Tang said having appropriate rules and connectivity for non-line-of-sight drones could have a significant impact on response efforts in the wake of significant natural or man-made events.

“Previously, the only way to go out and survey huge expanses of area was to hire or rent a helicopter or some other kind of aircraft, pilot it out to the space and take some pictures,” he said.

“Today, with UAVs, RPAs and drones pack with sensors that can see all kinds of things, you can go out and take a look at these areas. The expert can be safe in an armchair, watching a video monitor, and say, ‘Based on what you sent back, I can tell from that sensor that we have a problem there. Let’s fly in a little closer while you are still there and take a closer look.’”

In other scenarios, ensuring that equipment is easy to use is another priority for Inmarsat Government, Tang said.

“There are a lot of agencies that we work with that—at a drop of a hat—have to throw something into their backpack, because the big stuff isn’t going to fit,” he said. “They have to do this in 4 to 24 hours, jump on a plane and go to some part of the world they weren’t planning for. They have to get on the ground quickly and be able to have communications.

“When they use Inmarsat equipment, what you’ll find is there is no more than one to three buttons on any of these [devices], and often the operation of it is as simple as pushing one button and coming online immediately … It’s a very simple operation. It’s built for mobility. It’s built for people who don’t have a lot time to be constantly trained on complex hardware and complex network configurations. They just want to be able to go, push a button to turn it on, and it works. That’s really what’s behind satcom as a service.”