Background to the company
Transfinite Systems has it's origins in the satellite communications industry and was formed at a time when the industry was in a phase of very rapid change. In September 1994 the satellite communications industry was on the edge of a revolution. A number of organisations were proposing systems that would utilise constellations of non-geostationary satellites for communications services.
Mobile satellite terminals and even satellite telephones had been around for some time, but the crucial idea of LEO and ICO constellations broke down two barriers to widespread commercial success:
- As the satellites were much closer, lower power, hence light user terminals were conceivable.
- The delay in a two-way communication via a GSO satellite (latency) could be eliminated.
Initial reactions were unfavourable due to perceived technical difficulties and the proposed cost vs. the projected markets. In hindsight these reactions were justified, as very few of the systems proposed are operational today.
The organisations involved could, however, rightly be thought of as pioneering. The systems proposed by Inmarsat (then ICO) , Iridium, Globalstar and Odyssey, attracted a great deal of attention, from spectrum managers who could see the how they would change the traditional approach to sharing.
Very quickly the radiocommunications community had to take the launch and operation of these systems very seriously - the implications for spectrum sharing and interference analysis were profound. Visualyse was driven by our objective to address this issue.
However, we always had a longer view and a higher ambition. The original concept was wider than just an non-GSO satellite modelling tool.
Visualyse - the original concept
Visualyse was originally conceived as a general interference analysis tool that would be applicable to all possible sharing scenarios that could arise No commercial product was available, though many organisations were developing software for their specific needs.
The problems associated with in-house software development include:
- You never get quite what you expect;
- No-one else quite believes your software works correctly.
Visualyse was intended to address all these issues. It would be a professionally developed and supported, off the shelf package that would become a standard tool for all interference analysis and spectrum management tasks:
- The purchase price would be a fraction of the development cost;
- The finished product could be assessed before any money was committed;
- Many other people would have the same product and would trust the results.
The goals were challenging but achievable, the early feedback from potential clients was good.
Since the first release, Visualyse has gone through 5 major upgrades and we are currently on Visualyse Professional Version 7. We have also developed and released other products aimed at very specific jobs such as earth station coordination and GSO satellite coordination. Full details of these are in the software section of this site.
The development of a consultancy
The second side to our business, expert consultancy, has developed and broadened over the years. We were involved from the beginning in ITU-R Study Group work on behalf of a number of clients. Excellent relationships with I-CO, the UK Radio Communications Agency and lately Ofcom have kept us involved with the process at national and international level. In the past 5 years we have become more involved with the nuts and bolts of satellite coordination and with technical inputs to regulatory policy and spectrum management issues.