Satellite communications company migrates north to Ottawa

Satellite communications provider VT iDirect Inc. has come north, setting up a home base in Ottawa as its first Canadian office.

A subsidiary of VT Systems, Inc., an engineering company in aerospace and electronics, iDirect focuses more on satellite communications. It offers Internet Protocol-based satellite technology, powering connections for companies in the maritime, military, government, and oil and gas industries.

The reasons behind iDirect’s decision to set up shop in Ottawa were simple, says Rob Kilroy, vice-president of Americas.

“I really see us as a premier enabler of satellite communications throughout Canada,” he says. “I think we’ve got the right technology, the right people … and offer the right services that are so greatly in demand right now.”

(Image: iDirect. Rob Kilroy, vice president of Americas, iDirect).
(Image: iDirect. Rob Kilroy, vice president of Americas, iDirect).

Looking toward the future, Canada has a wealth of natural resources at its disposal – and many companies looking to take advantage of them, he says. Government and military communications also rely on satellites to relay messages from northern areas back to Ottawa, the seat of the federal government, Kilroy adds.

“[With] the funding that’s going into northern Canada … as oil, gas, and mining start playing so much more important roles in our economy, satellites are a crucial part of setting up foundations for communications,” he says.

Rural communities in northern regions stand to benefit from using satellites to communicate, Kilroy adds. Plus, it’s expected nowadays that to encourage talented workers to move up north, they have to be able to communicate with their families, download movies, and generally be entertained when they live in remote areas.

In terms of finding its own employees, iDirect had been contracting out work to engineers living in Ottawa for the past eight years or so, so it just seemed natural to tap into the talent pool there and hire them as official employees, Kilroy says.

The company now employs 16 to 18 people in its office on Ottawa’s Morrison Drive, its headquarters in Canada, with more than 500 people in its employ since it was founded in 1994. iDirect moved to its new office in January.

A number of iDirect’s partners are also headquartered in Canada, Kilroy adds. Telesat Holdings Inc., SSi Micro Ltd., DataDrill Communications Inc., Virgin Technologies Inc., and Juch-Tech Inc. are all clients of iDirect, working with the company as network operators to sell satellite communications technology to end users.

All of these factors make Canada a good place to do business, Kilroy says.

“One of the things that’s driving satellite growth in Canada is just the different vertical markets and just driving the economy right now as well. Satellites is one of the enablers for communicators … for a lot of natural resources, government communications up north,” he says.
“The further we go up to northern regions … the more challenging it is to do communications. And we can’t let that progress slow down because then the economic engine slows down.”

The Canadian office joins the ranks of VT iDirect’s other international offices. Besides its headquarters in Herndon, V.A., it has outposts in the U.K., Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Dubai.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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