ESA's User Support Office opens door to small companies
ESA Telecom has decided to improve the way it does business, following the launch of its innovative User Support Office (USO).
The USO functions as a single point of contact for all companies, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who wish to work with ESA in the fast-moving satellite communications sector.
"The USO is a new development for ESA," said USO coordinator Andrea Cotellessa. "It has been set up around the requirements of start-ups and SMEs who may never have worked with the Agency before, but have some promising ideas to take further."
With demand for new multimedia and mobile services increasing faster than existing terrestrial infrastructure can accommodate, satellite technology increasingly fills the gap. In the process, a new market for innovative satcom applications and services is being created.
The USO facilitates the access of new entrant companies to ESA's research and development partnership initiatives within this market, help them during their project lifetime then provide assistance with subsequent market development.
ESA Telecom's USO also liaises with the Agency's Industrial Matters and Technology Programme Directorate, specifically when initiatives are dedicated to SMEs.
A portfolio of services and facilities are offerred by the USO, all of which are accessible online. It includes an overview of current ESA initiatives on offer to SMEs, training sessions about current satcom technology plus the structure of ESA itself. Document templates and software tools are also available to assist with managing a project once work with ESA has started.
The dedicated call centre provides fast troubleshooting while a web-based bulletin board enables co-operation between different projects. Online expert groups provide a space to discuss specialist issues of interest to project partners, on subjects spanning telemedicine to digital cinema.
The USO also enables access to a wide range of ESA resources including technical advisors, leased satellite capacity as well as perhaps the most wired vehicle on Earth - a commercial van kitted out with advanced multimedia systems for project testing.
A European wide network of Local Agents is available to facilitate the coordination between industry, national delegations and the Agency so as to match USO initiatives with the different national situations.
For more information and to put your own company forward, please contact the ESA Telecom's User Support Office.