The small island of Donsö is renowned as a historic fishing village, where even today boathouses at the harbour honour its rich maritime heritage with name plaques of fishing vessels. It forms the perfect backdrop for Sweden’s biggest all-inclusive trade fair – Donsö Shipping Meet, taking place on June 14th and 15th this year. In the lead up to this event, IEC Telecom Norway, one of the leading satcom service operators in the region, shares insights on the latest trends in marine comms.
“Sea transport is important for a myriad of economic activities in the Nordic region – with 90% of Sweden’s international trade traffic conducted over water,” shares Alf Stian Mauritz, CAO and President – North & Central Europe, IEC Telecom Group. “Due to their locations, heavy process industries in Sweden and Finland are highly dependent on sea transport. Besides, Norway owns the ninth biggest merchant fleet in the world while Denmark operates the fifth largest container fleet in terms of gross tonnage. In parallel today, Donsö has been home to increased activity in the tanker shipping sector, especially for bulk goods and chemicals, and is expanding its harbour for bigger ships,” he adds.
This merchant sector represents the largest market for connectivity needs and has generated about $300 million in maritime satcom service revenues in 2021. With an 18% global share of vessels, the Scandinavian countries and the European Union are heavily invested in maritime satcom installations and emphasise crew welfare. According to Euroconsult, the number of VSATs in the fishing segment alone is expected to increase 400% by 2024 and the bandwidth consumption per vessel is expected to double.
New crew welfare and safety regulations as well as high-performance broadband services even in the harshest weather conditions are prompting vessel owners to readily adopt onboard connectivity. “Tracking and monitoring services in particular are expected to witness a significant growth rate in the near future,” says Mr. Mauritz. With its portfolio of IoT solutions, IEC Telecom offers real-time visibility over maritime operations.
This year, IEC Telecom will present the state-of-the-art LT-4100 satellite communications system at Donsö Shipping Meet for the first time. Suitable for racing, shipping, leisure vessels, and workboats, LT-4100 has been particularly designed for the rough environment at sea. Thanks to a pioneering heating element, it can operate between a broad temperature range, perfect for the Nordic region and its heavy sea traffic. LT-4100 is the first Iridium Certus 100 terminal, delivering voice and data connectivity with 100% global coverage.
IEC Telecom has been part of the Nordic satellite communications market for over a decade, with a regional flagship office in Oslo, Norway.
Always on the lookout to create new opportunities in the maritime industry, IEC Telecom is heading to Vigo in Spain this summer. As one of the largest fishing ports in Europe, Vigo is the ideal location for Navalia 2022, an international naval sector trade fair, taking place from May 24th to 26th, 2022. Not only does the port city generate 6,000 direct jobs, it is home to 357 local fishing companies that turn over €3,000 million every year. IEC Telecom is participating in this exhibition for the first time as part of expanding its presence in the Spanish market.
Spain employs the largest number of people in the fishing sector in the EU, i.e. 38,000 in 2019, and is renowned as a leading producer of fishing products. With over 200 fishermen’s associations, Spain is also heavily committed to innovations in maritime communications, and alongside Poland, Germany, and the UK, Spain is one of the leading countries in the European maritime satellite communication market. As modern fishing moves towards sustainability, catch traceability, and compliance, IEC Telecom wants to empower the fishing industry to take advantage of the latest technological advances in satellite communications – a burgeoning sector with revenues projected at approximately $383.62 million by 2025 in Spain alone.
As such, Navalia has become an essential meeting place for the sector in Spain & Southern Europe. Navalia 2022 has been organised as a three-day event to bring together over 25,000 maritime professionals and 500+ exhibitors from 90 countries to discuss the latest trends in energy efficiency, offshore communications, sustainability, risk prevention, and more.
The recent rising trend in fuel prices – a whopping 200% increase in a year from 40 cents a litre to 1.20 euros a litre – and the calls for emergency measures to ensure the sustainability of the EU fishing sector led to a request to moor the entire Spanish fleet in March 2022 until an agreement could be reached by the Executive Committee and the Permanent Commission of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds to lower the cost of fuel, electricity, and gas.
Satellite communications have had a special impact on the Spanish fishing sector with digitalisation of operations as well as improvements in social sustainability. As the fishing industry looks to satcom to increase operational efficiency, and thus, decrease associated fuel consumption, IEC Telecom plans to deliver integrated and scalable communication services for both critical resource planning and crew welfare.
Crew communications are widely accepted as an important element of seafarer welfare provision and vessel operators are now prioritising onboard systems to enable crew to keep in touch with home. The crisis in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the vital need for internet access and contact with home, while seafarer surveys regularly identify connectivity as a key factor in onboard happiness, recruitment, and retention.
The vital role played by crew connectivity in seafarer wellbeing was underscored recently when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved measures aimed at enhancing crew communications for seafarers impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. These measures were put forward by a number of maritime industry groups and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) – demonstrating the strength of feeling within the whole maritime industry that crew should be able to communicate with home and loved ones and have access to information sources while at sea.
The IMO Council welcomed the proposal that a number of steps should be taken to reduce the suffering of seafarers and their families, including that: “seafarers affected by the conflict should be allowed free access to communications with their families”.
The Covid-19 pandemic, and more recently the crisis in Ukraine, have underscored the vital importance of crew communications on seafarer mental health. And crew health and well-being is an important factor in maritime business operations. Crew represent the largest ship operating costs and the International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) has found that one in five ships has to divert due to crew illness every year, at an average cost per ship of $180,000.
The need for crew communications is strongly evident. At the peak of the pandemic, maritime charity ISWAN, which provides 24-hour multilingual helplines for seafarers and their families, reported it handled more than 2,000 calls in just one month – triple the number for the same period before the Covid-19 outbreak. ISWAN’s project manager Caitlin Vaughan noted that crew communications are particularly important at times of significant family events that the seafarer is unable to be present for, during times of cultural celebration, or to alleviate homesickness.
