Dallas Lee is a friendly, knowledgeable, self-proclaimed “tireless KVH fanatic” from Dallas, Texas. He is the vice president of sales at David Lee Marketing, but if you ask him, he wears a lot of hats. From vendor liaison, sales manager, facilitator, and distributor, he does it all. Dallas has been a partner with KVH since 2003, and is passionate about bringing modernized SATCOM equipment to the oil field. I had but one simple question for him: “Why?” I wanted to know what made him so passionate about the industry and, more specifically, KVH. Lucky for me, he was driving from Oklahoma to Dallas, so I had plenty of time for him to elaborate.
“It’s the people,” Dallas said simply. “I’ve been friends with the people over at KVH since I started in this industry. We brought the TracVision A5, which is now the TracVision A7, from the drawing board to the marketplace. We’ve built great things. This is what really got me interested in the satellite communications industry and it took off from there. In Oklahoma there’s such a need for exploration and broadband in the oil and gas industry because these rigs and wells are located in remote areas. From a hardware and software perspective, KVH is bringing something new, compact, and reliable – something the oil and gas industry hasn’t seen.”
As we continued our conversation, I had to ask him about his truck, which is wrapped with the KVH mini-VSAT Broadband logo. More importantly to Dallas: “This truck is the M.A.N.” Translation: M.A.N. stands for mobile area network. Dallas explained to me that at these remote work locations there is limited or no cell reception. To stay connected with the home office, his truck acts as a mobile hot spot utilizing KVH’s TracPhone V3-IP to allow him to connect wirelessly to the Internet and receive great voice coverage whereever his truck may be. In fact, he is using the M.A.N. for many of the same tasks that his oil and gas exploration customers find interesting. Dallas can update reporting in the CRM, monitor daily operations, and be more efficient. Without such a service he would have to wait until he returned to the office, or when he had cell reception, which could be hours or days in some cases. It’s anything but convenient to have to wait to complete these daily tasks. “People in the oil and gas industry put in lots of miles on the road; it made perfect sense to make my vehicle my mobile office,” says Dallas.
The M.A.N. will be on display in the KVH booth #511 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston, May 5-8, and other trade show events to display the network capabilities. “My dad has always been a real advocate of demonstrating what a product can really do. Instead of talking about the capabilities, I can really show people the power and flexibility,” says Dallas. “When a prospect interacts with this vehicle for the first time, I always see this great ‘Wow!’ moment. The oil and gas industry is primarily used to dealing with these very large old parabolic antennas that are not easy to move around or install. People are shocked that they can get all of that in such a small package. They are impressed with the in-motion capability, size, footprint, and how easy it is to deploy. It really gets them thinking.”
Dallas kept returning to the idea that people working in remote oil fields need the same things as people working anywhere else – connectivity. Smartphones and tablets are essential in today’s digital society and are especially important in the workplace. Young people entering the oil and gas industry are expecting mobile devices to assist in making them work smarter. At a remote field site, where there is often limited cell coverage, the only thing that will give them the type of connectivity they expect is KVH’s M.A.N., which doesn’t have any dead zones in the continental U.S. For Dallas, his truck is the perfect way to show an everyday practical application of this unique hardware, and how it can apply to their business. The M.A.N.!
Another special thing about this vehicle: It has been equipped to take compressed natural gas (CNG), as well as gasoline. CNG is an abundant resource in Oklahoma, where his offices are located, and is extremely clean and cost efficient. Putting in all of these miles isn’t as expensive with this domestic alternative fuel source. Oklahoma is a large proponent of CNG and the local and state governments offer incentives to those who buy CNG vehicles.
“Having connectivity on the road has made my job exponentially easier!” said Dallas. “Everyday job tasks, technical support, even safety concerns can be alleviated, because if I ever need something I can make a quick call, or hop on the computer and there’s always a reliable connection.” Dallas also explained that KVH provides a “turnkey solution for customers.” KVH does the R&D, manufacturing, network support, and has an unsurpassed mobile footprint unlike any other provider. As a final thought I wanted to know what his opinions were on upcoming industry trends. He laughed and said, “Hopefully after being able to see the functionality of the V3-IP on my truck, this will inspire others to employ this technology on their vehicle fleets.”