How the Internet can Connect Shipping



Brent Bruun, Executive Vice President of Mobile Broadband, KVH Industries


The era of the totally-connected ship is upon us with major advances in onboard satellite technology already looking set to revolutionise the way shipping companies manage their assets. Today’s future may not be Big Brother placing a guiding hand on shipboard operations, but ‘Big Data’ working hard to drive through efficiencies, reduce costs, automate processes and help today’s fleets avoid expensive repairs.

A new paradigm

The emphasis has shifted firmly away from ships utilising satellite communications for purely crew calling and email communication needs, to vessels now fully embracing the power of the internet, as well as using available applications to meet their ever-changing operational needs.

New broadband services are coming online which will help shipping companies reduce costs but shipping industry leaders need to continue to adapt their own demands to remain competitive in a dramatically changing global supply chain and technology-driven society. The shipping industry needs to change how it thinks about connectivity and content delivery with the maritime industry facing exploding demand for broadband connectivity at sea accessed via mobile devices. This trend is being driven by the entrance of digital natives into the seafaring workforce.

Trends on land that are forcing cell phone companies to sell access by the gigabyte are starting to transfer to maritime services. Services for data access at sea need to address increasing operational demand as well as the threat that crew’s broadband data usage could overwhelm a vessel’s data network. Simply adding bandwidth capacity and data speed is not enough as there are always new ways to fill up that capacity.

Indeed, the efficiencies of a …

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