C-COM started off 2019 with a bang.
The C-COM Dividend Program (CDP), which was designed to reward ALL Company employees if quarterly sales targets are hit, was paid out to staff after our massive final quarter of 2018. The Company then reported for the 2018 Fiscal Year a 30% increase in revenues, and a near 100% increase in profits, when compared to 2017.
The global economy was mostly firm, if not a bit unpredictable. The mobile antenna market appeared to be making a shift from several years of stagnation, and C-COM was winning projects with both new and existing partnerships, in different regions, with unique solutions in various verticals. The Company was nearing production of a new antenna solution (the iNetVu® Manpack) and results were positive and ongoing from our Electronically Steerable Phased Array development.
And so, things were looking bright for not just C-COM, but for the entire satellite business.
Despite our optimism, sales in 2019 were somewhat choppy. Oil & gas markets were extremely slow, what with the price collapsing below $50/bbl late in 2018. A few significant antenna projects were either pushed back or cancelled. The Company also battled with some production delays and an order slowdown over the summer. In fact, the Company posted its first quarterly loss in over 9 years in Q3 2019, breaking a streak of 33 consecutive profitable 3-month periods.
While this was a result of a major $4M order from Asia of 100+ manpack antennas being pushed into Q4 delivery, it was still sad to see this amazing record fall. The Company still owns a track record of 14 straight profitable years, and we are hopeful that 2019 results will keep this streak alive.
New tech was the story of the year: C-COM was able to successfully track two different LEO Constellations using COTP antenna systems. In April, the Company announced that our iNetVu FLY-981 antenna successfully acquired signal to Toronto based Kepler Communications’ nanosats and achieved data transfer speeds of more than 100Mbps down and 30Mbps up. In September, C-COM developed a new antenna (iNetVu FLY-74) that was approved for tracking the nanosats produced by NSLComm, an Israeli Ka-band CubeSat constellation manufacturer.
The market continues to meander down the NGSO satellite path and, without question, C-COM will be leading the charge towards providing effective solutions for these markets.
While the satellite business continues to move into the mainstream, with announcements from heavyweights like SpaceX, Amazon, Facebook, Virgin, and others about their involvements in the LEO/MEO markets, the onus has shifted to the antenna manufacturers. Can you provide an affordable electronically steerable phased array antenna for commercial and consumer use? For these NGSO constellations to succeed – this breakthrough will be absolutely essential.
These new constellations, when fully deployed, will number in the tens of thousands of satellites. They will require advanced and highly efficient antenna technology. C-COM is working diligently towards this solution.
In May, the Company received a 2nd patent for its phased array antenna: a novel calibration and system identification method for identifying defective building blocks on a phased array. C-COM’s first patent, a unique passive phase shifter which will be crucial for the development of such low cost electronically steerable antennas, is being tested by CIARS (Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems) at the University of Waterloo, for the eventual productization of this technology.
Often in our travels, we talk with people who are surprised by the size of C-COM. They tout our unique global presence and aggressive marketing campaigns and assume we are much larger than we actually are. Few are aware that the Company consists of only 32 people: dedicated engineers, accountants, salespeople, marketers, technical support staff, production and design teams, testing, integration and warehouse personnel, operating from one facility in Ottawa, Canada.
C-COM is a force of productivity, generating significant revenues and net profit per employee, while continually improving the quality of our existing product lines, designing new solutions, and creating strong partnerships.
We are not a ‘Little Engine that Could’ – we are a ‘Little Engine that DOES’.
Our team is exceptional, and they deserve all the credit for the Company’s success.
Thanks to all C-COM personnel for a great year and we look forward to many future accomplishments.
And to you, our customers: We certainly cannot do this without your loyal support.
Thanks for all your hard work in making the iNetVu® product, along with your support, the ultimate solution to your customers.
We deliver you the bread, but for your customer, you bring them a nice piece of buttered toast.
You make us all look good.
Wishing you and your families – a wonderful Holiday Season.
And Cheers to a massive 2020!
Drew Klein, Vice President