Satellite communications providers have branched out to provide IT, cyber security and bridge systems support
These strategic moves are in response to the changing nature of services shipping companies require as the industry applies digitalisation technologies. These trends have accelerated as the industry reacts to restrictions introduced to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic.
Marlink now provides smart managed network solutions as well as VSAT connectivity and Inmarsat offers more data-driven applications through its Fleet Data services and access to cloud-based platforms through partnerships. Companies such as Tototheo Maritime already provide integrated connectivity, digital solutions and bridge equipment servicing while other VSAT service providers are expanding their portfolio to support these wider shipping requirements.
NSSLGlobal launched its smart maintenance plans on 15 October after recruiting an established team of navigation and communications engineers from troubled Pro Nautas. This includes a flexible range of tiered global navigation and bridge electronic maintenance plans covering maintenance of bridge electronics such as radar, ECDIS, gyro compasses, voyage data recorders, speed logs and emergency communications equipment.
Marlink said on 14 October it had passed milestones in its global Installation Quality Assurance Program (iQAP) to deliver support and maintenance in more than 100 of the world’s busiest ports. Marlink has trained and certified over 260 personnel in these ports and connected a record number of vessels in a single month.
Its iQAP programme was created to provide a uniform level of managed services for operations, service co-ordination, procurement, equipment and logistics.
Marlink has seen rising demand for its smart network solutions due to restrictions imposed on shipping from the global Covid-19 pandemic. Its response was to increase provision of online service training to its partners and remote support to shipowners.
Marlink president for maritime Tore Morten Olsen said the iQAP initiative was a differentiator “at a time when access to spare parts and service is still restricted”.
This service enables vendors and partners to install VSAT on ships, allowing vessel owners “to stay connected for business advantages, keep crew in touch with home and also know they are sailing safely and in regulatory compliance,” said Mr Olsen.
Marlink provides remote access and support to onboard IT networks through its IT Link Monitor. This enables shipping company IT departments to monitor onboard infrastructure on each vessel. This can be expanded for software distributing, network upgrading and remote updates.
Inmarsat is providing more applications and services to shipping companies that are connected by its Fleet Xpress or FleetBroadband satellite communications. On 12 October it announced the addition of Metis Cyberspace Technology to its growing list of certified application providers to its Fleet Data service.
Shipowners and managers can process and analyse operational and environmental data through Metis’ platform when information is uploaded to a central cloud-based database through Fleet Data. Owners can use this information for fuel oil consumption monitoring, emissions reporting, voyage analysis, machinery monitoring and route optimisation. This is accessed through an application process interface (API) and visualisation dashboards.
Inmarsat also offers cyber security over its communications with secure cyber awareness training, multi-layered endpoint protection and universal threat detection and management.
Cyber security and IT remote monitoring solutions will be presented during Riviera’s Maritime Cyber Risk Management virtual conference on 3 November 2020 - use this link for more details and to register for this event