World Satellite Business Week (WSBW) serves as not only an annual homecoming for the space industry, but as an invaluable opportunity for executive networking and panel discussions. This year’s installment of WSBW wrapped up in Paris last week, offering valuable insight into the current state of the industry and where things are headed next.
The BlackSky team was on the ground at WSBW 2023, including our CEO Brian O’Toole speaking on the panel “Leading EO Businesses Share Strategic Views” and CFO Henry DuBois contributing to the “Next Generation Funding: Where to from here?” panel. Both Henry and Brian shared key trends and observations as it pertains to not only EO as an industry, but to the headway BlackSky is making in the realm of real-time, dynamic monitoring.
Below are the top three insights from WSBW 2023.
The earth observation market is shifting to high value analytics
BlackSky has been ahead of the game in offering dynamic monitoring versus traditional mapping capabilities. Brian took it one step further by explaining on his panel: “We’re seeing an expanding market and new applications, as we move away from traditional uses of mapping into delivering real-time intelligence.”
Other members of the discussion elaborated on how innovation has been at the forefront of the minds of many EO providers, yet analytics are becoming increasingly important as access to data has broadened. The BlackSky Spectra platform combines analytics with Artificial Intelligence (AI) which segues into the next insight.
The EO provider’s secret sauce: AI + software platforms = actionable intelligence
In speaking to the main factors that will enable expansion in the geospatial intelligence imagery, Brian commented: “I think the two things that are going to enable expansion in our industry are going to be the AI elements, which is why most customers don’t want the raw data – they want insights and the information as a subscription service … The other aspect is having software platforms to deliver [the AI-enabled analytics] and have it integrated into the customer’s workflow.”
Brian gave context in that there has been a proliferation of satellites on orbit, “from just a few years ago when there were a few assets up there commercially, to now hundreds to thousands.” These satellites are also flying with a larger variety of sensors.
“If you can get the data down, combine it with other information and translate it into actionable intelligence, you will be able to monetize those assets … Our approach has been investing in the software platforms that not only provide real-time intelligence from our constellation, but the ability to integrated SAR, RF and others, in a way that can be organized through AI into actionable intelligence,” Brian said.
Serving the international D&I community gains importance
Brian expressed his excitement about the expanded access to space-based capabilities, especially internationally. “Compared to maybe a few years ago, the economics of space have changed to where space is accessible to many more countries and organizations.”
He continued: “The defense and intelligence sector remains [BlackSky’s] core market, and it will for a long time. It’s an expanding market as space is becoming a much more critical national security asset.”
Our CFO Henry DuBois spoke to BlackSky’s commitment to the international defense and intelligence community on his panel earlier in the week, as he explained that we’re not only growing in the European market where WSBW is held. “We see growth across the entire international section,” he said. We are excited to continue expanding this market and developing capabilities to best serve our international partners.
World Satellite Business Week not only provided useful insight into the EO market, but an excellent opportunity for customer engagement. We made sure to provide insight into BlackSky’s bold path forward in dynamic monitoring, artificial intelligence, software platform development, and expansion into the international defense and intelligence market. The team is looking forward to the rest of 2023, and even more excited as we head into 2024 with innovation and our customers at the top of mind.