“Insatiable demand for bandwidth”. It’s a phrase that we hear a lot when we talk about the maritime sector, but it’s true and it’s only going to continue its upward trajectory. The expectations of connectivity at sea have transformed over a short period of time. We now expect to be connected literally wherever we go – and the sea is no exception. At Newtec, this demand for mobility is at the forefront of our business. It’s being driven by a combination of passenger, crew and operational factors and it’s a market that is evolving quickly, with more people wanting to run more applications for a plethora of different reasons. We need to be able to respond to these market demands and offer flexibility at the same time.
Northern Sky Research forecasts that 173,000 vessels will be added to the addressable maritime market over the next ten years with demand for capacity soaring. For the satellite industry, this is going to be a critical market going forward due to its ability to deliver connectivity anywhere.
So, what is behind this growth?
Firstly, people want to use their devices all the time. Both passengers and crew carry their own devices with them wherever they go. They want to stay in touch with family and friends, to post videos and pictures on social media, to surf the Internet and access emails and services such as mobile banking. Secondly, the ship has become an enterprise in its own right. The applications on board must mirror those on land and so it effectively becomes an office at sea. Thirdly, there’s Big Data. This offers vessel operators the opportunity to become more effective in their daily operations in terms of maintenance and it enables them to run applications such as remote diagnostics, real-time monitoring and aids compliance brought about by strict regulations. Finally, there are virtual networks at sea. Connectivity enables cloud computing, aiding applications such as surveillance and e-Health, for example.
Newtec is focused on delivering mobility services that offer the best in flexibility but in a cost-effective way. We realize that customers have a host of different requirements and that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. We strive to address every end user, even the most demanding, by delivering the throughput where it is needed, to smaller antennas and upcoming FPAs, but with low OpEx and CapEx requirements.
Our aim is to enable the best connectivity experience. We are constantly looking to the future, to the deployment of constellations in LEO and MEO and we recognize that we are part of a wider connectivity mix that will unite satellite and terrestrial technologies. We envisage a network where satellite is incorporated into the 5G environment. We are already enabling 5G with some of our aviation and maritime customers using Network Function Virtualization at the hub site. Both today, and in the future, it’s even more critical that we live and operate in a fully connected ecosystem.
Though many challenges lie ahead, we look forward to embracing them to enable a seamless maritime connectivity experience for every user.