Kymeta’s timeline for testing over Global Xpress moves to the right

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Kymeta, the company that wants to bring super-skinny, metamaterials-based antennas to aviation and other industries, is seeing its  timeline for testing transmissions of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band service shift to the right.

The company, which today was named by CNBC as one of the World’s 50 Most Disruptive and Innovative Companies, expected to begin testing  GX via its technology “as early as spring 2014”, but director of marketing Hakan Olsson says the firm is now targeting testing over the first GX satellite “before the end of 2014”.

Redmond, Washington-headquartered Kymeta holds an exclusive R&D agreement with Inmarsat to enable business jets of any size to access high-speed broadband connectivity worldwide through GX, but it has clear designs on ultimately cracking into the wider commercial airline sector. Explaining its relationship with Inmarsat, Kymeta previously told Runway Girl Network: “The aeronautical [side] requires fast beam steering to keep up with banking aircraft so the whole purpose of working with Inmarsat was to ensure at the earliest possible date, communications on the move and high-speed beam switching – some 1.5 to 2 years earlier than we would have done if [relying] on our own risk capital and pay-as-you-go business model. And the relationship gave Inmarsat surety that they would have a good option when they go to market with Kymeta.”

Kymeta says today it is on track to have VSAT prototype transportable units ready for field trials in 2014 with initial availability of commercial mobile products in late 2015.

Honeywell – which is the terminal unit provider for the GX program – previously suggested that Kymeta’s technology for the aero sector won’t be ready for several years, and referred to the technology as “phased array”. In response, Olsson requested that we correct Honeywell’s reference to its technology as phased array, saying, “I would suggest a correction to the Honeywell quote/reference as Kymeta has a metamaterials based technology and not a phased array antenna technology.”

Furthermore, he said, “Kymeta products will be commercially introduced in 2015 as originally planned and more details about portfolio of products and timing is available at www.kymetacorp.com.”

I asked Olsson if Kymeta could test its antennas via ViaSat-1 if it so chooses? “Kymeta is already engaging with O3b and several other service operators for using and testing of Kymeta antennas in various applications. For aero we are working with Inmarsat and Honeywell,” says Olsson. A demonstration with O3b is scheduled for September.

“The rise of the Internet of Things is turning everyday objects and vehicles into potential conduits and environments for connectivity, placing an added importance on dependable satellite communications. Kymeta is considered a CNBC Disruptor for its game-changing antenna products that will open a range of new mobility solutions in the aviation, maritime and automobile markets by simplifying satellite connections and enabling broadband connections anywhere in the world,” said a Kymeta spokeswoman in announcing that the firm had secured CNBC’s ‘Most Disruptive’ honor for its second consecutive year. The company says it is also now transitioning towards mass producing its antennas.

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