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Marine Electronics & Communications

Marine Electronics & Communications

Agreements suggest shift to Fleet Xpress

Thu 05 Oct 2017

Agreements suggest shift to Fleet Xpress
SHI will install Inmarsat-approved terminal hardware and offering applications to cover remote machinery diagnostics

Recent agreements bringing together new app-based vessel management from two of the biggest names in maritime technology and Inmarsat have boosted the company’s connectivity service Fleet Xpress

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Samsung Heavy Industries and Inmarsat Maritime in September has established a far-reaching relationship to leverage the ‘smart ship’ connectivity offered by Fleet Xpress at the vessel construction stage. In a second arrangement, Inmarsat and Rolls-Royce have signed a letter of intent envisaging the delivery of vessel energy efficiency optimisation via Fleet Xpress 24/7 using Energy Management 2.0 software from Rolls-Royce Marine.

Both agreements come under CAP, the Certified Application Provider programme devised by Inmarsat Maritime to cultivate third party development of the management software that can fully exploit Fleet Xpress connectivity and its unique service enablement platform. They demonstrate that shipping’s leading edge shipbuilders and marine technology brands see the high-speed broadband service as the gateway to the maritime internet. 

Through its CAP programme, Inmarsat aims to support and enable products that become part of an eco-system of applications to broaden and enhance services beyond connectivity and enable ‘value-adds’ for end-users.

Stein A. Orø, vice president sales, Inmarsat Maritime, has been closely involved in the CAP programme and in the work towards securing partners for Inmarsat. “CAP is part of Inmarsat’s strategy to support the global adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the maritime market using Fleet Xpress,” he says. “It offers partners a rich set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that provide application-triggered bandwidth, a managed-cyber security solution and flexible third-party subscriptions on board Fleet Xpress vessels.

“Applications covering real-time analysis of data for engine monitoring, weather information and fuel consumption rates can deliver real gains in operational efficiency, safety and compliance, IT security and crew welfare,” adds Mr Orø. “Critically, third parties develop new business and a new revenue streams while offering full transparency in their own billing processes.”

Dr. Booki Kim, Director of Central Research Institute, Samsung Heavy Industries & Construction Co is in no doubt of the agreement’s potential significance. “The smart ship of today demands intelligent solutions to cover remote operational management and equipment monitoring, and continuous lifecycle services to extend its life,” he says. “As a global shipbuilder, SHI is partnering with Inmarsat in a mutual growth opportunity to deliver more competitive, next generation satellite-based vessel operations.”

The agreement is of a strategic nature and envisages the leading South Korean yard installing Inmarsat-approved terminal hardware and offering applications to cover remote machinery diagnostics and CCTV services. Christened ‘Smart Ship’ by SHI, this is an entirely new service through which the yard group envisages owners harvesting data from preinstalled hull-monitors and equipment sensors onboard in real-time, leveraging Fleet Xpress from the moment the ship is delivered.

Mr Orø says that Samsung Heavy Industries’ allegiance to Fleet Xpress at the newbuilding stage is nonetheless a stand-out achievement. Under its preliminary terms, the shipbuilder is expected to retain remote connections to vessels, while Inmarsat will support SHI’s services through a dedicated CAP subscription.

Orø explains that CAP is flexible enough to allow end-users to choose whether to dedicate part of their bandwidth allocation to specific vessel efficiency measures, or for the app itself to trigger bandwidth 'dynamically' for charging per hour. 

Furthermore, the span of agreements which CAP can accommodate is demonstrated by the Letter of Intent signed between Inmarsat and Rolls-Royce, which has high-level strategic significance but also promises a more immediate impact. It foresees vessels enabled by Fleet Xpress and equipped with Rolls-Royce Energy Management 2.0 software maximising efficiency in a way that is constantly verifiable within the Inmarsat CAP, connected via Fleet Xpress and hosted on the Inmarsat digital platform.

In one context, the agreement conforms to the EU Monitoring Reporting and Verification and the IMO Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan schemes. Monitoring ship fuel consumption and emissions is now required by law in some areas and is also increasingly used in vessel selection criteria by charterers.

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