Big tech companies are interested in space - and here's why - Novosco Blog | Novosco

Big tech companies are interested in space - and here's why

Big tech companies are interested in space - and here's why

PART of the reason Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google are sometimes collectively referred to as the FANGS is perhaps because they get their teeth into almost everything, from movies and groceries to family photos - and now the expanse that exists beyond the earth.

Going into space may have been one giant leap for mankind all those years ago, but it seems it's just another step in the ever-upward ascent of Amazon, and Facebook too.

After expanding from retail sales to cloud services, Amazon is now going higher still and into satellites.

At the end of last year, the tech behemoth announced a new product called AWS Ground Station, which will allow companies to rent access to satellite data.

It made the announcement at its annual AWS re:invent conference in Las Vegas. It said that it would build 12 satellite transmission facilities around the world. The so-called ground stations are essentially antenna-equipped facilities that can send and receive data from the thousands of satellites orbiting the earth.


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Amazon will let customers rent access to the satellite ground stations in the same way that it leases access to its data centres. According to Amazon, companies that have not traditionally had the financial resources to build and operate their own satellite transmission infrastructure will be able to get access to satellite services on-demand.

That opens the door for a new variety of businesses to do things like beam live concerts around the world or create services that leverage weather data and satellite-view photos of different regions.

The decision to move into the space sector certainly wasn't one made at random.

Former European Space Agency chief executive Jean-Jacques Dordain believes the reason internet giants are all so interested in space is the potential it holds for legally collecting and sharing data worldwide.

Now an adviser to Luxembourg's government on matters relating to space, Dordain added that the big tech companies are also focused on space due to its potential to connect individuals and networks.

Amazon is far from being the only one out of tech's big beasts to show interest in the sector. According to IEEE Spectrum, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is considering designing two laser communication satellites too.

This technology would be incredibly helpful to Facebook, as it would be able to support a much higher data rate and would be far less vulnerable to being intercepted or hacked.

Facebook has dabbled in satellite technology before. The social network was supposed to launch an internet-beaming satellite for parts of Africa in 2016, but its SpaceX's rocket exploded during a test.

What the tech giants will get their teeth into in the future remains to be seen. But it seems that they continually set their sights incredibly high, and space is very much on the agenda. The FANGS are often controversial, but we could all definitely learn from their ambition and ‘can do' approach.

:: Patrick McAliskey is managing director of Novosco, an indigenous managed cloud company with offices in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester. It works for leading?organisations ?across the UK and Ireland, including health trusts, housing associations and other organisations


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