Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Inaugural Member Meeting Brings the HAPS Community Together

By Matthew Nicholson, HAPS Alliance Marketing and Communications Working Group Chair

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just a little over a year since we formed the HAPS Alliance. Our focus has been on awareness, education, and outreach, but this year we’ll have an increased focus on interoperability and standards, as well as understanding some of the fundamental economic challenges that we need to address for HAPS to scale.

To dive into these opportunities, we held our first annual member meeting. With over two days of sessions (27-28 April), the meeting featured 90 people from 35 HAPS Alliance member companies, representing 15 different countries. Members were able to hear all the latest news about HAPS and how the Alliance is working to open up the stratosphere for applications such as telecoms, observation and weather forecasting.

HAPS Alliance President Ken Riordan kicked off the meeting with a welcome and keynote speech highlighting ways to take a holistic view of how the Alliance’s work fits into advancing the HAPS ecosystem.

“We know that the opportunity for HAPS is broader than just telecoms – but the focus is there, and over the past 12 months and even before, the narrative within our industry has very much been about 5G and the Internet of Things. The challenges that some of these new use cases represent can be, we believe, very meaningfully enhanced by a stratospheric HAPS layer,” Riordan said.

“At the same time, it’s even more important that solutions like HAPS can be brought to commercial viability, to address the digital divide and to meaningfully improve upon coverage in developing countries. In areas like North and Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, there still exist huge challenges that HAPS is fundamentally well-targeted to pursue,” Riordan continued.

Members also heard from HAPS Alliance Officers and Executive Board of Directors as well as our Aviation, Telecommunications and Marketing Working Group Leaders on Alliance achievements over the past year and the future of HAPS technology. The meeting was open to all employees from active HAPS Alliance member companies and organizations, and the presentations from the meeting are available to Alliance members. Throughout the meeting, there were also four breakout discussions each led by a panel of Chairs from the Aviation, Telecommunications and Marketing Working Groups:

  • Session 1: Accelerate Commercial Adoption
  • Session 2: Regulatory and Safety Landscape for HAPS Technology
  • Session 3: Thought Leadership & Education
  • Session 4: R&D and Standards Collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia

To find out more about the benefits of membership, including opportunities for collaboration with other organizations to influence regulatory direction, to build a cooperative ecosystem and to promote HAPS, please visit our membership page.