Connectivity is vitally important to seafarers, and it is good to note that greater availability is improving health and well being. The latest Seafarer Happiness report from Mission to Seafarers found that the current happiness level in relation to connectivity at sea is 6.92 out of 10, up from 6.6. The report states: “Today internet on board is vital. Nobody will stay onboard with poor, expensive, or ineffective network systems.”
Having crew comms at sea is now recognised as a key factor in recruitment and retention and crew surveys have revealed that some crew would change jobs for better internet access even if there was no extra salary on offer. Other industry surveys have identified a clear divide between vessels that provide free or cost-effective access, versus those that do not, with increasing numbers of seafarers stating that they check what access they will have before accepting new contracts – a trend widely predicted to grow. For example, the Futurenautics 2017 survey reported 92% of seafarers said connectivity strongly or very strongly influenced their choice of employer.
But what happens when your vessel is smaller, has little space for communications systems, or budgets are limited?
That’s where compact and versatile systems come into their own. MarineStar E-lite is one such solution, delivering voice and data connectivity in a package that is specially optimised for smaller vessels. Voice services are delivered over Thuraya’s MarineStar terminal while encrypted email provision comes via IEC Telecom’s OneMailLite application.
Quick and easy to install, MarineStar E-Lite enables crew welfare communication as well as reliable access to navigation updates, port notifications, operational instructions, and continuous tracking and monitoring. With fleetwide management control, separate lines for corporate and crew communications, and flexible crew-calling plans, MarineStar E-Lite is a cost-effective alternative to radio and GSM.
Nabil Ben Soussia, Group CCO, President Asia, Middle East and CIS for IEC Telecom, observed: “No-one wants to be away from home at a time of crisis but for many seafarers that is an every day fact of life. Being able to keep in touch with family, friends and world news is essential to them and we are pleased to be able to play a part in delivering that communication, especially in these uncertain times.”
In support of impacted seafarers and their families, IEC Telecom, which has a long history of helping humanitarian efforts, has also significantly reduced its call charges to Ukraine making it easier for vessel operators to provide crucial crew communications.
Mr Ben Soussia commented: “In today’s competitive marketplace it is important to keep pace with workplace developments. Crew connectivity is now a must and something crew, especially younger members, expect. Technology has moved on and now that it is possible to meet those needs even on smaller vessels with limited space or budgets, why wouldn’t you? After all, a happy crew is important to your vessel’s operations.”
Demand for maritime connectivity has escalated over the past week as seafarers clamour to call home, reports digital communications specialist IEC Telecom.
The company advises that its usage figures for the past month show maritime comms traffic has risen by 30%, most of it over the previous seven days and attributable to extra calls to Ukraine.
According to the 2021 BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report, the world fleet employs some 76,442 Ukrainian and 198,123 Russians, accounting for 14.5% of the global workforce.
Responding to the increased demand IEC Telecom has significantly reduced the cost of calls to Ukraine – down to just $0.35 USD per minute – and is offering ship operators a 20% discount on its connectivity ‘scratch cards’ useable on calls anywhere in the world, as well as doubling data services.
Nabil Ben Soussia, Group CCO, President Asia, Middle East and CIS for IEC Telecom, said: “IEC Telecom has been alerted by the situation in Ukraine and its impact on crew at sea who are understandably very worried. We noted the sudden rise in the use of our services and could see clearly that this corresponds with the outbreak of hostilities. IEC Telecom has a long history of helping humanitarian efforts and we want to do all we can to help those affected by what’s happening in Ukraine, which is why we have reduced our rates to enable ship operators to provide more internet and call time to Ukrainian seafarers, many of whom we know have family members in regions where the fighting currently is.”
Crews impacted by the conflict in Ukraine are desperately trying to keep in touch with family and friends as well as seeking up-to-date information, ship operators report. Ships which currently have crew comms systems in place are responding to calls from seafarers to increase bandwidth, speed and availability onboard.
However, for vessels without a satcom system in place they face an additional problem: due to the global shortage of microchips, waiting lists for VSAT systems are currently 3-6 months long.
Mr. Ben Soussia explained that availability of VSAT systems significantly decreased prior to the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, due to the global shortage of microchips caused by the pandemic which has created a worldwide problem for a diverse range of producers including car manufacturers, tech businesses and even laptop suppliers. He encouraged ship operators all over the globe to instead consider installing fixed voice terminals, while those stocks last. Operating akin to public phones, these systems immediately secure crew welfare communications.
He reported: “This is an unprecedented situation. As a shipowner you need to act now to secure your crew communications. In an unstable world, what today is helping Ukrainian seafarers keep in touch with home could help your crew tomorrow.”
Mr Ben Soussia advised that a voice terminal, such as Thuraya’s MarineStar, can be installed by any electrician within a couple of hours and costs the same as a mobile phone to operate. “Don’t wait for problems to impact your crew. Put something in place now to ensure you have a welfare communications system onboard your vessel,” he advised, warning that high demand could soon impact stocks.
The business of digital communication is changing and digital service providers need to keep pace in order to stay relevant and meet customer needs.
Added value and comprehensive service are now the expectation as the shipping industry’s use of digital communication matures and operators require more from their VSAT connection. And essential back-up systems can also work harder to protect business continuity.
Speaking at a recent offshore industry conference, Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group, said: “Today we see far fewer ships operating just with a single line of communication. For example, it’s now common practice to equip an onboard network with one or two back-up lines. In fact, VSAT packages now routinely include L-Band along with any Ka or Ku offer. The business is changing and now, more than ever, digital service providers need to keep up with the pace.”
Speaking alongside him, Antti Syrjanen, VP Portfolio Management at Thuraya, which partners with IEC Telecom on many maritime services, said:
“Thuraya’s next generation program is a comprehensive program that cover land, sea and air connectivity and targets key enterprises in the transportation, logistics, energy, utilities and maritime sectors across Europe, Africa and the Middle East as well as the fast growing Asia Pacific region. Its maritime and energy IoT solutions are ideal for companies that seek flawless and effective management of their large fleets or complex infrastructure and assets”.
