VSAT Innovation: Hughes Reinventing Connectivity for India’s Gas Stations


A very small aperture terminal (VSAT) is a two-way satellite ground station with a dish antenna that is smaller than 3.8 meters – Hughes Communication is reinventing connectivity with the help of this means of communications and redefining the way connectivity is getting enabled for a large number of India’s Gas Stations.

Speaking on this development, Shivaji Chaterjee, Senior Vice President and Business Head for Enterprise Business, Hughes Communication India Limited explained, “One of the projects which we think is very interesting is the Oil Retail Automation. Yes, we have huge number of petrol pumps in India and they used to work in a very traditional way. Things were not automated. Now the whole industry is changing fast. There was a kind of artificial sealing on the oil rates and the government is to bear the gap and subsidy.

Then diesel was subsidized in India. But since last few years the government has removed all subsidies. So now it’s a free market pricing. More than that now the government has mandated that every day – the price will change. So, now this industry needs tremendous amount of automation to control all this,” he added.

  Shivaji Chaterjee – Hughes Communication India Limited

The majority of VSAT antennas range from 75 cm to 1.2 m. Data rates, in most cases, range from 4 kbit/s up to 16 Mbit/s. VSATs access satellites in geosynchronous orbit or geostationary orbit to relay data from small remote Earth stations (terminals) to other terminals (in mesh topology) or master Earth station “hubs” (in star topology). This type of connectivity delivers high level of resilient communications – which is exactly what this segment needs.

“Additionally, the kind of control and efficiency you need to build in the supply chain is very high that is you need to monitor what’s the oil tank level. Is the sales and oil tank in same? Is the degree of petrol and diesel, the quality, is that good enough? When you do a credit card swipe is it getting automatically connected in a secured manner? When you do fleet cards and loyalty and truck tracking, so there are lot of applications which are there and the government has basically asked all the petrol pumps to get all this automated, which is to run a retail automation and have a network.

As a result, today we at Hughes, are doing projects worth about 9000 sites and in this next phase, there are RFP’s being awarded for 30,000 sites. So we feel that as an industry about 40,000 petrol pumps are going to get VSAT connectivity within a period of 18 months,” he added.

Started in January this year and till June next year, there is a transformation of this industry that is happening at a fast pace and it’s not just VSAT provider connectivity, but once the automation happens then it becomes a point of service and interface.

“Now if you go to the western world, the gas station runs the only convenient stores after 7.30 PM in the night. So there is a lot of scope here, as gas stations are the best real estate in the country, in the cities they have good space, lot of the space is kind of empty and can be utilized well if it has proper connectivity infrastructure. The whole industry is going through a transformation and we are playing a vital role here,” he explained.

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