The inexorable rise in the provision of communications anywhere is a phenomenon like no other. It is permeating everywhere – on the street, in our homes, workplaces, on transport, and it is now truly making its impact felt in the maritime industry. The demand for data that our always-on lifestyle brings means that we have an innate need to be connected anywhere and all the time.
Demand for this connectivity at sea is proving to be huge and is coming from various different areas. 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. Finally, there are virtual networks at sea. Connectivity enables cloud computing, enabling applications such as surveillance and e-Health, for example. 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 ubiquitous connectivity.
Meeting Soaring Demand
Telenor Satellite is a major satellite operator that covers the European, Middle Eastern and North African markets, delivering broadcast and data communications services. One of its major market segments is maritime and it offers solutions to all maritime users, from the smallest fishing boat to the largest ferry. Telenor Satellite launched its HTS, THOR 7 in 2015. The satellite targets the North Sea, North Atlantic, Norweigan Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and the Mediterranean. Its HTS payload uses a number of high-power spot beams which deliver high-performance services specifically designed for the mobility VSAT market. In recent years, Telenor Satellite has experienced demand for bandwidth in three particular sub-segments of its maritime business: fishing, offshore/research and survey, and passenger vessels, such as cruise ships and ferries.
Offshore/Research and Survey
Telenor Satellite noted an incredible 500% increase in offshore and research and survey vessels in 2018 compared with 2017 with very high bandwidth requirements. This sector in particular requires large amounts of data and places great emphasis on real-time decision-making which, in turn, requires high-availability, large-bandwidth services. For offshore rigs, crew welfare, health and safety and the streamlining of day-to-day operations are of paramount importance. Therefore, the combination of Telenor Satellite’s THOR 7 coverage in the North Sea and a high-bandwidth platform is expected to be a very attractive combination for this particular segment.
Passenger vessels have experienced an almost 150% rise in growth compared to the same period last year. Telenor Satellite currently delivers services to around 100 vessels in Ka-band, which is a very significant share of the European ferry market. With passenger Internet traffic becoming more symmetrical thanks to social media and messaging services, Telenor Satellite has turned to Newtec to enable it to meet this burgeoning market demand, which it is unable to do using its current platform.
THOR 7 Mobility Coverage
Meeting the Challenge of Connectivity at Sea with Newtec
Telenor Satellite recently announced that it has selected the Newtec Dialog® platform to meet the demand for higher throughput maritime services on THOR 7. Telenor Satellite will aim to migrate its high-end vessel customers – including cruise and ferry operators in the North and Baltic seas – to the multiservice platform to deliver higher throughput and more scalable services. The installation will also enable the operator to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively while addressing new verticals.
Newtec Dialog is a single-service and multiservice VSAT platform bringing scalability and flexibility to operators and service providers, allowing them to build and adapt infrastructures and satellite networking as and when required by their customers.
At present, Telenor Satellite is in discussions with a potential Beta customer for Newtec that could use the new service for a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in the North Sea. The VSAT connection could be used to remotely operate the vehicle and would transmit the data gathered for analysis on-shore. The estimated savings of around 1000 Euros per day make for a fast Return On Investment on the VSAT link. In today’s era of anywhere, anytime connectivity, satellite operators are required to provide increasingly better coverage, as well as higher bandwidth and faster services. The partnership between Telenor Satellite and Newtec is another important milestone and will enable customers’ increasing expectations to be met – and exceeded.