SAFETY4SEA Conference & Awards
Learn More
SAFETY4SEA Conference & Awards
Learn More

Connectivity at Sea


Drew Brandy, Senior Vice President Market Strategy, Inmarsat Maritime, gave a presentation on ‘’Embracing a new world of smarter connected shipping” during the 2017 SMART4SEA Conference & Awards. He noted that as maritime communication is going through a revolution, the possibility of a truly connected ship and seamless real-time integration with shore-based operations is no longer just concept, but a reality. He therefore explained how connectivity at sea is more than just about communication and how the industry is embracing a new world of safer, smarter, greener and more efficient shipping.

We are living in an ever-changing world where never the expectation of connectivity has been so great before. By 2020, estimates say there will be four billions connected people on the planet, and twenty-five billions applications, embedded and intelligent systems will gather and transmitted data. The real challenge is how these data utilize to drive change and strategic decisions.

We are definitely in the mid of a technology explosion. The real change introduced back to 2008, when the first i-phone launched and in a short period of time, within four years, companies were outselling, smart phones and tablets. The expectation of connectivity is critical for both our personal and professional lives. Estimates show that 70% of the world’s populations is connected; 70% of all traffic on the internet will be video by 2018 and there will be 6bn plus mobile subscriptions by 2020. A recent survey undertaken in shipping found that more than two thirds of the shipowners expect to start performing data analytics for their vessels for strategic decision making.

Maersk’s Triple-E is one of the extreme examples of an organization which has really embraced technology and information to generate data to drive strategic decisions. It is not only about the information that it is being generated. It is about the ability to make decisions for vessels performance and optimize that. Although Maersk is one of the frontrunners they admit only just beginning to discover the full potential of Big Data.

Example of the value of data for Maersk

  • Vessels are equipped with many sensors: 2800 sensors into vessels main control system & 200 sensors in main engine room measuring temperature, pressure and operations
  • Vessel Sensors connected to Global Voyage Centre in Mumbai
  • Actions initiated by remote monitoring save significant fuel costs. It’s actions such as this saved Maersk in 2014 app. USD 20 million in fuel costs (=$6000 savings per vessel per month, based on 276 vessels in ownership & management)
  • 30 TB Data transmitted by Maersk Line Fleet (container vessels) over satellite link every month. This is 109 GB* per vessel per month. (275 vessels in ownership & management)

Broad connectivity onboard provides more benefits than operational efficiency taking into consideration the new generation of seafarers and their increased expectation of connectivity at sea. The average seafarer goes to sea having three devices of the latest smart technology. However, the majority of vessels still do not provide Internet connectivity and if they do so, not many provide it for free. This trend is about to change when there will be more communication systems, affordable and flexible solutions to support that.    

A recent crew connectivity survey conducted by Futurenautics carried identified:

  • 73% of all crew says crew communication influences the decision where to work
  • Today approximately 40% of the 1.2M seafarers have access to internet while at sea. Half of them get internet for free

Connectivity at sea is more than just about communication. If we look at the spectrum of communications across the maritime sector, even over the past decade where we had basic bridge to shore communications with limited data speed and voice connectivity and crew communications were often limited to voice calls or chat cards, we see the e- revolution with rich applications and video being utilized much more extensively. Safety and regulations always are at the heart of the maritime industry; this year we will see compliance with fleet broad to be part of the GMDSS.

Also, the Internet of Things is fundamental for moving the industry forward. It creates a new maritime ecosystem that brings together value added manufacturers, software developers and solutions vendors in an environment where they can optimize vessels performance via solutions such as e-navigation, cyber security and engine room data analytics. All of these types of services will be fundamental in reshaping the maritime industry. To broaden and enhance the services, we offer beyond connectivity through the Inmarsat Gateway and enable ‘value-adds’ from a wide range of providers.

The IoT proposition is continuously evolving to meet market demands (customer, technology etc.) and our partners can leverage this in the future. During 2017, we will continue to enhance the Fleet Xpress services with the aim to establish it as a new standard in maritime communication. Safety will continue to be at the heart of our strategy with GMDSS compliance; Inmarsat remains the only GMDSS-approved satellite safety services provider. Cyber aware is also important to us; therefore, we will focus on providing solutions to safeguard vessels and mariners from cyber-attack.

Above text is an edited article of Drew Brandy’s presentation during the 2017 SMART4SEA Conference & Awards

You may view his video presentation by clicking here

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.

About  Drew Brandy, Senior Vice President Market Strategy, Inmarsat Maritime 

Drew Brandy was appointed Senior Vice President Market Strategy for Inmarsat Maritime in January 2015. He is currently responsible for setting the strategy for the business unit with regards to vertical segmentation, all marketing programmes, and the development of the partner channel. Since joining Inmarsat in 2005, Drew has held a variety of positions, principally focused on delivery of the broadband portfolio across the Enterprise verticals while rolling out new products and services to drive significant growth across the land-based business. Previously, he gained extensive experience working in both North America and Europe, holding positions with Bell Canada, British Telecom and Cable & Wireless ranging from business development to corporate strategy. Drew holds an undergraduate degree in sociology and communications from York University in Canada and an MBA from Henley Management College.


Related Posts

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterGoogle+0Share on LinkedIn3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Explore Our Group Sites:

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.more information