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SES Advances Digital Transformation with Cloud-First Strategy, Expanded Agreement

Multi-year agreement with Microsoft includes Azure Orbital integration, SES’s expanded use of Azure and joint development of new video and data connectivity services

SES announced plans to significantly advance its digital transformation across its enterprise, operations and development of new services for the cloud-scale era. As a cornerstone of the strategy, SES signed a multi-year agreement with Microsoft to be an Azure Orbital partner as well as to accelerate and expand the use of Microsoft Azure across its operations and jointly develop cloud-based video and data connectivity managed services.

As an Azure Orbital partner, SES will be co-locating and managing O3b mPOWER gateways with Microsoft Azure locations so its customers are always only “one-hop” away from their Azure cloud services anywhere in the world. In addition, SES customers will enjoy improved network performance, speed-to-market, flexibility and scalability to route over Microsoft’s global network and inject value-added, cloud-based managed services such as enhanced security, SD-WAN, and other network functions into the service chain.

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Additionally, to support customers migrating to the cloud, SES has established a corporate cloud cross-functional team responsible for driving cloud adoption within its own enterprise and operations, and defining, developing and launching seamless cloud, content and connectivity solutions across all of the company’s key market segments. These cloud-based solutions will enable SES customers to enjoy the agility, flexibility and cost-optimisation they require in capitalising on new revenue opportunities. Under the corporate cloud initiative, SES is also moving its IT systems and operations to cloud-based automated services and applications.

“With the breadth and scope of Azure’s global platform and capabilities, Microsoft emerges as an ideal partner in our accelerated transformation into a cloud-first enterprise delivering cloud-based video and data managed services,” said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks who leads SES’s corporate cloud initiative. “We believe our customers – from dense urban areas to remote and rural locations around the world – will be best served by a ‘new space’ ecosystem that enables them to be more agile, scale flexibly and seize new revenue opportunities.”

Key elements of the new agreement include:

Azure Orbital Partner

SES will be the medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite partner for Microsoft Azure Orbital, a managed service that lets network operators communicate and control their satellite capacity, process data and scale their operations – all directly within Azure.

The two companies will make joint investments in Azure Orbital ground stations for the MEO and Earth Observation segments that SES will deploy and manage based on its industry expertise, with the first Earth Observation gateway being located at Quincy, Washington in the United States.

In anticipation of its upcoming next-generation MEO communications system, SES has opted to co-locate multiple O3b mPOWER telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) systems and data ground stations with Microsoft Azure edge sites. SES has designed a cloud-scale operational environment and will leverage Azure Orbital as a core platform to provide leading data analytics, geospatial tools, machine learning, and Azure AI services.

In the past few months, the two companies have also demonstrated cloud connectivity failover scenarios using SES’s O3b MEO satellites to back-up fiber connections to Azure.

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Turnkey “Broadcast-grade” Cloud Video

After successfully demonstrating the technical performance and business benefits of moving playout video services to Azure in 2019, SES is committed to delivering the entire range of video services to cloud.

In addition to its cloud playout solution, SES is developing other turnkey cloud-based solutions that includes cloud encoding, packaging, streaming and content management all delivered from Azure. The shift to a cloud-orchestration platform will provide more flexibility, scalability and agility, therefore improving our video customers’ experience with a simple end-to-end solution.

Digital Transformation and Cloud Center of Excellence

In addition to simplifying and standardizing its corporate technology stack across its internal business units on Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365, SES is working with Microsoft to migrate its on-premise infrastructure to Azure and build an in-house Cloud Center of Excellence to implement cloud-first strategies and open ecosystems for customers. SES is also transforming the automation, orchestration and agility for its video and network managed services using platform-as-a-service and other Azure tools.

“Our launch of Azure Orbital and diverse collaboration with SES underscores our belief that multi-orbit satellite connectivity will be a key driver for the next phase of Azure’s growth as it opens new markets and customer locations to cloud services,” said William Chappell, Vice President, CTO Mission ENG at Microsoft. “In addition, SES’s cloud-first strategy and focus on industry standards and automation aligns with our vision for how the world will connect for work, education, entertainment, healthcare and more going forward.”

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