As the Business Development Manager for Santander Teleport, David Andres locates new clients, partners, and opportunities for the company. He also helps to find companies with whom the teleport can potentially collaborate to create new types of services and he is also engaged with the firm's marketing and pre-sales operations.
There have been several new elements that have recently been incorporated by the firm. One of the major modifications was that the actual physical area of their facility that has been enlarged through the purchase of land that was adjacent to the teleport. Then four, new 9 meter antennas have been installed with additional work and upgrades completed to the teleport's facilities, generators and UPS. Santander's iDirect (customer) platform is now upgraded to its latest version to make use of the product's latest generation remote models.
The Network Operations Center (NOC) and Teleport Operations Center have been bolstered to improve the teleport's processes for customers and the staff. One of the equipment rooms has been expanded and improved, and for the company's employees a new social area has been built. For training, Santander Teleport created "The Academy", which will be discussed later in this article.
One critical area that is often overlooked by companies is the crucial customer and technical support offered, and this is an area where the firm spends a lot of their energy. Excellent customer support is essential for the company, as their customers must feel well looked after and listened to by everyone in the organization. Additionally, a happy customer results in future collaborations for the firm.
Santander provides highly skilled tech support and complete customer care. The firm's employees are highly skilled. Not only do the operations engineers look after the teleport, they also specialize in a specific area of their choice which they select as being an area they want to support with their expertise to further the Santander knowledge base. Potential areas of specialization include IP networking, RF, antennas, maintenance, software development, high power amplifiers, and more. This specialization focus for staff is handled at Santander’s “Academy", basically an in-house training site — third parties are also occasionally invited to attend training sessions, as are select customers.
David said that a breakthrough technology that is truly important for the future of the industry is flat panel antenna development as customers will continue to need more and more bandwidth, but via low cost, easy-to-use terminals. Many of the future LEO high throughput satellites really need a small, low-power consumption, user-friendly flat panel antenna that is cost-effective to purchase and then use. He noted that flat panel antennas can connect to multiple satellites using electronically generated beams. There are no motorized components to beam to the satellites such as are required by current, bulky, parabolic antennas.
He believes that development of this technology is key for the success of future constellations (i.e., Telesat, OneWeb, and others). David's opinion is that, unless the users have a cost-effective antenna that can be easily installed, future constellations will struggle to open new high-volume markets and could make their business case a lot less interesting.
David is a firm believer in attendance at IBC, which is all about networking ... putting a face to a name and having an opportunity to meet with customers. For Santander, IBC attendance can result in new collaborations for the company as well as bringing in new business.
During the last two years, Santander has been quite successful in government sector operations. David related that the company had been diligently working for a long period of time on entering the niche government market segments. Projects in this area have been pivotal for the company and have helped to ensure a successful year for the teleport.
Santander's current customer base is mostly in Europe and the U.S., with David adding that, occasionally, they acquire customers in the Middle East and Africa.
There are no massive plans by the firm to drastically expand their customer base. Instead, Santander believes in a manageable and sustainable business growth plan. The firm's investors are supportive of this decision, according to David, as this shows that Santander is a value-based company that cultivates a highly positive environment for their workers and customers.
Interview conducted on Friday, September 13, 2019, at IBC2019 in Amsterdam