As seen in the February 23, 2009, COMPTEL Connection
TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS)
Headquarters: Annapolis, Maryland
Q: What does your company do and how long has it been in operation?
As a 21-year-old data communications company, TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) (NASDAQ: TSYS) engineers and delivers highly reliable wireless communications technology. TCS is a leader in wireless text messaging and location-based technology, including E9-1-1 services and commercial applications like navigation that use the precise location of a wireless device, and secure satellite-based communications systems and services. Customers include leading wireless and VoIP carriers around the world, cable MSOs, automotive telematics vendors, and agencies of the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security. TCS is one of six primary vendors on a $5 billion Army Worldwide Satellite Systems Contract vehicle.
Q: To what do you attribute your company’s success in the communications industry?
TCS has had the opportunity to hire some of the best and brightest in telecommunications. We have a strong mix of government and commercial solutions which have provided the company with a long-term and stable growth model. We build end-to-end solutions and partner with some of the best technology companies in the world. The strength of our engineering staff and the innovative solutions they have brought to the market have served as the bedrock of TCS’ success.
Q: What have been the biggest obstacles your company has faced in the marketplace?
We have had to endure through some pretty tough economic times. As a result, we have learned to focus on proper expense management. Also, as a technology company, it can be difficult to properly time the market. When you have great people with great ideas, you sometimes bring those ideas to market early. Having a highly-diversified set of solutions that we market to both government and commercial customers allows us to manage this challenge.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenges going forward?
Getting your client to see the world as you see it can sometimes be challenging. We have frequently anticipated problems or opportunities long before they hit the mainstream. We must make sure that our engineering prowess does not get too far ahead of where the current market is demanding. We must find ways to put a voice to our vision of the future. This can be difficult for mid-sized, diversified companies. We don’t have the size that causes the broad media to take notice, and we don’t have the laser focus of the small entrepreneurial company that can get the industry buzzing about a topic (even if they disappear within a year’s time). Instead, we must chart a steady course forward and be prudent about how we communicate the challenges that we see and the solutions that we can present. Finding that balance can be difficult.
Q: What have been some of your company’s most recent achievements (new customer wins, new service/product deployment, etc.)?
Our company has three main Business Units, and each has had some excellent successes. Our Commercial Software business has enjoyed stellar revenue growth in the past two years as the text-messaging craze has taken the United States by storm. We provide text messaging solutions that we expect to deliver around 200 Billion messages this year, about 25% of the US industry. Our Public Safety business has solved critical E9-1-1 challenges for the Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and Cable digital telephone industries. Because of these solutions, it is possible for Cable and VoIP operators to offer 9-1-1 service to their customers, no matter where their customers connect into the widespread data communications networks within the US. It is highly gratifying to know that TCS is providing technologies that help to save lives by delivering the location of the caller, in real time, to the E9-1-1 communications professional who is taking your emergency call. And our Government business recently landed a contract worth over $250M over five years, a contract which provides a highly complex and varied array of deployable and point-to-point secure communications solutions to the Army and other Federal agencies. These solutions keep our soldiers and federal officials connected to the voice and data networks that they use to help to keep us safe and which help to keep them safe when in dangerous and isolated environments.
Q: Why is it important for your company to be a COMPTEL member?
TCS is right at home being a member of an organization that focuses on entrepreneurial companies that build and deploy next-generation networks, TCS’ mantra is “Enabling Convergent Technologies®”, and that mantra clearly resonates with an organization like COMPTEL whose mission is to work with companies that provide competitive voice, data, and video (i.e., converged) services. The technological innovation that TCS has brought to market has clearly improved the quality of life of all Americans, whether it be through text messaging, precise location applications, innovative E9-1-1 services, or secure satellite communications. In short, COMPTEL’s focus highly overlaps TCS’ interests.