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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  29 Sep 2010

COMMUNICATIONS: ORBCOMM Gateway Earth Station Will Benefit Webb Industries


Recent Gauteng Business News

With the imminent commissioning of the ORBCOMM Gateway Earth Station (GES) in Hartebeeshoek, demand for Webb Industries’ (Webb) ORBCOMM technology is expected to grow substantially in the southern African region and on the continent generally.

ORBCOMM Inc. is a global satellite data communications company that focuses on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and is a leading provider of space-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) services.

Webb has been an ORBCOMM OEM since 2004 providing a range of suitable antennas to users in the U.S. and other ORBCOMM-covered regions.

Some of these antennas include: Elite and Zara ΒΌ-wave antennas, used mainly in the private mobile radio (PMR) industry; M3WB compact ORBCOMM dipole antenna; WASP covert combination antennas; Solar Wedge antennas and the ‘Ribbit’ antenna.

Webb designer Terry Reuss says that since the development of its first ORBCOMM antenna - the ‘Flatkook’ - in 2004, Webb has supplied it and several of the subsequent antennas to a wide range of customers abroad.

Evolving from the ‘Flatkook’ is Webb’s most popular low profile ORBCOMM antenna, the Ribbit, which is square in shape, designed for mobile or static applications and is manufactured with a range of GPS, GSM and ISM options.

Called the ‘Ribbit’ because of its distinctive ribs, it is 6cm high and 20cm square, and according to Reuss, one of the ‘Ribbit’s’ outstanding features is its indestructible cover

“This technology represented a breakthrough in terms of our capabilities with respect to low profile antennas. It is difficult to make efficient, broadband, low profile antennas at VHF frequencies and we succeeded in doing just this,” says Reuss.

He adds that the ORBCOMM GES will definitely boost demand for Webb’s product range. “We have developed a unique expertise as regards antenna manufacture for the ORBCOMM network and, with the localisation of this technology through the Hartebeeshoek GES, utilisation of the network will grow exponentially. We expect the demand for our products to follow suite,” Reuss says.

ORCOMM CEO Marc Eisenberg comments reinforce Reuss’s optimism. “The GES in South Africa is filling one of the last remaining key pieces of geography needed for our near ubiquitous coverage. International expansion is a key component of our strategy and future growth at ORBCOMM as it provides our International Value Added Resellers (IVARs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), many of which already have distribution in the southern portions of Africa, a new outlet to provide ORBCOMM enabled services.”

Christian Allred, Senior Vice President of International at ORBCOMM says the unique attributes of ORBCOMM make it an ideal network for a wide range of M2M applications. “ORBCOMM offers contiguous coverage, which provides an ideal solution for many mobile and fixed applications in South Africa and the surrounding areas, many of which are under-served by terrestrial networks.”

Webb Industries, which was established in 1973, is one of the largest suppliers of ancillary telecommunications equipment to the sub-Saharan region. The company offers a comprehensive range of antennas, coaxial cable and connectors, duplexers and filters, earthing, lightning protection and the supply of masts and towers.

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