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Shooting for the stars

A light shines bright in the race for faster internet connection speeds. And that light is from Chinatown, Singapore.

Last Friday, a homegrown company announced that they have raised SGD 2.5 million in seed funding for its out-of-this-world product. The company is building the world’s first Space Laser Network which uses a wireless laser communication and nano-satellites for ultrahigh commercial bandwidth communication for virtually anyone around the world.

They aim to develop a constellation of nano-satellites which use lasers to transfer and relay data for ground, satellite and deep space applications. If successful, their innovation will be the fastest (up to 100 Gbps), long-distance, point-to-point wireless communication network possible.

The speed which the company has raised its funds is particularly notable given the startup is only two years old. Beginning December of last year, the company has received funding from notable Singapore and US investors.

Need for Speed

Even more impressive is what the company aims to achieve with their innovation.

CEO and co-founder of the startup said the company was started because there was “no action plan to build a scalable, underlying infrastructure needed, either on the planet of in deep space” to support the digitally driven future over the next century. They want to bring connectivity to emerging markets, deliver high-speed internet to cities, and eventually, bring their technology to space.

The company wanted to challenge current costs and connectivity issues. The CEO and co-founder also said, “The average cost of transcontinental high bandwidth undersea cables ranges from over hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in capital expenditure, and tens of million dollars in annual maintenance. Existing wireless technologies have reached high levels of spectrum congestion leading to a limit on how much connectivity they can support.”

With a lot of talk about how the internet is going to be, and already is, instrumental in obtaining basic human rights, the startup’s technology is pertinent. Technologies like blockchain and the Internet of Things present promising use case for achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, to unleash the potential of these technologies, going online is the first stepping hurdle to cross. Unfortunately, the cost of uptake is enormous.

95% of the world’s internet need is served by undersea cable infrastructure which were developed in the 1990s and 2000s. These cables are prone to accidental damage (such as a hungry shark or the anchor of a docked marine vessel) and can easily be intercepted, causing internet service disruption. Moreover, if the internet is to facilitate more services, then current infrastructure needs a massive overhaul. Infrastructure needs to be able to deal with the huge volume of data which will be generated.

While satellite communication has been useful in overcoming these problems, significant barriers persist. The cost of building and launching satellites are too high, and high bandwidths per downlink must be supported more. Furthermore, current small satellites can only deliver up to 50-100 Mbps on average. The spectrum costs of such satellites are foreseen to spike given the X-brand and K-brand spectrums which are becoming more congested. To overcome these problems, the next generation of technology must harness the bandwidth of fibre optics and the flexibility of radio waves.

Thus, the Singapore company’s innovation offers a promising solution. Its technology comes with zero spectrum costs and rapid deployment timelines in a small size, weight and power package. In the upcoming three years, the company has plans to develop a constellation of nano-satellites for ground, satellite, and deep space applications.

Take Off

Using the seed capital it has raised, the startup has been working hard. Its office has been transformed into a laser communication lab. It employs some of the top engineers and scientists from multi-disciplinary fields.

Monies will also be channelled into R&D efforts in wireless laser communications for both terrestrial and space. The team is currently conducting tests for an on-ground version of their prototype wireless laser communication technology to provide state-of-the-art, fiber-like ultra-high bandwidth wireless backhaul to telecom and enterprise partners. Partners are from Singapore and overseas.

The startup has already conducted a public demonstration of their technology in a joint project partnership. Using the startup’s wireless fibre optics technology, a major public library near Seoul, South Korea, received a huge improvement in its internet bandwidth speed by twenty times.

At the Telecom Infra Project Summit 2018, the local company will share further details of its R&D and commercial progress for both terrestrial and space.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.