Mr Ben Soussia pointed out that the development of specific maritime software is progressing at speed, allowing full customisation of ship and fleet connectivity. He commented: “Vessel operators want to customise their satcom network to maximise what they do with it. The maritime industry requires optimised software capable of operating seamlessly over VSAT and back-up systems as well. Business continuity is essential, otherwise efforts invested into digitalisation could be wasted.”
Between them, IEC telecom and Thuraya are able to meet many of the diverse needs of the maritime industry – from small vessels and workboats, to fishing fleets and ocean-going ships, to offshore oil and gas platforms – making them well-placed to identify changing requirements and anticipate new developments.
The march towards digitalisation, fast-tracked by the pandemic which drove businesses to find new ways of operating, is increasing the data-driven environment. It is predicted that by 2025 almost 50% of data will be stored in the cloud, while about 30% of data generated will be consumed in real-time.
High tech ships and offshore installations are now offices at sea and the associated requirements for managing large volumes of critical data via reliable connectivity are increasing exponentially. With all this reliance on data transfer and vessel monitoring, 24/7 connectivity is now expected. Systems with automated failure and robust back up are therefore essential.
Mr Ben Soussia explains: “Business continuity is critical now whatever the location or local conditions. Digital systems need to be capable of operating seamlessly over GSM and satcom. With the amount of data needing to be recorded and transferred seamlessly between ship and shore, often in real time, a vessel cannot just drop down to email-only mode if the primary network goes down. It is therefore imperative to ensure that vital software services can be delivered both over VSAT and back-up systems so that, when one loses connectivity, the other takes over without breaking connection or losing important data.”
Over the past five years, IEC Telecom has invested in the development of specialised applications optimised for the low-bandwidth environment. In addition to enhanced compression, most of its applications are pre-set to resume data transfer from the moment of interruption in case of any signal loss, thereby saving data, time and money. And Mr Ben Soussia predicts that, as we move towards the potential for full vessel automation, the number of business-critical applications will increase exponentially since all major processes related to vessel management will need to be carried out virtually.
Mr Ben Soussia comments: “Having a back-up system is not a new concept. What is new is the ability to use these systems for important operational functions. Thanks to the new generation of maritime software, this is now a reality and one that will become increasingly important over coming years.”
Nairobi, 28th October 2021. Digitalisation ensures a more sustainable and affordable option for continuity of operations. With Kenya quickly becoming a tech hub for East Africa, connectivity is crucial to empower business owners with increased opportunities for entrepreneurship and state-of-the-art hybrid technologies. Ostatech Limited, a leading information and technology company in Kenya, in partnership with IEC Telecom Group, an international satellite telecommunications provider, held a reception in Kenya that was attended by prominent stakeholders from the government, business community, and satcom industry. This was preceeded by the official signing of a partnership deal between Ostatech Limited and IEC Telecom Group to offer comprehensive connectivity options to businesses in Kenya and East Africa. The reception centered on digital transformation opportunities in Africa and potential collaborations between the government and business community.
As an increasing number of countries in Africa are emerging as digital economies, the continent is poised to become the next great manufacturing center of the world. While high labour intensity, higher productivity, lower costs, and exportability are attracting industries such as agriculture, information technology, tourism, and renewable energy to Africa, it has become even more apparent just how critical a communication infrastructure is to optimise these industrial processes.
Kenya is one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. With heavy investments in ICT and telecom infrastructure, businesses and government bodies are expected to save over Ksh 5 billion in capital with such partnerships between local and global technology companies.
“Connectivity is crucial for efficient, affordable, and safe business processes. Digitalisation can empower business owners with substantially reduced infrastructure investments and state-of-the-art hybrid technologies. It is almost a virtuous circle to see innovations in technology creating opportunities for increased entrepreneurship, and increased incentives for doing business in Kenya creating the demand for more connectivity,” shared Oscar Mwai, Chief Executive Officer, Ostatech Limited.
Satellite connectivity solutions enable integration of the latest technologies with existing government infrastructure, thus, allowing for the provision of e-government services based on big data, AI, and advanced cybersecurity. “Besides optimising e-government services and offering reliable back-up for the GSM network, this partnership aims to provide a wide portfolio of satcom solutions that ensure continuity of operations for election infrastructure as well as portability to support military missions. Our specialised teams offer customisation, technical support, and 24/7 consultancy to empower government services across the whole spectrum of operations they handle on a day-to-day basis,” said Mr. Mwai.
The reception unfolded into in-depth discussions centered on the digital transformation of Africa and unlocking the business opportunities arising from an increasingly connected continent. According to the African Space Industry Annual Report 2019, satellite communications generate approximately US$ 6.5 billion in Africa annually.
Dr. Olufunso Somorin, Regional Principal Officer, African Development Bank, said, “This partnership is key since it creates economic opportunities and incentives for entrepreneurship in Kenya and Africa as a result of investments in innovative infrastructure technologies and satellite communications by these two companies. We’re looking forward to more events such as these to keep the momentum for economic growth up with increased collaborations between the government and business community.”
56% of Kenya’s population is young, lending itself to tech-savvy opportunities in e-learning, remote work, and e-health services. “Satellite connectivity enables educators to teach via videoconferencing and offers children in, otherwise, isolated communities with access to learning materials. It allows remote offices or workers even in areas with no GSM coverage with the ability to access employment opportunities as well as the flexibility of continuing operations no matter where they’re located. And, satellite connectivity also allows field missions, mobile telemedicine hubs, real-time consultations, and accurate healthcare records to be available in communities that may be otherwise unreachable. “ shared Alaa Alsadi, Business Development Director – Middle East & Africa, IEC Telecom Group.
