Amazon’s Project Kuiper: Using LEOs to eliminate the digital divide

It is called Project Kuiper and last week at AWS re:Invent 2023, it was hailed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) chief executive officer (CEO) Adam Selipsky as a technology breakthrough that  will “provide coverage in places that have had never had coverage before.”

Selipsky made the statement during the conclusion of a more than two-hour long opening day keynote address in which he delved into a litany of announcements revolving around generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), cloud, and hardware advances the company is focusing on.

Project Kuiper is Amazon’s new low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network that Selipsky said will soon be able to service two distinct groups –  those individuals in locations that have virtually no reliable internet connections, thus helping to close the “digital divide,” as well as private organizations and government agencies.

“Now, the possibilities for consumers is enormous, but so too are the benefits to businesses and governments,” he said. “And there are all sorts of use cases like renewable energy providers who want to analyze data in real time from offshore wind farms. Or first responders who need fast, reliable connections during natural disasters, or organizations that are looking for connectivity backup in case of an unplanned outage.

“Kuiper is going to help to make all of this possible. And AWS customers are already planning for the opportunities that this opens up to connect to their facilities, their sensors, their data, their networks.”

For those customers who prefer or demand that their data not be transmitted over the public internet, at re:Invent AWS announced an enterprise-ready private connectivity service that will allow enterprise and public sector organizations to “move data privately from a remote location directly into AWS, without ever touching the public internet.”

A blog released on the day of his keynote stated that there are “three main pieces of the Kuiper system that move data throughout the network: ground infrastructure, satellites and customer terminals. The ground infrastructure includes gateway antennas that securely send and receive data to and from satellites.”

At re:Invent, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), NTT DOCOMO, Inc., NTT  Communications Corporation (NTT Com), and SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. announced that they have formed a strategic collaboration with Amazon around Project Kuiper. The companies said they expect to use its satellite connectivity services to enhance communications availability and resiliency for Japanese customers.

There was an abundance of other announcements made last week and they included:

  • Montreal-based Syntax Systems announced the launch of Syntax CxLink Backup for Oracle databases at re:Invent. According to the company, the offering addresses a critical need for enterprise customers running Oracle databases: Enterprise teams managing multiple clouds and stores of data each with their own routine for proper storage now have access to a tool that simplifies backup and recovery processes as well as disaster recovery strategies, the company said.
  • SAS signed a collaboration agreement with AWS with plans to help organizations extract “maximum value and performance from their data in the cloud.” SAS now offers SAS Customer Intelligence 360, a customer experience offering, in AWS Marketplace. According to a SAS release, “The addition to AWS Marketplace is an initial customer benefit of the agreement that spans a broad range of initiatives focusing on key industries like financial services, public sector, retail and life sciences, with the goal of helping customers accelerate their digital transformation journeys.”
  • IBM is working with AWS on the general availability of Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for Db2, a cloud offering designed to make it easier for database customers to manage data for artificial intelligence (AI) workloads across hybrid cloud environments. “Digital transformation is a strategic imperative for nearly every one of our clients,” said Dinesh Nirmal, senior vice president of products, IBM Software. “By working with AWS to bring Db2 to Amazon RDS, we are helping companies prepare for the next generation of applications, analytics and AI workloads that will power the modern economy.”
  • Salesforce and AWS expanded their partnership that the two said will “allow customers to more easily build trusted AI apps, deliver seamless CRM experiences” and bring Salesforce products to AWS Marketplace. “As part of this partnership, Salesforce will expand its use of AWS, including compute, storage, data, and AI technologies through Hyperforce to further enhance popular services like Salesforce Data Cloud,” a release stated. “AWS will also expand its use of Salesforce products such as Salesforce Data Cloud. Data Cloud will allow AWS to create a single unified customer profile allowing them to deliver more personalized experiences to customers.”
  • Cisco delivered enhanced integration between its ThousandEyes offering and Amazon CloudWatch Internet Monitor (CWIM), a new internet monitoring service from AWS.

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. His work has appeared in a number of technology magazines and online with the subject matter ranging from cybersecurity issues and the evolving world of edge computing to information management and artificial intelligence advances.

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