Digital Ships: Communication at Sea Comes of Age

Onboarding Maritime Digital – A watertight plan for growth

While the last two decades have seen the world grow more connected, the oceans have not fared so well. In terms of network infrastructure and connections, the maritime industry is at the same early stage as onshore broadband was at the turn of the twenty-first century. All that is about to change and the barriers to maritime communication are to be swept away as oceans become truly connected spaces for the first time.

One part of such a breakthrough comes in the shape of a global network powered by a high-frequency KNL radio system by Telenor Maritime with a range of up to 10,000 km. Its pole-to-pole coverage sets cruise operators free to explore the world’s oceans with health, safety, data integrity and security uncompromised by the distance from shore. In a world in recovery from economic stagnation, being able to pick up two decades of technological slack with one affordable step is surely the ultimate boon.

Digital ships will not only revolutionise the way we move people and cargo around the world but also the way we do business. Telenor Maritime looks at what the future of shipping holds and how we get there.

Easy Connections

The radio is a device-agnostic link between a ship’s instrumentation and on-shore control systems. It enables any piece of equipment that provides a read-out on the bridge to be turned into an Internet of Things (IoT) device, so that its data can be shared remotely. The system not only enables integration of telemetry and bridge systems; all data captured digitally onboard can now be instantaneously collected anywhere in the world.

Telenor Maritime handles the data transmission between its ships’ radios and its cloud portal securely anywhere in the world. There’s no upfront cost either, all solutions are packaged as a single subscription which includes everything a vessel owner needs to operate the service.

Head of System Sales Juho Jaakola, of Telenor Maritime, explains the process. “We build the service for each customer individually. First, we want to understand the customer’s problems, but we also need to identify any key initiatives they have underway regarding their digitalisation pathway. We are solutions-led, and each customer has different needs, but we are always delighted to show operators a live, real-time demo of it in action over a video conference call.”

Connecting Systems

The solution promises to make cruise operations safer, greener and leaner in the process. If that sounds too good to be true, think about how transforming data exchange between vessels and their shore-side operators – no matter where their ships are in the world – has the potential to revolutionise the entire industry.

Affordable, real-time, global, secure access to onshore maintenance and management is the future.

The revolution in connectivity at sea brings opportunities to transform the way that cruise operators do business. Simply being able to monitor fuel consumption and acquire real-time feedback on ship systems adds up to a sustainable transformation that improves efficiency and lowers costs across the fleet. It also improves safety and enables sophisticated analysis of data while the vessel is actually sailing and that means less time in dockside maintenance. Affordable, real-time, global, secure access to onshore maintenance and management is the future.

The functionality is useful at all scales, even for small, expedition and explorer cruises that often operate in areas where even basic digital coverage can be lost. With bridge systems connected to shore and real-time monitoring and analysis available, exploring far-flung corners of the world doesn’t have to mean disconnection from the safety of shore systems.

“I was surprised at just how easy it is to implement”

For Sveinung Sætre, Sales Director and Head of Cruise at Telenor Maritime, there have been pleasant surprises as cruise customers begin to adopt the system. “I was surprised at just how easy it is to implement, to get customers started with IoT and to further their digitalization. As part of Telenor Group, we are well-placed to help with that. Overall, the system gives the onboard – as well as the onshore – crew more options.

According to Juho Jaakola, there are other benefits. “Predictive maintenance is now possible. If errors are noticed in a particular system during a voyage, not only does the vessel owner have an early warning and can prevent further problems, but spare parts could be delivered to the next port ready for installation.”

“Easy, real-time access and analysis of data is an opportunity to transform business and lower operating costs which will, of course, give a company a more competitive position in the market.”

Telenor Maritime offer live demonstrations of their connectivity solutions. To book a demonstration, email maa@telenormaritime.com or go to https://telenormaritime.com/waveaccess-digital-shipping/

This is the full version of a feature published in Cruise Times.