MELBOURNE, FLA. — The turnkey provider of customized network, broadcast and digital signage systems and services known as USSI Global is celebrating its 35th anniversary.
As part of this commemoration, the company is helping broadcasters mitigate interference of the long-standing C-Band satellite spectrum to make room for new 5G services — among other things.
USSI Global is also providing ground station and user terminal services across the globe for LEO satellite internet providers, and offering indoor and outdoor digital signage solutions – plus a suite of repair and sparing solutions – to ensure optimum uptime.
“Our ability to adapt to technological changes and support the world’s digital transformation is really what has kept us relevant and growing over the years,” said President/CEO David S. Christiano. “Our core business is global field services, which has opened up opportunities for us to offer turnkey solutions. We start where everyone else finishes.”
USSI was established in 1985 to cater to the emerging VSAT (very-small-aperture terminal) technology, a two-way satellite system that became extremely popular when the U.S. government broke up AT&T in the 1980s. USSI Global created an installation and maintenance network, building its workforce by training satellite TV installers to be satellite data technicians and recruiting a field engineer network that today is the most experienced in the broadcast television industry.
USSI Global briefly went public in 1989. Two years later, executives returned the company to private status and business boomed. Since 1991, USSI Global has installed more than 100,000 VSAT systems, providing two-way communication for service industries throughout the world. Today, USSI Global’s most prominent business is supporting television broadcasters, providing program management, installation, maintenance, 24/7 technical support, engineering, logistics, and repair services.
For almost four decades, USSI Global has supported a major US network’s satellite distribution and affiliate network in all 50 states. Other companies such as Sinclair, Fox, Discovery Channel, and Telemundo also depend on USSI Global each day to maintain and refresh their technology.
Digital signage projects commenced in 1995, and the market has grown into a major focus for USSI Global. In fact, the company’s Digital Signage Division has completed more than 50,000 site installs, and also offers customized maintenance plans as well as content distribution services.
Recently, USSI Global completed an update of outdoor menu boards for a major quick serve restaurant (QSR) chain, providing full excavation, electrical wiring, and panel installation. Christiano expects to see most QSRs digitize their outdoor menus, as COVID-19 restrictions have increased the use of drive-thru service. ”Why have static menus when you can have dynamic content that you can control digitally?” he said. “We’re currently in the planning stages with other QSRs digitizing their drive thrus. It’s convenient and it works well. We also provide display repair services for Samsung and others.”
Beyond its established digital signage business, USSI Global is expanding to new vertical markets. For example, EV chargers are in the near future plans. An estimated 10 percent of cars in the United States will be electric by 2030, which will require more than 1 million charging stations to be added to current refueling infrastructures. Christiano sees an opportunity to integrate chargers with touchscreen kiosks to deliver advertising and other messages to consumers, similar to digital signage systems the company has already deployed at convenience stores and restaurants. Also, USSI Global is working in the lab to integrate IoT and AI into its solutions.
While COVID-19 presented a challenge for new project work this year, Christiano said service and maintenance work through USSI Global’s Electronic Business and Consumer Solutions remained strong. “We never missed a beat,” he added. “We have a great team, and I think we’re much stronger as a company. With proper precautions, we’ve been able to support our customers in the field, and we’ve identified new lines of business needed for COVID-19 and beyond.”
Over the next decade, USSI Global’s Broadcast and Network Division plans to provide LEO ground station support for satellite-based internet. The company already handles installation and maintenance for the bulk of transmission repeaters used for satellite radio, and continues to assist broadcasters with OTT technology.
During the next three years, USSI Global will also remain focused on stabilizing U.S. broadcast TV quality with 5G/C-Band Interference Mitigation services while clearing the way for 5G. “Tens of thousands of antennas across the country have to be filtered to avoid 5G interference,” Christiano said. “We’re well-positioned for this project – we’re already installing new antennas and supporting the transition that needs to take place.”
— Reporting by Brian Galante. Editing by Adam Jacobson, in Melbourne, Fla.