When you cannot touch, see or feel the product and the product brochure is full of terminology and jargon that you do not understand, then how do you select the best service? How do you know to select the provider best suited to meet your specific needs and what specific service must you choose for the application you have?
Although this scenario relates to most services, it is much more relevant when selecting a niche service such as satellite connectivity. For niche services such as satellite, the general understanding of the service is much more limited and the general references also less helpful, all adding up to a buyer’s nightmare made worse by product reviews completed by auditors not fully understanding the different complexities of satellite technologies.
While we cannot solve the mystery completely, we aim to provide some context and reference that will bring more comfort in your next buying decision around satellite services.
You don’t need to know the tech
Our first view is that you do not need to study technology and be responsible for the product selection. Yes, with Google and all other available sources, you can learn everything you want to know, but the question is – do you need to do this? The short answer is NO. As an end-user, your obligation is to know what your needs are and communicate these as best you can to the Service Provider. It is the Service Provider’s responsibility to translate your needs into product definitions and recommend service options to you.
By stepping away from the technology detail, and not forcing yourself to go through jargon and design topics you might have no interest in, you are actually empowering yourself to have the more important discussion that will support a better selection choice.
You do need to understand the tech
Knowing and understanding are not the same. While knowing is focussed more on specifications and technology, understanding is more about the user applications, the service delivery, experience record and brand credibility. Understanding comes from considering the constraints, from context and references. Understanding is built through communication, obtaining references and asking questions.
We do believe you need to have a good understanding of satellite services so that you can have the correct context and expectation for your solution and budget. Without this appropriate understanding, there is a material risk that the service will not meet your expectation. Satellite services, as with all other technologies, have certain fundamental advantages and some principle limitations. These will help to balance expectations and make sure you are satisfied with your choice.
Our brief step-by-step recommendations for selecting satellite services are:
Understand that satellite is an “off-grid” service and perfectly reliable anywhere and everywhere.
Budget and Affordability
Satellite is not your cheapest option. If you have a lower cost alternative – use it. Satellite is the trusted option at affordable rates (it is also not as expensive as your school pal says it is)
Satellite services are very diverse and very flexible, suitable for everything from high capacity point-to-point links, to small packet data for point-of-sale services. Just make sure you select the most suited product for your service; there’s no need to go for “square-peg-in-round-hole” mistakes.
Satellite services are niche services, operated by a few specialist providers and require years of experience to master. Make sure you are in the hands of an established network operator. This is important because even the big Telco’s are not always operating their networks these days, they might also just resell the service.
Satellite networks are designed on satellite platforms that typically have a 15 year life cycle. It is not a technology that can be mastered through an online course, so make sure that the 3rd level engineering company that is responsible for your solution has a known and credible track record.
Brand Name and References
You are buying a service which you can’t touch, see or feel. Although the service may be invisible, what is very real is the people. Who are they? How long have they been in business? Can you get in touch with somebody that can sort out a problem if they need to? The final decision is a people decision – not a technology one.
We do live in a world that is becoming a technology jargon jungle more and more, where users feel lost and are finding it increasingly more difficult to make the correct decisions. In such cases it helps to connect to the people and use the age-old proven practice of buy from people you trust – and trust is built up over time and through hard work.
For over 25 years, Q-KON has provided wireless and satellite solutions across the African continent. Helping businesses harness technology for growth, gain access to new markets, and uplift communities, Q-KON has established an extensive pan-African implementation and delivery capability.
Q-KON believes that technology in itself is meaningless, rather focusing on how the right solutions can fill the connectivity gaps across the continent in order to improve people’s day-to-day lives – in business and in general. The company has completed projects in over 40 countries throughout Africa, has service partners in over 20 countries, and is well established in the African market.
Q-KON’s solutions provide major advantages for customers, including:
- efficiency, enabled by experience and technology
- guaranteed high speed network access, regardless of location
- tangible results, leading to improved operations
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