Joining a plenary session at the Global Space Applications Conference (GLAC 2014), Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) discussed how Galileo is providing tangible services to European citizens.
From infinite channels on the television to nearly universal internet access, the world is quickly evolving. And although many of us take these changes for granted, driving the process is satellite technology.
For instance, one-third of all smartphones today are GNSS enabled. This represents a marketplace worth approximately 200 billion euros and one which is expected to grow by 10 percent in the coming years. Furthermore, one-third of all vehicles in Europe now come with standard-equipped built in satellite navigation functions.
Although such satellite powered devices play a huge part in our daily lives, the majority of people fail to make the connection between the GPS in their car and the satellite in the sky. This raises a challenge for the space sector as consumer demand is essential to driving future innovation – and consumers can’t make demands when they don’t know what satellites are capable of doing.
“Satellites are remarkable tools for building the world of the future, but the user needs to know what satellites can do before they can demand new services,” said Michel de Rosen, Chairman and CEO, Eutelsat SA. “The challenge for us is ensure the user understands how space solutions are influencing their everyday lives.”
Galileo Providing a Tangible Service
This is a challenge the GSA has embraced. “With Galileo, we aim to provide a tangible service to European citizens,” said Carlo des Dorides. “To do this, we have a team constantly engaged in dialog with users across all sectors, discussing the many benefits of Galileo and listening to their needs.”
Out of these conversations a common message emerged: Galileo needs to be compatible with other GNSS signals. As a result, Galileo is designed to be fully operational with GPS. Initial testing of the four satellites currently in operation prove not only that the Galileo signal is stable, but also, when coupled with GPS, provides an unmatched level of performance.
“Even though the user won’t know the difference between the two systems but only that they have a better service, Galileo does have its differentiators,” adds des Dorides. “For example, unlike other systems, Galileo is a civil system fully dedicated to providing services to the end user.”
Another example of how the GSA is helping bridge the gap between space and the user is its research and development programmes, such as the current Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The aim of these programmes is to invest in the development of service applications providing direct benefits to the user. For example, the E-Call programme, which was developed out of a past funding period, is today helping to save lives.
“We feel that it is the right moment to invest heavily in space technology,” concluded des Dorides. “Through this investment, we will place the benefits of space directly into the hands of the user.”
Galileo in Action
Several other panel members noted how their companies and organisations are benefiting from Galileo. For example, Marcello Maranesi, President of e-Geos, noted that in addition to Galileo’s open and free of charge service, it also offers a Public Regulated Service (PRS).
PRS is a special Galileo navigation service that uses encrypted signals to provide enhanced resistance to jamming and interference. In addition, PRS provides an authenticated position, critical for the transport and emergency services.
E-Geos’ Telespazio system is a significant player in Galileo’s build up, participating in the testing phase of the PRS service.
Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director, GSA
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