Maritime-Monday_Dan Rooney Guest BloggerGuest Blogger: Dan Rooney, Director of Maritime Business

Data consumption rates for VSAT vessels have dramatically increased over the past few years. The new norm is driven primarily by crew connectivity, and it can total 70GB on a ship each month over a VSAT, whilst ship’s business traffic is in the minority. However, not all ships have the Compass Deck space for a VSAT antenna, let alone the communications budget.

It is necessary to understand the specific business factors that may drive a ship owner or operator’s need for more data. As ships become more connected to the ever-evolving digital world, an increasing amount of applications and services consuming more data are being installed on-board. Cyber-security or eNavigation are prime examples of this. A cyber-security framework is only as effective as its most recent update, and an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) terminal is only as effective as the last chart update. Updates for these services can be large, quickly consuming a smaller L-band plan creating overage and a subsequent bill shock. An unlimited VSAT pipe for a ship may either not be economically feasible or limited by deck space, but Iridium CertusSM delivers higher speeds via L-band. This can enable the digital world on-board with a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to VSAT.

Crew connectivity is rapidly becoming a primary driver for greater connectivity on the high seas. Ship management companies are highly motivated to retain skilled crew members, who expect to communicate with friends and family via social media – wherever the ship is sailing. Whilst VSAT may not be applicable for all ships, Iridium Certus can deliver larger data volume plans allowing crew usage. Many of Iridium’s Service Partners have developed mobile applications enabling common chat applications to operate over our network. Ship management companies can choose to offer unused data to crew members, enabling social connectivity via optimised applications. Remember, connected crew members are happier crew members!

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Iridium Certus is a game changer for the maritime world, enabling critical business applications to connect anywhere in the world. As mentioned in the Big Data, Big Pipes post, optimising IoT data transmissions can reduce the need to increase the bandwidth. Remember, Iridium Certus delivers more megabytes for less dollars.

A frequent complaint from captains is that despite having VSAT installed, the crew are dominating the connection, therefore interrupting ship’s business. Iridium Certus provides the ideal companion for VSAT, transferring critical business applications via its low-latency network. This is especially valid when combined with a Service Provider’s network management device, which allows crew Internet access to continue over the VSAT connection.

Learn more about what Iridium Certus can offer you at www.IridiumCertus.com.