Digitalisation is the gateway to high yields, profitability, and sustainability in the oil and gas as well as agriculture sector with IoT, M2M, and tracking solutions. “We create a dedicated virtual environment for digital operations to ensure the safety of workers and efficient management of resources. We’ve partnered with Ostatech Limited in Kenya to offer such customised functions for optimised business processes,” said Mr. Alsadi. “We offer comprehensive connectivity options over GSM and satellite communications to ensure the safety, security, and continuity of businesses in Kenya. Our tracking and monitoring solutions are designed for a variety of functions as per the needs of our customers so that they can fully benefit from digitalisation.Whether it is high-value asset transport applications or health equipment, we have witnessed amazing transformations in the way our customers operate due to truly innovative technologies and affordable connectivity,” he added.
In an unpredictable and ever-evolving global business environment, digitalisation ensures a more sustainable, efficient, and affordable option for continuity of operations. With Kenya’s expected 5% economic growth annually, digital technologies are sure to empower the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa.
High precision visual data transfer from ship-to-shore at low data rates is now possible thanks to an innovative new surveillance solution available from IEC Telecom.
Working in partnership with Norway-based visual communications specialist AnsuR Technologies, IEC Telecom is now able to offer a surveillance portfolio which can enable real-time transfer of video footage or photographs to help identify a vessel problem or enhance ship security.
The sharing of real-time, high quality video information captured from high precision cameras or sensors in remote locations is often limited due to challenging connectivity environments. Transferring these often large files via satcom can be prohibitively expensive, too slow, or take up too much data and thereby jeopardising critical vessel functions.
The Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled a real need for just such detailed information, supporting a variety of operational use cases including security, vessel maintenance and inspection, especially when a ship is unable to go into port.
IEC Telecom’s software-based solutions are optimised for low bandwidth environments. With access to clear visual data from a vessel at sea, complex operations such as bunkering can be managed more efficiently in real-time with efficient collaboration between onshore experts and the ship’s crew. Not only does this reduce logistical, human resource, and communication costs, it ensures live images can be transferred and discussed no matter where the ship is.
ASIGN, powered by special integrated protocols that have been developed for low bandwidth environments, means this interactive solution enables users to quickly share low resolution preview images and video clips from the remote location in real-time. Decision-makers can then easily select specific areas of interest to then be transferred in higher resolution, thereby reducing data costs and increasing the efficiency of the bandwidth while maintaining the quality of the data transferred.
Designed to deliver real-time video streaming at low data rates, ASMIRA is a specialist software solution that provides the ability for users to optimise the incoming video feed by adjusting bit rate, frame rate, and resolution, thus enabling an efficient high precision transfer. With HD quality at <200 kbps and SD quality at 50 kbps, this incredible solution is particularly useful for video transfers over satellite.
Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group, explained: “Our surveillance portfolio, powered by AnsuR, allows you to remain tactical without incurring huge costs. The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of being able to share situational awareness via a reliable communication system, to enable efficient maintenance, management, remote inspections and enhance crew safety.
“There are times when details matter. Responding to the needs of our maritime customers and those in the offshore sector, we are now able to provide this optimised software which can support visual data transfer in low bandwidth environments.”
Paul Gudonis, Chief Strategy Officer, of AnsuR Technologies commented: “We are thrilled to be working closely with IEC Telecom to deliver cost-effective, bandwidth efficient video and image transfer to the maritime industry. Together we can address the challenges faced by the offshore community experienced during remote survey, support enhanced onboard security of crew, assets and freight, and address government regulations where visual evidence is required.”
Transmitting high precision images from the scene of disasters, accidents or emergencies is now possible without incurring huge costs or compromising communications networks, thanks to an innovative new surveillance solution available from IEC Telecom.
Working in partnership with Norway-based visual communications specialist AnsuR Technologies, IEC Telecom is now able to offer a surveillance portfolio, which can enable real-time transfer of video footage or photographs from even the harshest of environments, meaning first responders can share accurate details immediately to convey the scale and detail of a disaster situation, all protected by end-to-end encryption.
The sharing of real-time, high quality video information captured from high precision cameras or sensors in remote locations is often limited due to challenging connectivity environments. Transferring these often large files via satcom can be very slow and use large amounts of bandwidth, making it an expensive operation which compromises the whole communications network.
This new surveillance portfolio from IEC Telecom offers access to clear visual data from a remote site so that complex operations can be managed more efficiently in real-time with efficient collaboration between off-site experts and field personnel.
ASIGN, powered by special integrated protocols that have been developed for low bandwidth environments, means this interactive solution enables users to quickly share low resolution preview images and video clips from the remote location in real-time. Decision-makers can then easily select specific areas of interest to then be transferred in higher resolution, thereby reducing data costs and increasing the efficiency of the bandwidth while maintaining the quality of the data transferred.
Designed to deliver real-time video streaming at low data rates, ASMIRA is a specialist software solution that provides the ability for users to optimise the incoming video feed by adjusting bit rate, frame rate, and resolution, thus enabling an efficient high precision transfer. With HD quality at <200kbps and SD quality at 50kbps, this incredible solution is particularly useful for video transfers over satellite.
Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group, explained: “Our surveillance portfolio, powered by AnsuR, allows you to remain tactical without incurring huge costs. Being able to share situational awareness via a reliable communication system is crucial, particularly during the initial stages of emergency response. This new software does not require heavy set up and can operate even over portable modem, such as Thuraya WE. We understand the importance of timely data in critical situations and are proud to support aid workers with a toolkit, that will not only save time and resources but contribute to the overall success of remote missions.”
Paul Gudonis, Chief Strategy Officer of AnsuR commented: “AnsuR’s software solutions were originally developed to support disaster management and it is a use case that sits at the heart of our company ethos. We are thrilled to be partnered with IEC Telecom to bring solutions to the humanitarian community, providing disaster responders and emergency managers with the tools needed to gather and share the real-time imagery in a cost effective and bandwidth efficient manner, thereby enabling them to create an accurate and reliable common operating picture, to prioritise need, to identify gaps and to forecast threat. Together, we can help to save lives, property and protect the environment.”
