Interview with Christopher Ivory, VP Land Solutions at Global Eagle
How is Global Eagle involved in the humanitarian aid and development sector?
Global Eagle acquired Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) in 2016. EMC has been an industry leader in providing critical communications for the humanitarian and development sectors for the past 16 years. We provide end to end satellites solutions for office applications and emergency responses for 12 United Nations agencies, several Nethope members and other NGOs. We are actively providing services in over 140 countries supporting our customers humanitarian missions which include connectivity for ERP applications, voice, HD Video, internet access, and Global Eagle proprietary Speednet service for the fastest internet browsing experience in a satellite environment.
How is Global Eagle represented in North America?
Global Eagle/EMC is an American company with our headquarters located in Los Angeles CA. Our Connectivity Business Unit HQ is based in Miramar FL. We have over 500 US based employees and over 600 located in North America. We have a wholly owned teleport located in Holmdel NJ where we land traffic not only for our humanitarian customers but also our maritime and aeronautical end users.
What are the key initiatives being implemented in the region?
We have implemented a number of global initiatives that include rapid deploy standardized VSAT kits housed in Miramar, purchase of SES-3 satellite which has been renamed Eagle 1 for North American coverage and emergency response and customized flyaway kit.
Christopher, what does your position at Global Eagle entail?
As a Vice President Land Solutions, I am responsible for all land based customers and verticals, which include the UN, NGOs, humanitarian, government, oil and gas, Mobile Network Operators, Channel Partners, Enterprise and our stand alone licensed operation in Brazil.
Other than the day to day running of the Land business, I have been very much involved in the development and extension of our content and live TV service that we currently provide to the airline and cruise line market to the humanitarian community. So that humanitarian workers who live and work in a camp or guesthouse can have access to Western Live TV and pay per view movies and TV shows.
What are your main priorities for 2017/2018?
The main priority for Global Eagle is to continue to provide a reliable high quality service that supports the humanitarian community missions in the hard to reach places of the world. We are also focused on growing our footprint that supports not only C, Ku but also Ka band that will enable us to respond faster to emergency situations. Global Eagle is planning to integrate our content and Live TV service within private humanitarian guesthouses and camps and continue to train and certify Humanitarian ICT Field Telecoms personnel to become more self-sufficient when they are working is extremely remote or dangerous locations.
Other priorities include visiting the Humanitarian ISP, WiMax network in South Sudan. Malakal, Bor and other deep field locations to hear our customers first hand as well as continue our support for UN emergency trainings around the world, such as the forthcoming UNICEF ETT in Beirut October 2017.
What will your presentation at the Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit address?
It can be a number of different topics, such as our experience in supporting emergency responses since Haiti 2010, live TV and pay per view service integration, global coverage and field support center’s located in more than 40 countries, Speednet service that guarantees the fastest web page downloads in a satellite environment and flyaway kits (UNICEF Nepal has 4 stationed in Khatmandu already in preparation for any further natural disaster).
What are some of the challenges you see in disaster response and disaster resilience?
Bandwidth availability, moving equipment and people quickly when the local governments create regulatory challenges.
Operationally speaking, we see challenges on the regulatory side, the restrictions to import, clear, license and the physical access of the hardware. The coordination is also an issue, many coordinators are involved and the mechanism gets too complicated. Bandwidth of course, as there is a surge of demand from several emergencies stretching limited resources. There is also a large pool of different technology solutions and identifying which fits the right purpose is challenging. This could be leveraged with a proper preparedness, but then there is lack of donor interest financing before the disaster strikes.
What are the lessons learned related to those mentioned above?
We need to work towards a decentralized approach, empowering the local teams to be better prepared in case an emergency is declared. They should work closer with the governments in high risk countries to set procedures to mitigate regulatory issues. We are ready to provide training to officers working in high risk countries, pre-position hardware and send specialists to assist them with the set up.
What is your impression of the upcoming Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit 2017?
I am looking forward to attending this will be the first Summit I have attended.
Why is it important for you/your organisation to engage in such events?
A very large part of our customer base are humanitarian customers and the leaders in disaster relief and emergency response. We have participated in responding to many disaster relief situations in the past 16 years and have a lot to offer in lessons learned. We have participated with the WGET and UN Emergency Telecom summits for the past 16 years.
To summarise, what is the key message or learning from your work that you’d like to share with the AIDF audience prior to the Summit?
Global Eagle's mission is to support the humanitarian community with their regular communication requirements in the remote places of world and support them in a disaster relief, considering our tremendous experience and a number of different products and services that were specifically designed for such efforts.
To find out more about Global Eagle, join the roundable on "Connectivity and Emergency Communications" lead by Christopher Ivory, VP Land Solutions, at 14.45 on 6 September 2017 as part of the Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit. For more information about the Summit, please visit disaster-relief.aidforum.org