Shipowners, ship managers, and fleet operators continue to transform the maritime industry by turning to digital processes. This transition took on more urgency during the COVID-19 lockdowns when many vessels experienced the potential of digitalization firsthand by engaging in remote monitoring and maintenance and providing crew access to online communications, social media, and digital content for news, sports, and entertainment.
To take full advantage of the potential of digitalization, maritime decision makers need to consider two essentials for their vessels: high-speed VSAT connectivity and dedicated IoT connectivity. These two components together make the ideal digital vessel. Here’s why.
High-speed VSAT Connectivity: The data speeds possible with today’s Ku-band VSAT networks go far beyond what is possible with legacy L-band networks. The fastest and most reliable VSAT networks feature high-throughput satellite (HTS) technology, which can provide consistent data speeds up to 20 Mbps download, and a multi-layered approach with more than one satellite covering any given region at any given time. That means a vessel that utilizes a Ku-band VSAT connectivity solution with HTS technology will have the bandwidth and data speeds for all applications to support their operational and crew welfare needs, including voyage planning, videoconferencing, security cameras, crew Internet access, and streaming HD content, all while at sea. These higher data speeds and the reliability of a multilayered HTS network are the starting points for digitalization, providing a vessel with the tools to increase operational efficiency.
Dedicated IoT Connectivity: In addition to operational VSAT connectivity, vessels also need dedicated IoT connectivity, which is the second tool necessary for maritime digitalization. A dedicated IoT terminal separates IT (information technology) from OT (operational technology, which manages physical processes and the machinery used to carry them out) and is critically important for reducing cyber risks as recommended by the IMO. IoT connectivity enables the transfer of real-time data from ship to shore so IoT service companies, multi-card service providers, OEMs, and authorities and registries can monitor performance data, conduct remote surveys, quickly identify specific equipment issues, and support high-speed video troubleshooting while the vessel is at sea, saving time and money when the vessel is in port. Download KVH’s latest case study to see how one maritime OEM is using proactive monitoring, remote service, and big data analytics to achieve improvements in product performance, cost reduction, and customer satisfaction.
When choosing VSAT and IoT connectivity solutions, an important factor for maritime operators during the economic uncertainty of the global pandemic and post-pandemic economy is the need to minimize capital expenditures and stay flexible in terms of commitments and contracts. Having a VSAT connectivity provider that requires no CAPEX and no commitment to a long-term plan means that changes in fleet size or the buying/selling of vessels can be handled without worrying about the airtime plan terms. A VSAT connectivity solution from a single end-to-end provider, such as AgilePlans® by KVH, leads to real productivity benefits and no upfront CAPEX as one monthly fee covers airtime and includes free hardware, no installation or maintenance costs. For dedicated IoT connectivity, a solution such as KVH Watch® is an all-inclusive, no-commitment choice for IoT analytics experts and equipment manufacturers to digitalize their services with real-time data flow while separating OT and IT.
With the right choice of VSAT and IoT, every vessel can be on the way to reaping the benefits of digitalization.
Download KVH’s Interactive eBook, “Six Critical Considerations to Gain a Competitive Advantage,” to help to identify the best SATCOM solution for your fleet.