This innovative offering comes just weeks after IEC Telecom and Thuraya Telecommunications introduced the new capabilities of Thuraya WE, which is a portable communication solution that supports remote missions and ensures operational continuity. Thuraya WE offers access to an incredible range of optimised corporate and welfare apps to bring affordable satcom connectivity to the field even in low bandwidth environments – now, including surveillance capabilities powered by AnsuR. Mr Ben Soussia commented: “Re-equipped with AnsuR the Thuraya WE now offers a tactical advantage to teams in the field.”
With the rising demand for corporate applications to support remote operations, Thuraya Telecommunications and IEC Telecom are jointly introducing new capabilities of the innovative future-ready communications solution – Thuraya WE. Enabling affordable prepaid packages for real-time communications and supplying high-end video transmissions from the field, Thuraya WE operates on Thuraya network’s uninterrupted coverage across two-thirds of the globe over MSS to address the key pain points of operations no matter where they’re located.
For almost all facets of daily business and personal life tasks, we’ve come to expect that ‘there’s an app for that’. Businesses are capitalising on a $105 billion app economy (as of 2020) as apparent with a CAGR of 57% this year. In recent years, and because of the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in demand for corporate apps to support remote operations. Staying offline is no longer affordable. It is estimated that unplanned downtime costs businesses $50 billion every year and maintenance expenses constitute anywhere between 15% to 40% of production cost.
It is relatively easy to ensure business continuity for remote operations in areas under GSM coverage. Keeping far-away units connected is a lot more challenging. Today, a lot of corporate applications have been optimized for a narrow band satcom channel, but welfare programmes and video maintenance have remained clearly outside of the budget. Thuraya WE will change the status quo, enabling affordable pre-paid packages for personal communication and supplying high-end video transmission from the field.
“Our solutions are inspired by daily collaboration with humanitarian missions and remote enterprises all over the world. We know of challenges in the field firsthand, and in introducing new capabilities of Thuraya WE, we have first and foremost focused on the key pain points of operations in faraway locations. Together with Thuraya Telecommunications, we have joined efforts to bring the most affordable satcom connectivity to remote teams,” shares Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS, IEC Telecom Group.
“Thuraya WE can be used to enable a welfare programme at costs comparable to GSM,” says Mr. Ben Soussia. Communication credits may be offered within a corporate CSR programme, and as and when the need arises, additional units can be made available for purchase individually onsite or through distribution channels in every country.
When coupled with the OneAssist application (powered by DigiGone) and a handsfree headset (a fully rugged device that can be attached to helmets and used with safety glasses), Thuraya WE levels up into a powerful remote management solution. OneAssist is accessed via a high-resolution display that corresponds to a 7” tablet view. Field personnel can stay in touch with HQ, share live videos and snapshots of ongoing onsite issues, and receive technical assistance from faraway experts even in low bandwidth and hard to reach environments. Not only will this increase operational efficiency, but also allows to save costs by eliminating the logistical hassle of sending a technical support team to the field every time there is a need to change a spare part or install an update.
“With Thuraya’s resilient network and wide coverage across two-thirds of the globe, Thuraya WE ensures ease of use, affordability, and efficiency,” says Jassem Nasser, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Thuraya Telecommunications Company. “Thuraya WE is an innovative solution that expands the scope of business operations for diverse sectors to areas outside terrestrial coverage. As market demands evolve rapidly, we, at Thuraya, focus on such innovative solutions and flexible applications that keep our customers ahead of the competitive curve.”
Lightweight and compact, Thuraya WE is an innovative communication solution to ensure adaptability to the new levels of productivity, operational efficiency, and safety requirements of today’s business environment. Empowering remote teams with dependable connectivity no matter where they’re located and access to optimized apps for corporate and welfare activities is a powerful strategy to ensure business continuity while gaining a competitive edge.
With an increasing number of businesses operating units in remote areas, connectivity is crucial to ensure the efficiency and continuity of processes as well as the safety of workers in the field. Innovations in satellite technology and digitalisation are empowering these remote communities with access to resources almost on par with well-connected urban areas.
The Covid-19 pandemic made it even more apparent just how intrinsic satellite connectivity has become to the way we do business, live, and communicate with others. From port closures and movement restrictions to a high demand for constant connectivity and the ability to exchange large amounts of data, digitalisation has enabled easy access even in areas not served by GSM services.
This constant connectivity requires competent maintenance, optimised control systems, and cost-efficient logistics. Remote maintenance technologies are at the crux of our evolving business environment and help to optimise capital investment in hardware as well as save on the cost and complex logistics involved in sending technicians to far-flung sites. As this demand grows, the global remote monitoring and control system market is expected to reach US $135,190.5 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.3%.
“Remote maintenance and control offer real-time monitoring of a company’s assets and help to keep costs low. You cannot expect to remain competitive without remote maintenance technology in today’s business environment,” said Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS, IEC Telecom Group. “Sending a technician to physically assess and fix a problem involves costly logistics and expenses, such as fuel, insurance, and inherent labour costs, which can add up quickly. It is far more effective to utilise remote systems that function even in low bandwidth environments and are extremely user-friendly,” he added.
Offering virtual assistance to remote units, OneAssist is an optimised hands-free video solution that has been designed with the specific requirements of remote workers in mind. Field personnel can share snapshots of ongoing onsite issues and receive live technical assistance from shore experts, as well as easily accessing the complete knowledge resources of their organisations via a secure communication link.
“OneAssist is perfect for remote collaboration with multi-party video and audio calls. It is easily accessible over a high-resolution display on a rugged head-mounted device that is attached to a helmet. This hands-free approach frees up the time that field workers or technicians spend looking at a paper manual and almost 80% of concerns can be resolved quickly with such remote access,” advised Mr Ben Soussia.
Developed as part of the new OptiConnect suite by IEC Telecom, OneAssist is powered by DigiGone and is an incredible communication solution no matter how remote the region may be. It is fully aligned with IoT data visualisation and offers unmatched noise cancellation as well as speech recognition in loud areas, ensuring operational efficiency as well as the safety of remote workers.
