Purdue University - Department of Computer Science - Bob Balog: Connectivity on Land and at Sea

Bob Balog: Connectivity on Land and at Sea


Writer(s): Kristyn Childres

Bob Balog (BS ’87) is the senior vice president of engineering for KVH Industries, a company that enables mobility for users at sea, on land and in the air.

Connectivity at sea

KVH provides complete connectivity to people on the move. They offer internet service to maritime users across the world, as well as phone service, news, music and movies.

The alternative is often no connectivity at all. Bob says, “Here in Rhode Island, if you go about 25 miles offshore, you go right back to 1970. You have no cell phone service, no data. Television starts to fade out because the satellite television content providers don’t pump coverage out into the ocean. You don’t have to go very far to realize that you really miss being connected.”

KVH provides that service to vessels all over the world. They maintain and monitor the network and connect to and analyze data from all of the sensors on the vessel (monitoring things like engine RPM, speed and fuel levels). They process that data and combine it with other available information, like weather data, to produce a host of analytics and performance charts. The company also offers stabilized tracking antennas that enable television service on airplanes, vans and buses.

Navigation and stabilization for the defense industry and commercial use

KVH Industries also manufactures fiber-optic gyroscopes (FOGs) and inertial measurement units (IMUs) that have numerous military and commercial applications. They are used in helicopters and drones, where they stabilize camera shots, and self-driving cars, where they aid navigation. They are also used in tactical navigation devices for the military that offer situational awareness on the battlefield, even if GPS is unavailable or spoofed.

Bob oversees all of KVH’s satellite, guidance and stabilization engineering efforts. He has 11 U.S. patents and graduated from Purdue in 1987.

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2017 4:50 PM

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