The miracle of modern satellite internet means businesses can get a great connection no matter where they’re located. And that location isn’t just limited to farms: Satellite is driving innovation across industries as diverse and distributed as construction, nonprofits, retail and more.
Not long ago, communications was a major challenge for construction businesses, especially those breaking ground for new communities. Crews constantly need to exchange field data, update shared files (like blueprints), and stay in contact with the headquarters. Yet construction worksites are often scattered across areas with no fixed address, little ground-based infrastructure, and patchy mobile phone coverage.
Just a handful of years ago, this forced firms to pay for slow access to congested cell towers, or even send a worker down the road to sync data and make calls. These challenges combined to create delays, miscommunications and missed deadlines.
But satellite internet streamlines operations with fast speeds and reliable connectivity just about anywhere. Satellite doesn’t need a permanent address to connect a customer – it can service a mobile construction trailer via latitude and longitude equally well. And it can be available within days, versus waiting months for terrestrial infrastructure to be trenched.
There are many nonprofits that are critical to their communities, providing important services that require around-the-clock operations. Such organizations have no time to worry about unreliable internet.
Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Services Center is nationally respected for providing housing and healthcare to chronically homeless people. But while it’s skilled at providing its clients with stability, the organization’s internet connection was an ongoing source of headaches.
In fact, DESC had a history of network struggles, including outages at some of its most remote locations. During times when those sites couldn’t contact centralized servers, they were unable to complete the intake process for homeless men and women in crisis.
In 2018, Viasat Business began helping make those issues a thing of the past. Viasat deployed satellite internet as a back-up service at several of DESC’s sites. Now, when the primary internet fails, the Viasat service seamlessly steps in, keeping the center’s critical mission on track.
“Viasat has provided DESC with stability so that no single outage can really stop them from processing and intaking clients,” said a spokesperson for RDM Technologies, which introduced the solution and helped coordinate the deployment of the added services.
And it comes at a much more affordable cost than other options.
“We were able to put them in a budget-friendly redundant network environment,” the spokesperson said. “Every dollar they save on things like this, they are able to spend on supporting clients.”
Just because a retailer operates a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment doesn’t mean their connectivity situation is simple. For women’s apparel retailer Francesca’s, the challenge was connecting dozens of stores in emerging communities that lacked the infrastructure to support high-speed internet, as well as established sites where there wasn’t enough shared bandwidth for POS systems to work reliably.
Viasat worked with various mall operators to overcome installation concerns and, after substantial testing, connected nearly 40 Francesca’s locations to robust internet that could support multiple POS systems at once.
“Viasat has helped us out in some difficult situations,” said Manny Chavez, Francesca’s IT manager. “Viasat’s service provides the speed we need in places where others couldn’t.”
While satellite internet has historically been one of the only options for farmers, it has come a long way in the last few years and is helping farmers adopt cutting-edge technologies. Today, farmers rely on software and drones just as much as tractors and combines – assuming they’ve got an internet connection that can support newer technology.
“Whether on my phone or laptop, I’m guessing I’m checking the markets every hour,” says soybean farmer Brett Goecke. “Trading goes on almost 24 hours a day. I also get emails from marketing advisors. And I keep up with the latest government issues and information coming from trusted news sources. You’re putting all that together and trying to figure out the best time to market.”
He couldn’t make that call – or do any of those other daily tasks – without his Viasat satellite internet service. It serves both his farm office and the family home.
Goecke lives in State Center, Iowa – literally the center of the state – and home to about 1,500 people. The cost to build infrastructure to sparsely populated areas like State Center is simply too great for most ISPs. That makes satellite internet an ideal business partner for tech-minded farmers.
“Being out in the rural setting, we don’t have a lot of choices,” he said. “Viasat works; it’s the fastest internet we’ve had to date.”
For other small businesses, satellite internet paves the way to connected products to which they may previously never have had access, such as business VoIP, diverse secondary connections, and business hotspots.
“We had a big need for some kind of a way for customers to send links to us because we do a lot of heavy printing,” says Karlene Martella, who manages a Texas location of a national shipping chain. “A lot of people were coming in with laptops and external hard drives, thinking they could just plug into our system and print.”
The shipping store needed a way for customers to connect to the internet and send pictures to the store’s printers via Wi-Fi. But allowing patrons access to the business’s own Wi-Fi network was a security concern.
A Viasat Business Hotspot paired with Viasat Business Internet service solved the problem; allowing the business to create two separate, secure networks: a private network for business operations and a second public guest network.
“Now, we just give them the password and they log onto the guest Wi-Fi,” Martella said. “It’s literally a five-second procedure. They’re on our Wi-Fi and they can start sending stuff.”
From the factory floor to the farm, satellite internet enables businesses of all types to connect to game-changing services from almost any location. As daily business tasks continue to move online, knowing that your business is connected is more than a convenience – it’s a requirement.