The OptiConnect application portfolio includes OneHealth, a portable digital telemedicine kit; OneMonitor, a video surveillance software with advanced remote access; and OneTeam, an application for videoconferencing. These state-of-the-art solutions are especially optimised for remote locations and enable cost-effective connectivity across the globe.
“Remote maintenance technologies such as OneAssist can improve asset longevity by 20% and save up to 40% of the cost of traditional installations. In addition, remote maintenance is more sustainable, efficient, and effective in ensuring business continuity in unpredictable and ever-evolving circumstances,” Mr Ben Soussia commented.
“With increasing need and capability to reach remote locations worldwide, integrating with IEC Telecom’s OneAssist will provide cost efficiencies and lifesaving solutions to the customers we serve. Minimizing risk, providing reliable access, and improving our client’s reach are at the core of our solutions. We are excited and proud to partner with IEC to deliver on this promise,” concluded Michael Dunleavy, President at DigiGone.
Availability of an onboard voice service has become as essential as having life-jackets or a first aid kit. And, as digitalisation spreads across the shipping industry, having access to email services is gaining equal importance in order to receive navigation updates, port notifications and operational instructions.
Now both these vital services – voice and data – are available over one compact antenna with minimal bandwidth requirements, thanks to a partnership development from IEC Telecom and GTMaritime.
MarineStar E-Lite provides voice and data connectivity in a package optimised for smaller vessels. Voice services are delivered over Thuraya’s Marine Star terminal, while email provision comes via IEC Telecom’s OneMailLite application, powered by GTMaritime. This dedicated connectivity solution is equipped with a fleetwide shore-side dashboard, allowing full visibility over performance, threat management and enabling remote changes to system configurations and real-time management of consumption limits. In addition, all files being transferred are compressed up to 95%, saving on airtime costs.
“MarineStar E-Lite is the most affordable solution designed particularly for small vessels. There’s no more need for long-term commitments or heavy airtime plans and no hidden costs either. This package is geared to cover the basic communication requirements and it does it well,” said Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group.
By default, MarineStar offers two lines to separate corporate communication and crew welfare. By including an email app, this voice terminal can now serve as a comprehensive communication solution for small and mid-sized vessels as well as a resilient back-up solution for large VSAT-equipped vessels.
“Cargo vessels, tankers and bulk carriers are well prepared to support the rising demand for digital connectivity. With VSAT on board, crews have an almost GSM user experience. However, a lot of our customers, especially in Asia and MENA regions, own mid and small-sized vessels that have no room or budget for such a set up. During the pandemic the need for connectivity has become more apparent, particularly for the fishing industry and for offshore support vessels,” explained Mr. Ben Soussia. “The impact of travel restrictions, port closures and other Covid-19 operating requirements meant that the precise coordination of their work became more important than ever, particularly considering the need to decrease crew capacity to ensure social distancing. With reliable e-mail service on board, such precision became achievable”.
Vessel operators need reliability and OneMailLite ensures email is successfully delivered, even if the vessel passes through the area with no signal. The app continues to work offline and automatically resumes data transfer from point of interruption.
This precision also proves its worth in the leisure sector which has experienced an increase in bookings as people use yachts as a safe haven to work or holiday. Reliable voice and data services on board allow vessel owners to remain reachable at all times as well as ensuring improved safety for the crew and guests.
With cyber security an essential consideration, particularly following the implementation of the IMO’s cyber guidelines. The OneMailLite application has been developed in accordance with latest data protection regulations and includes robust security features.
“Attention to cyber security is one of the core principles behind the GTMaritime technology. OneMailLite is end-to-end encrypted. The app is equipped with multiple virus scanners and spam filters to ensure the mail received is safe and relevant. This approach boosts cyber security and helps vessel owners to comply with latest data protection legislation,” outlined Kirstie Williams, Head of Sales from GTMaritime.
“We’ve been working with the IEC Telecom team over the past few months to incorporate our software into their product portfolio to ensure that all vessels, no matter the size, can have a cyber secure and stable maritime optimized solution. We are confident that this partnership will meet the demanding requirements for all IEC customers.”
Enhanced satellite connectivity will help improve the mental well-being of aid-agency workers in the field by boosting communications in remote locations, assisting team work and providing an accessible support network, according to satellite communications specialists IEC Telecom and Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications.
A high proportion of aid workers report that they have experienced mental health issues in the workplace. According to a mental health and wellbeing survey* of the Global Development Professional Network, 79% of respondents stated they had experienced mental health issues with the overwhelming majority, 93%, believing this was related to their work in the aid industry.
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic expedited the spread of digitalisation across many industries and the humanitarian sector was among the first to acknowledge the need for change. With travel restrictions and local lockdowns, isolated teams in remote areas rely extensively on the resources of their headquarters and communication has become even more essential.
Satellite connectivity’s role is now central to the continuity of operations undertaken by remote missions, particularly for mobile units in areas with limited or no reliable mobile phone (GSM) coverage. As a result, demand for robust satellite communications solutions has increased exponentially, especially among medical missions and teams supporting isolated communities.
Addressing the World Humanitarian Forum’s hybrid event in London on 19 May 2021, Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group, and Steven Tompkins, Director, Market Development, Inmarsat Enterprise, explained how the development of satellite technology is making it easier to communicate with aid workers in the field and to provide support networks and assistance to them.
Mr Ben Soussia said: “When you are working in a challenging role like humanitarian aid it is important to not feel excluded, either corporately or physically. Satellite connectivity can provide a support network to ensure you are able to work alongside colleagues elsewhere and share the burden of work.
“With the advancements in telecommunications it is now possible to carry out real-time conversations via videoconferencing, to have telemedicine consultations when and where they are needed, and to reliably transfer large amounts of data instantly. This means remote workers can be better supported without busting budgets. We’ve already seen this happening in the oil and gas offshore sector and we see real benefits for the humanitarian sector too,” Soussia explained.
