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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

Connectivity challenges overcome for OSV digitalisation

Thu 07 Feb 2019 by Martyn Wingrove

Connectivity challenges overcome for OSV digitalisation
Eric Griffin (Inmarsat): "OSVs need guaranteed performance, committed and maximum information rates"

Offshore support vessel (OSV) owners are investing in digitalisation for internet of things (IoT) applications because of recent advances in satellite communications. On average, OSV owners will spend US$2.8M each adopting IoT applications in the next three years.

According to Inmarsat Maritime vice president for Americas Eric Griffin almost 100% of all OSV operators will use IoT to monitor fuel by 2023. This will use satellite connectivity such as Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress, which combines Ka-band with L-band for back-up, he said at the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference.

Mr Griffin explained why OSVs require reliable and fast connectivity during offshore operations, such as when close to an oil and gas production platform. “OSVs need guaranteed performance, committed information rates and maximum information rates for access to more bandwidth when required,” said Mr Griffin.

OSVs also need dual-antenna installations for redundancy in high-speed connections even when they are in the shadow of an offshore installation.

Mr Griffin introduced Fleet Data as an IoT platform for vessels using Fleet Xpress for data transmissions and optimising operations. Fleet Xpress can also deliver crew welfare communications services, which Mr Griffin explained is a deciding factor for a seafarer’s choice of which vessel to serve on.

However, faster connectivity comes with a greater risk from cyber threats. Inmarsat has developed a cyber security solution that enables OSV owners to invest securely in high bandwidth connectivity for their vessels for IoT and crew welfare applications.

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