The expansion and increasing demand of maritime communication after the covid-19 pandemic is highly growing, and the role of maritime communication in ending the traditional methods of ship, crew communication, and training onboard takes on an unprecedented step towards a new era of maritime connectivity.
These key topics were the center of discussions during Robban Assafina’s new webinar “Maritime Satellite Communication the Future Leading Role”, the third of the magazine’s Middle East Maritime Online Forum Webinar Series.
“Maritime Satellite Communication the Future Leading Role” Webinar was held under the sponsorship of the world’s leading provider of satellite communications and solutions for efficient end-to-end voice and data services, IEC Telecom Group.
Key speakers who have elaborated more on matters of maritime communications during the webinar were experts from leading companies in the industry, including Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIA, IEC Telecom Group; Scott Middleton, Sales Director EMEA, ASPAC, Offshore Energy, Inmarsat Maritime; Wouter Deknopper, Vice President & General Manager, Maritime Line of Business, Iridium Communications Inc.; P.B. Venkatesh, Superintendent Fleet Communications & Maritime Technology, Kuwait Oil Tanker Company KOTC; and Jens Ewerling, Product Manager, VSAT, Cobham SATCOM.
The readiness and awareness of ship-owners in this new era was one of the topics covered during the webinar, besides Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), the dominant communication role and its reliability.
Experts raised questions on the ability of such technologies to enhance the safety, environment protection and security of ships, taking into consideration the current cyber security measures. Discussions also expanded the concepts of increased technology advancements, less expensive technology solutions, maritime communication enhancing remote surveys onboard ships, coverage and lack of reliability and flexibility of satellite communication.
Business Opportunities & Investment
In his presentation, IEC Telecom’s Nabil Ben Soussia displayed the global overview of the Digital Transformation, the market, new business opportunities and the reinvestment in the economy this transformation can create alongside automation and AI. Ben Soussia also elaborated on IEC’s One Gate solution insights and features, the solution designed as network management for VSAT-equipped vessels, pointing out the challenges of going digital, for both small and large vessels. He also discussed the solution’s proven efficiency in remote office & remote maintenance operations, as well as crew welfare.
Inmarsat’s Scott Middleton mainly highlighted the ideas related to connectivity across the OSV sector, going over its uses in crew welfare, operations, shore access and data insights. He also presented the impacts of COVID-19 on the usage of connectivity, as it had increased by crew, application usage for operations, telemedicine, video calling, remote monitoring and surveying. The four main usage cases Middleton highly pointed out were Healthnet, the crew health management solution developed in conjunction with Vikand & FrontM, Live Streaming Crew Training/Welfare App, the solution to growing problem of shore-based seafarers’ training, the Digital Twin to reduce fuel consumption, and the Lubrication Oil IOT Sensors.
During his representation, Wouter Deknopper from Iridium gave an overall look of Iridium’s reliable Global Maritime Distress Safety System GMDSS, the first and only truly global system to provide coverage around the entire globe including the over the polar areas (Sea Area A4) not served today. Deknopper spoke of Iridium’s GMDSS the advantages compared to the challenges of the historic GMDSS option, as all Iridium Connected® GMDSS terminals will come standard with functionality for all satellite GMDSS services, designed to work in extreme conditions at sea, and is expected to supply all three satellite GMDSS services at about 25 percent of the cost of any current equipment.
P.B. Venkatesh from KOTC reviewed the impacts of the “Digital Transformation” and the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects affecting businesses and whole segments of society. He also shed the light on Maritime communications during the COVID era and the dependency it has created, as the inability of carrying out ship visits, class surveys, vetting inspections, and any sort of shipboard visits has necessitated all these activities to migrate to the remote ways. Venkatesh urged ship owners & operators to change at the directives of the regulatory bodies and industry monitors, taking into consideration that maritime connectivity service providers have a huge task ahead to meet the challenges of high speed connectivity within a hugely competitive market.
From a more technical point of view, Jens Ewerling from Cobham SATCOM reached out the subject presenting Cobham’s development of both gateway and user terminal solutions, monitoring the industry, adding value and enabling the complex LEO business with its more than 20 years of experience in LEO products. He elaborated on the broadband connectivity from multiple orbits: “The New Space Race, New Mega Satellite Constellations in GEO, HEO, MEO and LEO Orbits”.