Establishing communications in the field is a key priority in the initial phases of any humanitarian crisis. With every second counting, fly-away solutions like Inmarsat LX VSAT terminal can be set up onsite quickly and easily without the need for an engineer, thereby enabling immediate connectivity to data, video and voice services over satellite. Reliable back-up can be provided by its BGAN service while connecting IEC Telecom’s revolutionary OneGate system gives access to essential connectivity tools and added value applications like OneAssist (hadsfree headset for remote maintenance), OneHealth (telemedicine) and OneMonitor (remote surveillance). With its virtual dashboard OneGate allows specialist access remotely, meaning the system can be set-up, adapted, updated and monitored from afar. This gives a great deal more flexibility and future-proofing to the communication network and the services which can be accessed via satellite connectivity.
In the field what is needed is proven, reliable and always-on connectivity, as provided by Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service. Delivered by its resilient and reliable L-band satellite network, BGAN is the industry standard for mobile satellite connectivity, trusted by governments and businesses across the world to deliver 99.9% satellite and ground network availability when its most needed.
With the help of satellite communications systems, aid agencies can set up temporary offices using semi-fixed modems, access corporate applications, manage logistics, and rely on a wide variety of digitally extended services that enable e-learning, remote maintenance, telemedicine, and more.
Mr Tompkins outlined: “The pandemic has focussed attention on health and well-being and given the world a greater understanding of the problems faced by isolated workforces. We will continue to work with the humanitarian sector to resolve this challange. Our technology roadmap includes planned improvements in order to offer more affordable, mobile solutions operating at higher speeds to support growing demand in communication and industry-specific applications.”
IEC Telecom has signed a partnership agreement with Iridium to become one of the official Iridium GMDSS service providers.
For a long time, the GMDSS market was limited to only one satellite technology provider. This has changed with the introduction of the Iridium GMDSS service in December 2020. Offering truly global coverage, Iridium has become the only operator providing this type of service for vessels navigating in sea area A4, which includes the polar regions.
“Signing this partnership agreement with Iridium synchronises with our strategic vision to provide our customers with a reliable service where and when they need it the most, including the Northern Shipping Routes. The latter have a great potential to become a competitive trade channel in the near future. Cargo traffic in that area has been increasing for the past five years and this trend is here to stay,” says Dominique Audion, Group Chief Strategy Officer, IEC Telecom.
Iridium GMDSS is first and foremost a life-saving serving service. Therefore, it was designed with a safety voice line to ensure efficient sea-to-shore communication. Now, in addition to sending a distress alert, with the same terminal seafarers are able to actually call the Rescue Coordination Center and explain the nature of the emergency. This addition will significantly improve the efficiency of RCC operations and ensure that resources allocated to rescue missions are proportionate to the gravity of the situation onsite.
“We anticipate a big demand for Iridium GMDSS in the Asia-Pacific market, considering the high concentration of small and mid-sized vessels in this region. Crews on these types of vessels often have access to fewer resources than other professional mariners and are therefore exposed to a greater risk, particularly if sailing in deep waters. With an Iridium GMDSS terminal onboard, vessel owners secure better working conditions for the crew as well as increasing the likelihood for assets to be salvaged if the ship sinks,” explained Mr Audion.
With non-SOLAS class vessels in mind, Iridium GMDSS comes with a cost-effective price and intuitive interface, easy to use for seafarers of all qualifications. The LT-3100S terminal by Lars Thrane – the first system licensed for Iridium GMDSS service – initiates both Distress Alert and Safety Voice operations with the press of just one button. It is also designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, securing a reliable emergency line at all times.
“COVID had a major impact on the maritime supply chain in Europe, with volume of port calls dropping by 13% in 2020. Vessel owners are seeking innovative solutions to optimize expenditure in order to remain competitive. Iridium GMDSS caters to this demand as well, offering a more cost-effective technology when compared to the market alternatives while providing a much broader set of functionalities,” Mr Audion concluded.
Iridium GMDSS service will become commercially available via IEC Telecom starting from May 2021 and will be provided to customers across all of the flag states which have so far licensed the service.
“As an official Iridium GMDSS provider, IEC Telecom is playing a critical role in enhancing mariners’ safety at sea,” says Bryan Hartin, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Iridium. “We are proud that more mariners now have the opportunity to adopt this lifesaving service with the support of IEC Telecom.”
The advancement of digitalisation is now bringing benefits to businesses in hard-to-reach locations, transforming the way they operate and making life easier for customers in remote areas inadequately served by terrestrial networks.
As it unveils its connectivity solution, Voyager Edge, IEC Telecom says satellite-based solutions can bridge the digital divide and enable remote communities to have equal communication opportunities and to access the services that many city residents are able to take for granted.
“With today’s digital technology it is possible to conduct business in areas which were previously not linked to communications networks or where connectivity levels were poor. Imagine being able to transport your office, bank, or service directly to the communities that need you and carry out day-to-day operations without the need to install communications towers or expensive infrastructure,” outlines Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group. “The same concept can be applied to other areas of operation, thereby enabling telemedicine for healthcare, connecting supply chains for logistic companies, facilitating remote maintenance for public utility services, and so on – it’s an exciting development.”
By using the vehicular Voyager Edge V solution, any car/van can be transformed into a remote office. Thanks to the automated failover between GSM and satcom mode, this new system will ensure reliable connectivity for mobile units no matter how remote. Not only does Voyager Edge expand the scope of operations, it offers a completely new perception of service delivery and creates new opportunities for public and private sectors.
“Imagine if the bank or post office could come to your village once or twice a week – this can transform the socio-economic development for remote,” he said, “This innovative technology is fundamental to the decentralisation of services.”
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 50% of adults worldwide – 2.5 billion people* – do not have an account in a formal financial institution, such as a bank, credit union, cooperative, post office, or microfinance institution. Without an account in a financial institution it is more difficult for people to receive wages, remittances, and government payments –which means people in remote areas can be disadvantaged. Removing the physical barriers to accessing banking facilities could expand the use of bank accounts and the financial advantages that accompany them. Financial Access Survey data from the World Bank shows that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in low- and middle-income countries have limited access to borrowing despite the fact they contribute up to 40 percent of national income and create 70–95 percent of new jobs.**
The telecommunication infrastructure is generally regarded as one of the fundamental factors for economic development, and in very remote environments it is a lifeline, enabling access to government services, commercial opportunities, social infrastructure, information networks, communication networks, e-learning, telemedicine etc.
