As the maritime industry continues its transformation toward digitalization, the single most important factor is finding the right connectivity solution. Without fast and reliable connectivity, vessels won’t be able to gain the performance benefits and cost savings that come with smart shipping. Here are key factors to consider.
Data Speed & Usage: Legacy L-band connectivity solutions top out at data speeds under 1 Mbps, making them unsuitable for many functions essential to today’s connected ship, such as videoconferencing, vessel performance software, and crew welfare. That’s why so many vessels with old L-band solutions are migrating to fast Ku-band VSAT services powered by high throughput satellite (HTS) networks. The migration has been happening for several years and accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when vessels found the need for more data not only for operational use but particularly for crew welfare. Vessels are now providing more internet, voice, and content than previously offered to keep crew connected to home. During this pandemic, there has been a more urgent push to connect every device and machine; indeed, digitalization is helping the entire maritime industry evolve.
IoT Capabilities: The smart ship benefits from remote ways of doing business, including real-time monitoring and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and these IoT functions rely on connectivity as well. For example, COVID-19 forced a pivot to remote surveys as the norm, as it works and is much cheaper than sending a person vessel by vessel. A connectivity solution that can support IoT functions provides an opportunity to monitor and anticipate vessel behavior under any condition, resulting in actionable insights to improve the vessel’s performance and save money. A global HTS network combined with an IoT solution that separates information technology (IT) data from operational technology (OT) data for cybersecurity by design are key to support remote monitoring and also enable real-time interventions when the vessel is at deep sea.
Cyber Strategy: Cybersecurity is a critical consideration for vessels when choosing a connectivity solution. Following the IMO’s adoption of Resolution MSC.428 (98), commonly known as IMO 2021, vessel operators now need to integrate cyber risk control into their Safety Management System by developing onboard procedures and mitigation measures. While each vessel operator remains responsible for ongoing compliance with IMO 2021, vessel operators should look for a connectivity solution that features cybersecurity by design. In such cases, the connectivity provider addresses security of the satellite network by implementing numerous infrastructure safeguards and different types of authentication and proprietary over-the-air interfaces. A key part of the provider’s cybersecurity strategy should also be to protect Internet egress by including application-level Universal Threat Management (UTM) firewalls; application-level traffic shapers; and multiple forms of threat blocking.
A connectivity solution from a single end-to-end provider, such as AgilePlans® by KVH, leads to more seamless digitization and productivity benefits. Leading fleets across the globe have selected KVH’s AgilePlans connectivity as a service for one monthly subscription that includes award-winning VSAT terminals, airtime, news from home, free shipping and installation, and zero maintenance costs, and no CAPEX. KVH also has developed a suite of KVH Watch® maritime IoT solutions to enable vessels and equipment manufacturers to benefit from real-time monitoring and remote interventions. In addition, KVH has an advanced multi-layer strategy for reducing cyber risk through built-in hardware, software, and network controls.
Learn more about KVH’s maritime connectivity solutions.