Satellite Connectivity for Superyachts

Satellite Connectivity for Superyachts

13 Mar 2023

With the global yacht market size expected to reach US $13.56 billion by 2030, many superyacht hubs are investing in upgrading their facilities to attract high-net-worth-individuals (HNWI) and offering better connectivity as well as enhanced security solutions to accommodate guests who expect to have high-speed quality communications services onboard.

In 2021, 887 superyachts were sold – twice the amount from 2020. Moreover, pre-owned yacht sales are also on the rise, being spurred by yachting enthusiasts who want to benefit from a safe haven at sea while remaining connected to the internet to conduct business as well as enjoy digitally immersive experiences even as they explore remote parts of the world.

HNWI superyacht owners are willing to spend between $20,000 to $80,000 per month for connectivity on par with large ocean-going cruise vessels. Of the 5,000 leisure vessels that subscribe to VSAT airtime services presently, 65% pay between $1,000 to $3,500.

What is driving this demand?

Connectivity is critical for superyacht owners. In the post-pandemic era, marked by geopolitical turbulence and the promise of economic recession, superyacht owners see the ability to watch live news streaming, access videoconferences, download and transfer high amounts of data, and access to cloud-based applications as a must-have, not a luxury.

Technological advances foster this trend. The so-called smart yacht experience offers guests and crew the ability to control onboard systems, such as personalised lighting and sound systems, from one easy-to-use interface. In addition, AI and virtual reality will soon become a part of daily life, whether ashore or at sea, both inherently requiring dependable high-speed connectivity.

On the one hand, yacht owners invest heavily in VSAT, 4G and 5G infrastructures to enable high-speed streaming. On the other, there is also an increasing demand for more LEO satellite-based services for machine-to-machine applications that require low-latency, including those that support proactive monitoring of engines and digitalising documents for operational efficiency.

Besides the shift to a younger demographic of yacht owners, requests for educational trips have also increased 185% between 2021 and 2022.

A move towards sustainability

Superyacht owners are actively opting for vessels that create a lower carbon footprint. The adoption of sustainable electric and hybrid electric propulsion systems for yachts is expected to be a significant factor in choosing luxury travel modes over the next five years.

The conversations in the superyacht sector also revolve around addressing sustainability and digital decarbonisation. From yacht design to navigation systems and safety to entertainment technology, superyacht owners want to extend the life of pre-owned yachts as well as invest in ecologically responsible vessels for prolonged use.

The state-of-the-art Xpand Portfolio by IEC Telecom

With the recent acquisition of Maritime Network Systems (MNS), a superyacht communications specialist in the western Mediterranean Sea, IEC Telecom Group has further strengthened its position in the yachting sector. This enables the international satellite service operator to expand its innovative portfolio of hybrid satellite/LTE solutions to serve customers with a wider range of connectivity solutions.

The recent launch of the Xpand Porfolio, powered by Starlink, delivers high-speed connectivity at sea along with network management functionality. Yacht owners can conduct connectivity upgrades in real-time from the vessel itself or a coordination center ashore. With data privacy being the first priority for IEC Telecom, a robust cyber security infrastructure for superyachts is available for fully secure data access over Starlink’s low-latency communications services.

The value-added services and apps within the Xpand Portfolio deliver the same quality of service using a fraction of the data as compared to popular software. Superyacht owners can enjoy the benefits of digitalisation while keeping communication costs at bay. From ONETeam’s flawless videoconferencing to ONEAssist’s hands-free video-streaming to ONEMonitor’s advanced video surveillance, there’s an optimised application for every onboard requirement. Moreover, all IEC Telecom applications remain fully operational even over L-band back-up, guaranteeing business continuity onboard the vessel.

IEC Telecom’s yachting expertise

IEC Telecom is committed to delivering the benefits of digitalisation to all those present onboard – corporate teams, crew, and guests. From full visibility of the onboard network and reliable back-up solutions for corporate communications to voice calls over a public-like stationary phone and preferred messengers for crew welfare, IEC Telecom ensures a seamless communications experience. IEC Telecom also offers onboard guests with data vouchers to enjoy leisure and business communications as per their specific requirements.

IEC Telecom’s onboard information system offers updates in one location, including schedule and route information, weather forecasts and more. The customisable dashboard can be set up to offer additional services and serve as an access point to issue guest vouchers. In addition, our 24×7 technical support team delivers the highest quality of service in many languages across the globe via six channels of support.

Besides, IEC Telecom offers a comprehensive set of applications for corporate use and welfare. The service portfolio includes remote maintenance, telemedicine, and optimised surveillance.

Superyacht owners today demand high-quality connectivity anywhere on the planet and increasing innovations in the satellite communications industry are effectively supporting coastal, marine, and remote tourism activities.

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