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Editorial Winter 2016/2017

This editorial concerns the changing market and the way in which companies can react to it. But firstly, as we are using data coming from our industry survey a reminder to all EO services companies in Europe that the most recent survey has been launched and we really need your response. The survey is extremely important to inform the European decision makers and support their policy decisions which support the industry. If you have not already completed it, please do so and if you need any more information, contact the EARSC secretariat

Various market studies have been published which show a growing market for EO services and that support the conclusions which we draw from our own surveys. But this simple headline disguises the changes which are taking place in the structure of this market. Today, around 65% of the revenues of the companies in Europe come from public sector sources; governments. This is unsurprising given the public role and the background of the technology coming from military and defence interests.

But the expected growth is also expected to come from other types of customer even if the public sector will remain a very significant part of the market. Commercial and even consumer markets (B2B and B2C in the jargon) are growing and should continue to grow. A lot of this growth will be driven by more accessible products and services easily found and bought on-line. This contrasts with the market today which is largely for bespoke services where a product is made for a specific customer.

How important is this trend?
In our last industry survey (2015), we found a growth rate of around 10% in a market worth around €720m pa in Europe. The European market is commonly considered to be 1/3rd of the global market which means a total market of about €2.2b. This is in good correspondence with surveys published by Research and Markets and Euroconsult.

Our second survey conducted last summer finds that around 5% of the market today is for on-line services but that this will increase to over 25% in the next 5 years. This is a healthy 30%pa growth rate which seems to be worth positioning for and which is the rationale behind our initiative to create a Marketplace Alliance for EO Services (MAEOS).

MAEOS can only be possible if it is built upon an efficient and effective access to the raw data and information which is needed to produce the EO services. Happily the European Commission has recognised this reality and are investing to establish a new Copernicus Service; that for Data and Information Access (DIAS).

ESA will procure the DIAS on behalf of the EC. Bidders must show not only how it will fulfil the basic requirements to make the Copernicus data and information available on a wide basis but also how it proposes to ensure that the solution is sustainable. This requires that a credible business plan is put together for the products and services which can be built upon each DIAS. Leading to the key question of how much business can be developed around DIAS? Each bidder will need to enable the creation of an ecosystem of service providing companies. MAEOS will make a strong contribution by providing a single environment for potential customers to find the services. Nevertheless, the question remains as to how big this market will be and how will it evolve?

To address this question, we are organising a workshop in Brussels on 25th January where speakers will give their view on issues driving these trends. More information can be found here.

Finally I wanted also to draw attention to the recent MoU we recently signed with the Japanese industry represented by Japan Space Systems. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to help develop closer links between the Japanese and European industries and look forward to developing concrete steps to achieve this.

Geoff Sawyer
EARSC Secretary General