Faster communications, better connectivity and greater levels of remote vessel monitoring will drive owners to reduce operating expenditure and enhance onboard safety. According to SpeedCast International’s chief executive Pierre-Jean Beylier, VSAT will play a key role in the development of smarter and safer ships. It will also be integrated with other communications technologies.
“As the industry implements smart shipping solutions, the automation of tasks and remote monitoring can ultimately reduce costs and improve safety,” he commented. Crew welfare will also be a driver in the adoption of VSAT in maritime industries as seafarers require more access to online services.
The costs of connectivity will be driven lower enabling more seafarers to link to the internet on vessels. “Sailors and crews want improved connectivity on their vessels, and affordability will improve as technology advances,” Mr Beylier explained. “In the years ahead we fully expect to see the use of all devices that require an internet connection, as well as those that are catered for ashore, fully functioning on board ships.”
However, the adoption of VSAT is being slowed by the tough economic conditions that shipowners are facing. “The maritime industry will need to recover completely before these systems are fully adopted,” Mr Beylier commented. “But, the role of VSAT will increase in the merchant shipping, fishing, workboat and yacht industries.”
VSAT will be seen by shipping companies and service providers as just one of a number of solutions that deliver connectivity to shipping. This is changing the way satellite communications companies are acting in the maritime market, said Mr Beylier. He added: “Many companies are starting to rely on their managed communications service provider to meet needs beyond basic connectivity necessities.”
Expertise is required to keep more complex communications systems alive
The move toward more integrated partnerships has led companies such as SpeedCast to evolve as service providers. “Expertise is required to keep more complex communications systems alive, yet the level of collaboration with customers is higher than ever before,” commented Mr Beylier.
“We are able to design and integrate customised communications solutions that include cybersecurity, video streaming and surveillance, 4G, long-term evolution networks, wireless radio connectivity, crew services and the internet of things. These value-added services create better onboard experiences that meet the needs of businesses at sea.”