Satellites as a Service: What, Why, and How


Satellites as a Service: What is it?
The Collaborative/Sharing Economy is now applied to satellites. Now you can “own” your very own satellite, for a fraction of the time and price. Just as Uber enabled anyone to access expensive town cars and chauffeurs and Airbnb enabled us to access beach-side mansions for a single night, this same business model is applying to expensive satellite technology. You don’t need to be a tech billionaire or a government agency to launch your own space fleet into orbit, you can simply rent some of theirs.

Key Terms to Know: Satellites as a Service:

  • Satellites as a Service (SataaS) – You no longer need to own your own satellite, now you can have access with pay-as-you-go services, similar to Uber or Airbnb for orbiting technology.
  • Ground Station – The vital links on the ground that transmit data to and from orbiting satellites. Also called “earth stations.” Connects to the cloud providers.
  • CubeSat – Miniature satellites that are approximately 4 in. x 4 in. x 4 in created by using off-the-shelf technologies; over 900 are in orbit.
  • Downlink/Uplink – Downlink is the link from a satellite down to a ground station. Uplink is the link from a ground station up to a satellite.
  • X band, S band – Radar frequencies being used by the satellites. X band is at a higher frequency and providers higher resolution images, where S band has a lower frequency, but is less affected by weather like fog. Many satellites carry transmitters with both frequencies as they are complementary.
  • Cloud Services – You’re already familiar with this technology, but now, they are ingesting satellite-based service data, which all of us can soon access for a marginal fee.

Satellites as a Service: Why will it Matter?
This emerging trend really captured my attention for a few reasons: 1) Anyone can soon access data from space. 2) It’s the Collaborative/ Sharing Economy being applied to yet a new set of assets: in space. 3) The data that will be delivered is literally world changing, I’ll explain all of this, below. All of this is part of the bigger trend I’m seeing, as the sixth digital era, as we shift to off-world technologies.

Satellites as a Service: How will Companies Use It?  
Companies like Amazon and Planet are making satellites relevant to every business and soon regular ol’ consumers. There is so much data in space that has a number of different applications and these services are making it easier to access them. Just imagine, on-demand imagery of everything. How could you use it?

Use Case (above image): Watch your house for intruders at night regardless of cloud cover or smoke for a nominal subscription fee and connect with your other security systems.
Use Case: Enable satellites to keep track of you during a long hike, which can see through vegetation. smoke. and where cell phone towers do not reach.
Use Case: Check actual traffic patterns and analyze your commute.
Use Case: Access crop health and actual sourcing of goods from the farm where you’re consuming your own food and beverages.
Use Case (Above image): Look and analyze infrastructure quality like bridges, during normal usage and during storms.
Use Case: Look for survivors and emergency crews during fires, these satellites peer through smoke. Similarly, look for which manufacturing building or forest or downed power line is producing the emissions or smoke.
Use Case: Look at actual traffic to your store, and that of competitors; validate or refute market rumors and drive better decisions with new visibility

Get the big picture of our little planet; change your business. In video games, there’s a birds eye view to see an entire map and all the players which is called “God View.” Satellites as a service gives all of us mortals god view, the implications are as vast as your imagination can take you. Our new reality is taking us to outer space. New business models will emerge, as this industry takes off.

(Images courtesy of Planet Labs, Inc. and Donald Giannatti via Unsplash )

Three Ways Companies Can Offer a Smooth Customer Experience Over a Complicated One.


Imagine having a challenge with a new product you purchased, you want to communicate via chat, but they push you to a 1-800 number, only to be put on hold, routed to various call center agents who asked you the same information time and time again — and finally only to be hung up on? Yeah, that has happened to me, and it’s not a company that I’ll recommend to others.

