fit into our product portfolio, operate with our software, and serve our most demanding customers. With Garmin, the relationship was built on a personal history with the Garmin inReach team, as we all worked closely in launching the inReach business.
I have long been a fan brokering relationships in the ecosystem, because no one company can do everything well in today’s complex technology market. Look at our business partners as an example: Iridium provides global satellite connectivity, Garmin provides a small inReach satellite device, and we couple those two things with our unique purpose-built software to deliver an end-to-end system solution to the government and enterprise markets.
Catherine: Patrick, what is your professional history with satellite communications and what experiences have played the biggest role in your view of the market today?
Patrick: I have a long history in connecting people and things, which began with Motorola in the late 80s. That is where I first heard of Iridium and was fascinated with the technology vision - as it was something no one had ever done before. My career took me through GPS and wireless in connected cars through the ‘90s, and I really dove into satellite communications when I started the connected business at Sirius Satellite Radio in 2006. My direct connection to Iridium began in 2008, when I led their newly created data business. Following Iridium, I joined Delorme to lead their connected inReach business, and at Orbcomm, ran the IoT and M2M business. All these different opportunities contained a common thread of solving connectivity challenges in cost effective ways and are also what drove me to build and launch EVERYWHERE Communications in 2016.
Historically, satellite communications has been complicated, and I believe it has limited the market adoption of the technology. My objective in each role has been to develop easy-to-deploy satellite communications solutions by providing end-to-end systems to the market and deliver global connectivity to their customers. Ultimately, I have always tried to determine what is it that people need, and how can we solve their business challenges.
Additionally, the cost of satellite has historically been very high, which limited the size of the market. With today’s low-cost hardware, and EVERYWHERE’s system solution, we can deliver global SOS to our customers for as little as $15 a month – that has never been done before.
Catherine: You launched EVERYWHERE Communications just over a year ago, tell me more about your vision for the business and how you are evolving connectivity to the next level?
Patrick: We saw three things happening that we felt created the perfect timing to redefine global safety and productivity solutions in the mobile communications arena:
The satellite industry was in the middle of a once every 25-year satellite network refresh
Everything is becoming connected
Remote worker legislation and an increased awareness of Duty of Care
These drivers, plus a veteran leadership team, technology platform and patents, combined with a core group of partners and investors, provided the opportunity to change communications and enhance global connectivity.
Catherine: What aspect of your new business or in the wireless industry in general do you find most professionally and personally engaging?
Patrick: I was involved in the early formation of the OnStar connected services at Motorola, that today has saved thousands of lives in connected cars around the world. Over the years I have realized that while playing a role in launching technology and creating new markets is exciting, when that technology can save a life it is pretty special.
At EVERYWHERE we are building a profitable business with a team of people who share the audacious vision of delivering global connectivity to millions of enterprise and government users and saving lives. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Catherine: What’s the greatest challenge in forming and delivering a dual mode connectivity service? Is it technical or commercial?
Patrick: Given that you can leverage the overall user experience of the customers cell phone, I would say the greatest challenge definitely isn’t commercial, but instead technical due to the nature of the satellite industry.
For instance – satellite technology must be 100% backwards compatible – a 25-year-old satellite phone still works today. Whereas the cellular industry is constantly evolving – with the new phones, network operating systems and apps – it becomes a technical challenge to ensure the two remain aligned. To address the disparity, we take our industry expertise, pair it with our integrated software to manage the complexity of two dramatically different markets and deliver a single system solution to our customers.
Catherine: Given the landscape of innovations (e.g., low cost access technologies, LEO Internet constellations, wireless network interconnectivity, etc.) due to soon hit the market, what do you believe will have the greatest impact on mobility communications and what innovations are you most excited about?
Patrick: Being in the industry for as long as I have been, I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, and it is great to see that satellites are becoming cool once again. All of these connectivity solutions will offer more choices and more technology for us to package and deliver to our customers. That said, the innovation I am most excited about was completed earlier this year with Iridium’s brand new $3B satellite constellation, as we are now able to deliver our solutions through a brand-new network that will be operational for decades.
Catherine: As you know, user experience has taken on new levels of importance across commercial industry. What is EVERYWHERE Communications doing to enhance the user experience for customers you serve?
Patrick:Yes, user experience is imperative when building solutions in today’s market. At EVERYWHERE, we believe easy to use and deploy solutions are crucial to widespread adoption. We have a brilliant team of technologists and product marketing people who understand how customers would use our technology in the market, and that enables us to deliver compelling solutions.
The core of our business model is built on simplifying and streamlining communications, so customers are able to track and monitor their teams, without the worry of different networks or devices for different team members. Our customers don’t care what communications path is used, they simply want to be able to locate and communicate with their remote workers. We understand the complexities behind integrating satellite and cellular and have taken great care to ensure that whether the customer is using the EVERYWHERE Hub, EVERYWHERE App, or one of our devices – the experience is essentially seamless.
By building one system that uses Intelligent Routing to ensure users are always connected, customers gain peace of mind on a global scale.
Catherine: What vertical market – both government and commercial -- trends do you see having the greatest impact on satellite/wireless mobility services?
Patrick: In the government and enterprise markets, people tracking has become a priority. And historically, highly specialized government customers have long relied on satellite communications technology for their remote communications needs. We follow a well-worn path of technology that was developed for specialized government customers. We cost reduce the technology and make it easier to use, and then roll it out to the broader markets.
On the commercial side, historically when an enterprise deployed 40 people in a remote area, they would give them one satellite phone and say don’t turn it on unless something bad happens, due to the cost of the devices and solution. With EVERYWHERE, that enterprise can connect everyone because the cost to purchase the devices, and more importantly use them, is dramatically lower. This is important and reflects a trend in the industry to ensure that organizations and their people remain connected no matter where they are located.
Catherine: Each year MSUA gives an award titled, “Company to Watch”. In addition to EVERYWHERE Communications, what company or companies inside or outside the satellite industry to you put in this category and why?
Patrick: Hands down, I would say Iridium. We are in a time where satellite communications have become more mainstream, and everyone is talking about launching their own satellite networks and changing the face of communications. And here you have Iridium, a company that has done it – twice – and is available today.
For perspective, when I joined Iridium 11 years ago, the SBD business was tracking some weather balloons in Antarctica and a few elephants in Africa. Today they have 675K SBD customers around the world and are continuing to grow.
Catherine: My final signature question – also a personal one -- what is your favorite form of recreational mobility (boating, hiking, camping) when you’re not at work focused on satellite/wireless mobility?
Patrick: Good question! EVERYWHERE Communications has been keeping me pretty busy, but never too busy to conduct “satellite field testing,” fishing for marlin with friends and family.
Catherine: Thank you Patrick for taking time for a Mobility News interview. It will be a pleasure watch you and the EVERYWHERE Communications Team as you stake new ground in the global wireless connectivity space! Congratulations and thank you again!