Bringing together over 200 presidents, CEOs, CFOs and senior government officials, the conference was a unique occasion to review business models, assess customer requirements, network, do business and refine development strategies.
Speaking at the summit, expert after expert noted that the supply and demand of earth observation continues to evolve. Following a few years of slower growth as a result of reduced US defence spending, the market for commercial EO data sales grew by 11% to total $1.6 billion in 2014, revealed Adam Keith, Euroconsult’s Managing Director for Canada. Keith noted that the global defence sector remains the main growth driver, brought about by continued geographical tensions and limited proprietary very high resolution data. The opening plenary session, comprising heavy duty EO industry stalwarts such as DigitalGlobe CEO Jeffry Tarr, Airbus Defence and Space Senior Vice President Bernard Brenner, MDA Geospatial Services General Manager David Belton, e-GEOs CEO Marcello Maranesi and Imagesat CEO Noam Segal deliberated on the strategies on how to maintain business growth in a market that is seeing increased competition from several new entrants.
The other sessions ranged from the Copernicus programme, how national institutions were meeting the demand in data and services, to EO data supporting sustainable development. While leading satellite manufacturers deliberated on strategies for turnkey solutions, there was a discussion around how data and service distributors were acting as key players between operators and end users. Another important takeaway was the new era of constellations and video offerings from emerging space operators. There was a lot of discussion around the evolution of the small satellite market and disruptive technologies like Big Data, 3D modelling and the likes are creating a niche market. Amid all this, it remains to be seen how EO operators adapt to a competitive market.