If you’re like me, this is a reality for many customers. I wanted to share both a vision of what an ideal customer experience looks like, as well as share some personal interactions I’ve had with brands. Today, customers have higher-than-ever expectations on companies in their interactions:

  1. Customers expect responses in near real-time and at all hours of the day. I can relate. Recently, I had a tech support issue for an internet communication device. I was on hold for nearly an hour awaiting a rep in a far-off country. What’s a sign of customer frustration? When I’ve heard the same hold music so many times that it’s repeating in my head. In an ideal state, I should be able to self-support using a pre-scripted chat bot, or access a customer community that could give excellent support. We know this: today’s customers expect speed in an on-demand world.
  2. They expect a smooth, unified experience. Like in real life, we want to speak to the right person — not be passed around like a hot potato on a hot day. Recently, my family was an innocent victim of a fender bender, and upon contacting our insurance agency, they routed us in circles to various business units for a common claim. Furthermore, to update our contact info, we had to separately contact various departments to give them our correct info — we had concerns that our claim check would not be correctly delivered to us. Data shows we’re not alone, in a recent study from eGain, customers are frustrated that 41% Different customer service agents give different answers and 34% Customer service agents don’t know the answer. We just want to get to the heart of the problem
  3. Customers expect companies to be present in the digital channels they’re familiar with. Some companies require you to use the channels that the company prefers — rather than the channels the customer already uses. With so many consumers shifting to mobile first, or mobile-only, brands need to shift their offerings. “9 out of 10 consumers globally want to talk to businesses using messaging; but only 48% of businesses are equipped to do so.” Recently, I had an issue with a product purchased at Target for a Mother’s Day gift which I shared the puzzling issue on Twitter, they responded to me on social media, within one business day, and rectified the issue with empathy, a gift card, and professional communications. They kept on the primary channel, in this case social media, and solved the issue. Nicely done. It’s in their best interest, with research showing companies with multi-channel customer service have a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention, compared to organizations who don’t provide varied options. Hey brands: fish where the fish already are.

My new contact Darryl Kelly-McDade from RingCentral, shared with me he just purchased some new $400 high-end noise cancelling headphones, but was having some issues with the active noise cancelling features. He went to headphone company’s website but it’s hard to find someone to ask a question, furthermore, he had to write down the “contact us” phone number, wrote it down, had to dial, then was presented with an automated IVR experience with seemingly endless set of choices, and poor voice recognition. Finally, he was routed to an agent that wasn’t well prepared or informed. Frustrating.

On the other hand, I’ve received a great customer experience from GoRuck, a company that makes rugged backpacks and offers even more rugged-events that I love to participate in. Their team knew my records, gave personal recommendations on products (that they actually use). Their customer support team is filled with purpose, as the staff that are repairing items are veterans. While their products are significantly more expensive than others, I know this is a brand that stands behind their quality product, as well as offers top notch customer service. They’re not alone, I Twitter-sourced a few other examples of companies that have provided a great experience.

Aside from our personal frustrations, this adds up to actual business pain problems. “42% of customers walk away from a brand in frustration and 1/5 never come back.” which means, that all that money spent in marketing and sales to close a new client, can often result in costly customer-churn, if the customer experience is not being met.

In summary, companies need to offer a delightful customer experience that spans the three areas: fast, real-time responses, unified experiences, and meet customers in the channels they expect. You can continue this conversation with RingCentral, who sponsored this post (although I wrote and edited it myself) by meeting them at Customer Contact Week 2019 in Las Vegas. Darryl and team from RingCentral will be at Booth #802 at Customer Contact Week in Las Vegas June 24-28, would love to meet you, show a demo, and introduce you to one of their customers who is doing it right, Goosehead Insurance, who maybe I need to speak to.

This post was written by me, Jeremiah Owyang, but sponsored by RingCentral. Photo credits, by Pexels, used within license.

Video: Tech Wellness Speech from Techonomy Conference, NYC

It was an honor to present at Techonomy event in NYC this spring. If I had to summarize three words to this event, it’s “Tech, Business, and Purpose”. They frequently made references to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which we should all be aligning our efforts towards.

In this short 12 minuted “TED” style speech, I spoke about the rising trend of Modern Wellbeing, where consumers are using technology to improve their own health and wellness. They’re leaning on powerful companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and hundreds of startups.

