‘We want to be partners, not vendors to our customers’

‘We want to be partners, not vendors to our customers’

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Bert Turner, Senior Vice President, Sales, DigitalGlobe
Bert Turner
Senior Vice President, Sales, DigitalGlobe

Speaking for the first time after the DigitalGlobe-GeoEye merger, Bert Turner, Senior Vice President, Sales, DigitalGlobe, explains how the combined company has benefitted in terms of upgrading its processes, expertise and technology

It has been almost seven months since the combination with GeoEye closed. How is the combined entity placed in terms of capabilities it has to serve the US market?
We are incredibly pleased with our progress in the last seven months and are actually ahead of our planned schedule. The integration is complex and involves enormous amount of human capital and investment to make the combination successful. What is particularly exciting about the combination is the fact that many of our legacy capabilities are complementary rather than overlapping.

We think about our business in three ways. One is data or imagery. Second is information — adding value to the core imagery layer. And the third is insight, where we take the data and information and add some form of human intelligence on top of it to conduct analysis and derive an answer. The capabilities of the combined company have significantly enhanced all the three areas of our business.

DigitalGlobe has registered impressive growth in terms of Internet-based geospatial services. Could you elaborate?
We deal with big data, which is often difficult to manage and make available to the end users. When we talk about Internet- based services, it is often centred on cloud platforms, which allows easier access of big data. We have partnerships with most of the major global location-based service providers, which enable us to deliver our imagery and capabilities to the end users and consumers in a scalable fashion.

For the past seven months, DigitalGlobe has been pro- actively interacting with a broad set of end users. We have started to better understand end-user workflows by discovering what users do a minute before and a minute after they analyse our imagery. We also understand workflows of various personas within our targeted industries.

In the days of increasing accuracies, reducing turnaround times and increasing bandwidths, what can a user expect from DigitalGlobe?
The integration of GeoEye has been intense over the last seven months. During this time, we have significantly upgraded our expertise, processes and technology. This investment will allow us to deliver incremental value to our customers.

As stated in our annual report, we experienced incredible growth in 2012. In reference to our partnership with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) we are laser focused on fulfilling our commitments as part of EnhancedView. There is no doubt that we see opportunities to improve how we deliver on the contract as well as how we expand our relationship with the NGA.

Going beyond the US markets, which are the regions where you see business potential?
Over the past few years, we have seen growth in the broader geospatial market. Countries and regions such as Russia, Latin America, Africa and India are where we are seeing the greatest potential. We are especially excited about India and believe the timing is right for exponential growth in this country.

In many of these markets, Digital– Globe is going through partners or distributors. What kind of business models will you follow in nurturing such markets?
We are very comfortable with how we are going into these markets now and we are leveraging our global ecosystem, which involves partners and resellers. We are going to partner with companies that understand the vision of being an information company versus a data or imagery provider. Part of this approach, is to invest more aggressively with certain partners that can help propel us into being the indispensible source of information about our changing planet.

We are a company that believes in focus. This year we are focusing heavily on the integration and realisation of synergies. We also have a focus on select markets and applications that will allow us to execute on our vision of the indispensable source of information about our changing planet.

As a leader in the commercial remote sensing industry, what kind of responsibilities is DigitalGlobe taking to nurture the industry?
We take great pride in being a pioneer in this industry as well as a thought leader. Our purpose, vision and values are taken very seriously by our entire DigitalGlobe team and we will continue to fulfill our purpose to save lives, resources and time. One of the surprise acquisitions in the recent past by DigitalGlobe is Tomnod.

What was the rationale behind the Tomnod acquisition?
Tomnod was an important acquisition for us. Tomnod facilitates the crowd to do rapid, large-scale analysis of satellite imagery, particularly in cases of natural and man-made disasters. As an example, using the Tomnod capabilities, Digital– Globe was able to help quickly assess the detailed damage of the recent tornado in Oklahoma and turn that information into actionable insight.

DigitalGlobe’s forthcoming launch is WorldView-3. What can we expect from this satellite in terms of the product? WorldView-3 will be a game changer in the industry with a panchromatic resolution of 31-cm, short-wave infrared capabilities. The unique capabilities of WorldView-3 will create new applications across a variety of industries, giving our customers new insight to complex problems.