A Communication Platform for the Maritime Industry

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Maritime Industry
A Communication Platform for the Maritime Industry

What do ship owners want?

The maritime industry plays a crucial role in the global economy, but it has not always been easy for companies within this sector to stay connected at sea and communicate efficiently. Fortunately, there are now solutions available that can help vessel operators to improve their communication capabilities at a fraction of the cost. 

We explore some of the evolving requirements of the maritime communication system.

Creating communication solutions for all types of vessels

As a maritime operator, you need to be able to communicate with your crew and the people who help keep your business running smoothly—and you want all of these communications to be effective and efficient. You also need an emergency response plan in place that is easy to follow if things go wrong, and an ability to track important data like vessel location or cargo inventory.

Earlier, effective sea-to-shore connectivity was reserved for large vessels that could bring onboard VSAT communication solutions. Small vessels simply had no space for a costly satellite set-up. 

Today, effective communication solutions for maritime operations have been made possible for small and mid-sized vessels – with digitalisation. Offering a VSAT-like experience over compact hardware, a solution such as the state-of-the-art Orion Edge V enables videoconferencing, telemedicine, remote maintenance, IoT and more for all vessel types.

Operating from a virtual platform, Orion Edge V brings the benefits of digitalisation to smaller vessels, giving them a competitive advantage and empowering vessel owners to quickly adapt to the challenges of a rapidly evolving business landscape. 

With its digital dashboard, vessel owners can access network management and consumption monitoring functionalities, offer reliable crew calling and data access even on small boats, and do all of this at reduced communication costs thanks to dual GSM/satellite mode switching capabilities.

Such optimized satellite communications solutions are a game changer for the maritime sector, empowering ship owners to perform competitively with the best possible crew and operational processes suited to their vessel requirements.

Crew welfare is no longer a luxury; it’s a must

Crew communication is being prioritized as a vital element of seafarer welfare and vessel owners are embracing the recent provisions for seafarers’ right to internet connectivity at sea. The Maritime Labor Convention meeting in Geneva in May 2022 endorsed these measures put forward by a number of maritime industry groups and NGOs, demonstrating the growing sentiment within the whole sector that crew should be able to communicate with loved ones at home and have access to information sources while at sea.

Besides being a key factor in recruitment and retention today, vessels with cost-effective internet access have a distinct operational advantage over those that do not. Optimized for smaller vessels, MarineStar E-Lite delivers voice and data connectivity at the most affordable rates. 

There’s no need for long-term commitments or heavy airtime plans with a maritime satellite communication solution at the cost of a GSM service. MarineStar E-Lite is equipped with a shore-side dashboard that enables full visibility over performance, threat management, and real-time management of consumption limits. All files are compressed up to 95% to save on airtime costs during data transfers. It provides email services over IEC Telecom’s OneMailLite application (powered by GTMaritime) and voice services over Thuraya’s MarineStar terminal.

A fixed onboard voice terminal such as Thuraya MarineStar can be easily installed on all types of vessels and, by default, it offers two lines to separate corporate and crew communications. Operating akin to a public phone, access is provided over scratch cards that can be purchased in the port or from the captain. 

With circuit-switched voice, SMS, GMPRS, and tracking, MarineStar delivers communication services optimized for the maritime sector, enables hybrid connectivity onboard, and forms an ideal back-up alternative to radio communications and GSM.

With such innovative maritime solutions such as MarineStar, the crew has access to an always-on communication service. Not only does it benefit crew welfare, but it also improves the operational cycle by ensuring that the vessel is reachable at all times. Moreover, MarineStar is equipped with SOS alert functionality, enabling one-touch and instant emergency connection, vital to crew welfare while at sea.

Business continuity solutions are vital in today’s competitive environment

As the maritime industry incorporates digital technologies to offer ‘any time anywhere access’, business continuity, data recovery, and cyber security are increasingly at the top of management concerns. From lockdown restrictions to interruptions in operations due to changing regulations and supply chain disruptions, organizations that have successfully leveraged digital technology have had an almost seamless work experience.

Remote access to critical corporate solutions and applications over encrypted connectivity is a ‘must-have’ instead of a ‘good-to-have’ in today’s competitive environment. The OptiSoft suite by IEC Telecom enables a range of vessel administration processes and can be managed over a cloud-based dashboard that is accessible from any web-enabled device. Adding a high-level of flexibility to a vessel’s satellite communications system, OptiSoft offers reliable email management, advanced cyber security, robust data transfer, remote system configuration, and much more.

Coupled with the future-ready network management solution, OneGate, vessel owners can enjoy a seamless connectivity experience with a completely customisable dashboard to remotely manage network traffic, issue crew and guest vouchers, and enhance cyber security.

IEC Telecom Group has been actively developing specialised solutions and applications to deliver business continuity options that are optimised for the low-bandwidth environment. The OptiConnect suite by IEC Telecom provides email management, data transfers and cybersecurity to marine vessels for more streamlined operations with superior cost-efficiency. Moreover, OptiConnect delivers hands-free video conferencing, live technical assistance and advanced surveillance capabilities, saving its customers time and money in a highly competitive commercial arena.

Customized solutions for maritime connectivity 

Maritime communications are set to move away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach to become fully customisable. The advanced sectors of the maritime industry are already moving away from the need to have different systems and devices. Future maritime communications are expected to be housed in one device, offering flexibility and adaptability whenever and wherever vessels set sail.

This is the key to remaining competitive today and in the future. From reliable email management and advanced cyber security packages to remote system configuration, customized applications offer a tactile advantage across fleets and individual vessels while remaining cost-effective for both small and large vessels. 

IEC Telecom Group

Committed to bringing the benefits of digitalisation to the maritime sector, IEC Telecom Group is a satellite communication solutions provider that offers high-quality maritime communications services that are designed to be as accessible as possible with no/low set-up costs involved, ensuring that they can easily be implemented on any vessel at any stage of its operation.

Digitalisation is a powerful tool for remote/at sea operations. It offers access to new communication technologies in areas with no/limited GSM coverage and ensures that crew can access data services even in low bandwidth environments, increasing operational efficiency, optimizing capital investment in hardware, and saving the cost and complex logistics involved to bring technicians onboard.

IEC Telecom Group is committed to keeping customer needs at the forefront in the provision of the most relevant communications solutions, services, and support. Customers can access five dedicated channels of support via email, a 24/7 global hotline, WhatsApp service, online ticketing, and a comprehensive download center on the IEC Telecom website.

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