I have a longer version, and even a workshop that I’ve presented to HR leaders, you can read my other related posts on this topic, under the Modern Wellbeing category.

I’d be honored to present at your event on this important trend. See embedded video below, or access directly on the Techonomy website. I’ll be at their fall event in Half Moon Bay, see you there.

Speech: The Six Digital Eras Illuminates a Roadmap

Speaking at Digitalk, Sofia. Photo by Dan Taylor

Last week, I presented in Europe (Spark Me, and at Digitalk) the “Six Digital Eras” a roadmap on how I see the future unfolding in digital. When I first built out this framework several years ago, it was during the social media age. I noticed that the Collaborative Economy era was going to emerge, and you’ve seen my writings on that. Quickly, I could see that the next phase (fourth phase) was going to spur the autonomous era.

Now, I’m focused in on the Modern Wellbeing (aka Wellness Tech or WellTech) category as technology integrates and augments our minds, bodies, communities and space. This era focuses on the “inner space” on our bodies, but the era I’m starting to explore next is “outer space” starting with low-cost access to satellites as a service, led by companies like Amazon Cloud Services, Planet Labs, SpaceX and more.

It’s a brave new world, to see these radical eras emerge so quickly, in fact, they’re accelerating in emergence. Furthermore, the complexities increase as they overlay on top of each other, it’s not a sequence. For each of these eras, I have additional frameworks, case studies, examples, data, predictions, and recommendations that can be tailored for specific industries.

Above Image: The Six Digital Eras. Eras 1 & 2 arrived and integrated into society. We’re now focused on 3 & 4, and 5 & 6 are emerging. There are examples in each phase of the speech, with frequent audience participation.

Above Image: Key questions and insights for the six eras, tying it all together.

Above Image: Summary slides from speech, to help bind the audience into understanding and action.

I look forward to speaking at a conference or executive retreat near you, you can email me at if I may be of service to you.

Investors Bet on Wellness Tech: Startups Funded $2 Billion


Investors are betting that humans turn to tech startups for wellness solutions.

Wellness is not just a buzzword, it’s a $4.2 Trillion market and growing. It’s a movement and it’s happening now. Our society has taken a turn and people are more focused on their physical, mental and spiritual health than ever before. Being happy and healthy has evolved into a top priority.

In walks technology…Apps and startups have enabled this movement by creating technology to address our mind, fitness, sleep, diet, reproductive health, environment and beyond. WellTech has been surging with innumerable apps and companies over the last decade. Investment activity has followed in suit with over $2.2B in investment in the 97 modern wellness startups we’ve identified as of March 2019.

Why WellTech?
Rising healthcare costs have created a growing need for alternate options to address our wellness – physical, mental and spiritual. With increased healthcare costs, increased stress and ailments, and a growing trend toward happiness and health, the market is primed for wellness apps and technology. These technologies give users assistance in achieving overall wellness and help them take proactive measures for a healthy lifestyle. Modern wellness startups have stepped up to fill the gap. People are turning to consumer technology from Apple, Google, Amazon and others to solve these needs –they have less barriers to entry, despite some initial costs for hardware.

Startups Come in Four Flavors
We have classified these wellness startups into four categories: Mind, Body, Community and Space (check out our detailed infographic on this space here). Mind includes startups addressing emotion recognition, intelligent assistance therapy, mental health, mindfulness, mood shaping and stress. Body includes connected apparel, fitness, health, nutrition, sexual wellness and sleep. Community includes the busy market of on-demand fitness and wellness, cryptofitness and on-demand elder care. Lastly, Space involves air, light, scent, sleep, sound, touch and manipulation of whole space.


  • Community 37%, $811M.
  • Body has 29%, $647M.
  • Mind has 18%, $403M.
  • Space has 15%, $333M.

There are some outliers, like the newly-crowned $1B+ valued unicorn, Calm, a startup that helps users relax, sleep, or focus. Calm recently raised $88M to total their funding to $116M, a leader in the Mindfulness subcategory of the Mind category.

Community’s large amount of funding is lead by ClassPass, a subscription-based fitness app, at $239M and Practo, a medical advice and booking app, with $234M. These are both large startups that have matured and have accrued funding over the years.

