11 Jul 2022
The increasing availability of smaller antennas is expected to boost demand for connectivity among mid-sized vessels, including tugs and workboats. These developments will offer new opportunities for tugs and workboats by opening up access to VSAT services without the need for bulky hardware and higher costs. New applications optimised for low-bandwidth environments have also enabled better onboard communications, transforming the level of always-on connectivity on small and medium-sized vessels.
The focus is also shifting from hardware to customised software in the form of smart applications and digital services. IEC Telecom predicts that airtime will become the most important commodity with vessel operators selecting their communications provider, followed by what value-added services they can provide. Iridium Certus is challenging Inmarsat FleetBroadband for coverage and speed. Inmarsat is introducing Elera from its next-generation satellites. Thuraya is also introducing a fourth satellite to provide more connectivity to vessels. IEC Telecom has developed OneAssist to facilitate multi-party video calls over a head-mounted device. This provides voice services over Thuraya MarineStar while encrypted email provision comes via OneMailLite.