Inner Header
HOME > About Us> Company History

Company History

KVH Industries, Inc. World Headquarters, Middletown, RI, USA

KVH World Headquarters, Middletown, RI, USA

In 1982, Arent, Robert, and Martin Kits van Heyningen launched the world’s first digital compass for use in racing sailboats. They called it Sailcomp, and the company Sailcomp Industries was born. As other products and applications were added, the company changed the name to KVH Industries, a name they felt would cover any future development.

Two Areas of Focus Emerge: Mobile Satellite/Guidance and Stabilization

KVH Industries A/S, EMEA Headquarters, Kokkedal, Denmark

KVH EMEA Headquarters, Kokkedal, Denmark

Throughout the 1990s, KVH developed dozens of innovative products, expanding beyond marine compass technology to mobile satellite television systems and land-based systems utilizing sensor technology for commercial and military applications.

In 1994, KVH introduced the first TracVision satellite television system, featuring a stabilized antenna for marine use. Many TracVision products have followed, and KVH has dominated the market for mobile satellite TV systems for a variety of markets, from pleasure boats to military ships and commercial vessels, as well as systems for use on land, whether on cars, RVS, or emergency response vehicles. 

KVH Guidance & Stabilization Group, Tinley Park, IL, USA

KVH Guidance & Stabilization Group
Tinley Park, IL, USA

Numerous developments during the 1990s strengthened the company’s focus on guidance and stabilization systems as well. In 1991, KVH developed TACNAV tactical navigation systems for U.S. land military vehicles in the Persian Gulf War, and in 1997, KVH became a leading manufacturer in the fiber optic gyro industry by acquiring a FOG manufacturing facility in Illinois.

In the middle of this steady growth, KVH became a public company in 1996, traded as KVHI on the NASDAQ index.

Building a SATCOM Network

In the late 2000s, KVH undertook an ambitious effort: to build a VSAT satellite communications network that would encircle the globe and provide affordable, reliable satellite Internet and phone services to vessels worldwide. Called mini-VSAT Broadband, the network was launched in 2007, along with KVH’s TracPhone V7 satellite communications system. The mini-VSAT Broadband network and TracPhone V-series line of satellite communications systems have grown so rapidly that by 2012 – just five years after the network’s launch – industry reports found that mini-VSAT Broadband was the market share leader in maritime VSAT.

In 2013, KVH expanded its maritime services with the acquisition of U.K.-based Headland Media, a leading provider of licensed news, entertainment, and training content to the maritime industry, now known as KVH Media Group. Videotel, an award-winning London-based producer of high-quality training films and e-Learning services for the commercial maritime industry, became part of KVH in July 2014. KVH Media Group and Videotel, together with KVH’s groundbreaking IP-MobileCast service, play a critical role in KVH’s strategy of delivering an end-to-end maritime satellite communications solution , encompassing hardware, a global network, content, and content delivery.

The second generation of the company’s satellite communications service, called mini-VSAT Broadband 2.0 – which has transformed the maritime VSAT market with affordable, usage-based data plans at the network’s highest speeds – debuted in September 2015. In early 2016, KVH announced it had shipped more than 6,000 VSAT systems, further enhancing its dominant position in maritime VSAT.

Today, KVH Industries is a leading provider of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems, having designed, manufactured, and sold more than 200,000 mobile satellite antennas for applications on vessels, vehicles, and aircraft.

Creating Innovative Inertial Systems for a Mobile World

At the same time KVH expanded its mobile satellite communications products and services, the company invested in the development of high-performance open-loop fiber optic gyros and integrated inertial systems. These 1-, 2-, and 3-axis systems offer tactical-grade performance and excellent reliability within a compact package and for a reasonable cost. KVH’s family of FOGs was made possible through innovations in several key fields, including the invention of proprietary D-shaped optical fiber and revolutionary ThinFiber; the development of innovative optical circuit design, component fabrication, and system integration; and the creation of our patented Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology for improved performance.

By the start of 2016, KVH had produced more than 90,000 gyros, both as standalone systems and fully integrated within KVH’s high-performance inertial measurement units and inertial navigation systems. These systems play a vital role in such diverse applications as robotic, mapping and surveying, guidance and stabilization, and a host of emerging unmanned and autonomous technologies.

KVH is also a premier manufacturer of high-performance tactical navigation systems for military vehicles operating worldwide. Since 1991, when KVH delivered the first TACNAV systems to the U.S. Army during the first Gulf War, the company has fielded more than 19,000 TACNAV systems with U.S. and allied forces around the globe.

Global Reach for KVH

KVH is based in Middletown, RI, with research, development, and manufacturing operations in Middletown, RI, and Tinley Park, IL. The company’s global presence includes offices in Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

Innovation for a World in Motion

So, what’s next for KVH? We know we’ll be driving innovation. We know what we do will change things for the better. We know it will be challenging. And we know it will mean solving tough problems. That’s just what we do.

KVH – Innovation that Enables a Mobile World

E-mail this page
Indicates a required field
  Yes
  No
[X] Close

Oops! You must be logged in to access this information.

Please log in or create an account to receive access to complete information about KVH’s award-winning products and services, including quick and easy downloads of KVH support documentation. It's free and easy and gives you access to the latest info on all of KVH's products.