Future Changes in WellTech
The Community category, which incorporates the on-demand fitness and wellness providers, is pretty saturated with lots of emerging startups and investments in the last couple of years. We expect this to flatten out.

Mindfulness has been heating up, expect more here, especially with Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app that will match funding and valuation to rival Calm. Also, be on the lookout for funding in the Intelligent Assistance Therapy sector, with startups like talkspace, an online therapy app.

Sleep startups don’t currently have the funding that other subcategories have, but we expect that to change soon. Between wearables and environment management, this is a wildly growing sector. Apple recently acquired Beddit, showing market value/

In the Body category, we’ll see growth in Nutrition startups like uBiome which provides microbiome testing, and habit that offers personalized nutrition, like highly-anticipated Lumen.

Growth Categories:
We’re often asked about the underfunded categories, as these have the most potential to grow. We see three regions that may quickly grow if new innovations are brought forth to market:

  1. New sensors and software. That can measure brain wave activity, galvanic skin response, facial recognition or accurately measure breathing are underfunded categories that may blossom into new business models
  2. Corporate Wellness Technology (CWT) Platforms. Employee wellness solutions that combine multiple features into one suite. Corporations are adopting these technologies for employee wellness, yet they are loosely strung together and lack a cohesive experience.
  3. Data and analytics that measure actual human improvements. There’s a need for analytics that combine biometrics to actually gauge if wellness practices are making a long-lasting effect beyond just simple usage this is for consumer level, crowd aggregation, and at societal level.

We’ll also see acquisitions that create super apps that offer comprehensive wellness platforms that address mind, body, community and space. Google and Apple are likely contenders in this arena, but there’s certainly room for an independent startup to take this on. Large sports brands like Nike, Under Armour and Reebok have an opportunity to step forward to lead on this, as well.

We have a spreadsheet tracking these top 100 startups and will report on a periodic basis how this market is shaping up.

Research assistance by Julie George

2019, Red Hot IPO Year for Silicon Valley


There are nearly a dozen tech Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) planned for 2019, the tech companies are scurrying to generate immense wealth before the expected 2020 recession. While many industries are seeing financial problems. pre-IPO tech companies are being heavily valued by Wall Street traders and financial analysts. Most of these companies are Collaborative Economy companies, an industry I covered with great detail over the last half decade. These online marketplaces enable the buying and selling of assets (they don’t own) between individuals. Since they don’t own most of the assets, they have great upside –and little downside. These tech companies are the darlings in business, as they prepare for a massive set of IPOs that could result in over $250 Billion in material wealth as their shares are released to the open market. Here’s a quick breakdown of their anticipated valuation of this year’s launches: 

Silicon Valley Tech Companies 2019 Expected IPOs

Company Industry Expected IPO Valuation (Billions $)
Lyft (March IPO) Collaborative Economy 21
Uber Collaborative Economy 120
Airbnb Collaborative Economy 31
Palantir Data Analytics/AI 41
Pinterest Social 12.3
Slack Enterprise Collaboration 10
Postmates Collaborative Economy 1.2
PoshMark Collaborative Economy 1
Robinhood Financial Services 5.6
Zoom Communications 1
PagerDuty Cloud Computing 1.7
Rent the Runway Collaborative Economy 1
SUM $246.8 Billion 


What it means: 

  • In 2019 expect to see these 6,000+ newly minted millionaires, most from Silicon Valley & San Francisco.
  • In about two years, 2021-2023, many of these employees will cut ways with their employer, ready to start new companies, or angel invest in the local startup community.
  • Despite the other industries to be in an expected recession, tech startups may still be seeing funding.
  • Who wins: Entrepreneurs, tech workers, VCs, LPs, Silicon Valley real estate owners, and developers.
  • Who loses: Renters seeking to buy a home, non-tech workers, Silicon Valley traffic.
  • More innovation will come out of Silicon Valley, as additional funds are injected into the ecosystem.

Hat tip Joely Urton for market knowledge. Photos used via Pexels