The Voyager Edge solution combines Thuraya’s IP Voyager reliable, high-quality vehicular satellite terminal with IEC Telecom’s agile, lightweight, and easy-to-install OneGate Compact to provide a dual GSM/satcom service with least-cost routeing, a secured channel for confidential communications and data transfers, virtual dashboard, advanced cyber security, robust back-up facilities and GPS tracking in real-time to ensure continuity of operations and the safety of remote workers. An advanced filtration toolkit can prioritise communications and restrict usage while the dedicated digital portal offers 24/7 access to consumption reports.
Mr Ben Soussia commented: “Satcom technologies will help to close a digital divide between urban and remotely-based communities. Voyager Edge V expands horizons for governmental, NGO’s and business operations, enabling a new environment for social and economic initiatives to thrive.”
In this digital age, maritime communications are set to move away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach to become fully customisable, predicts connectivity specialist IEC Telecom.
As it launches its new comprehensive suite of applications for use across a wide range of maritime sectors, IEC Telecom says having the flexibility to provide individual, customised solutions across fleets and even for individual vessels is the next step in the digital revolution.
Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group, said: “Customisation using individual solutions will play a leading role in the future of maritime digitalisation. The advanced sectors of the industry are already moving away from the need to have different systems and devices. Instead, future maritime communications will be housed in one device, fully customisable, adaptable and upgradeable whatever, whenever and wherever you need.
“We are delighted to offer this additional layer of services to meet the requirements of our maritime clients across the globe,” he said.
OptiSoft offers a wide range of advanced communication services optimised for the maritime industry including reliable email management, advanced cyber security, robust data transfer, and remote configuration, as well as enabling a range of vessel administration processes.
The suite of services is managed via a cloud-based dashboard which can be accessed by any web-enabled device. The applications can be added or amended remotely, giving a high-level of flexibility to the system.
OptiSoft’s suite of applications currently includes:
OptiSoft services can be accessed via a connected laptop with lowest bandwidth requirements. Hence the new portfolio of services is affordable both to small and large vessels. Although OptiSoft does not require any specialized hardware, vessel owners can maximize its performance with OneGate system. Combined, these two solutions will offer 360 toolkit for marine communication, supported by an advanced network management features including filtration, QoS, LTE-failover and more.
Mr Ben Soussia added: “Having worked with the maritime sector for many years we are able to identify what our customers need and produce solutions which are futureproof. Optisoft will transform the way you operate your fleet connectivity.
“In addition, all of these advanced applications have been developed to include a strong element of cyber security – protecting your vessel systems while helping you to comply with the latest cyber security regulations, including the IMO’s new guidelines. As industry requirements evolve, we are committed to supplying services which meet all demands.”
IEC Telecom and Thuraya introduced Orion Edge V (“V” for virtual), a state-of-the-art satcom system which offers an affordable VSAT-like experience over compact hardware. Digitalisation, previously reserved for large vessels, is now available for smaller crafts.
At a time when some 60% of Middle Eastern companies report that they are now actively investing in digital technologies, digitalised vessels have a competitive advantage when it comes to adapting to challenges and optimising business opportunities. The United Arab Emirates is one of the top 20 most digitally advanced economies in the world, and in the maritime sector, many Middle East port operators are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive value in the digital economy, which is estimated to grow to a value of $14 trillion by 2030.
Until now these digital benefits have been unavailable to small and mid-sized vessels. However, IEC Telecom has joined forces with Thuraya, the leading global satellite operator, to bring affordable quality satcom technology to customers with limited onboard space via the cutting-edge Orion Edge V. The new solution enables a VSAT-like communications experience over L-band with access to a cloud-based system, offering a wide range of telecom services.
Incorporating IEC Telecom’s ground-breaking OneGate system into the pre-existing Orion Edge solution has brought communications to a new level with a wide range of telecom services now available via a virtual platform. ICT managers can monitor and control the network across all vessels of their fleet remotely via a user-friendly set of dashboards. New services, including telemedicine, videoconferencing, and remote maintenance, can be added on demand via IEC Telecom’s application store.
Following the successful launch in Asia-Pacific at the end of November 2020, IEC Telecom and Thuraya introduced this digital game-changer to EMEA customers during the Seatrade Maritime Middle East Virtual event, a three-day tradeshow and conference, which took place in Dubai from 14th to16th December, 2020. Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO for Asia, Middle East & CIS, IEC Telecom Group, and Shawkat Ahmed, Chief Commercial Officer, Thuraya Telecommunications Company, also shared their knowledge and experience during a deep dive live session on Tuesday, December 15th, where they outlined how the virtualisation of telecommunication services presents new opportunities for all vessel types.
Mr. Ben Soussia said, “Today we are experiencing a significantly higher demand for digital solutions, which has been escalated by the pandemic. Launching Orion Edge V in the UAE market has highlighted the benefits of digitalisation that are now available even to small vessels via state-of-the-art virtual platforms, keeping in mind investment and space constraints.”
Mr. Ahmed stated, “We are pleased to work with IEC Telecom to develop this connectivity solution, which brings significant benefits to an important market segment. In today’s competitive marketplace, innovation is key to success. You need to be able to adapt quickly to business requirements with efficient solutions. Orion Edge V packs the broadband capabilities of Thuraya’s Orion IP terminal with the reliable voice, tracking, and monitoring features of Thuraya MarineStar. The combination offers a stable voice and data connectivity solution that can easily be transferred to another vessel, if needed.”
Digitalisation enables optimised operations, cost efficiency, and a competitive advantage, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further served to accentuate the need for digital solutions in the maritime sector. In the past, digitalisation was reserved for large vessels connected to VSAT. Virtualisation of telecommunication services extends this benefit to all vessel types over compact L-band terminals.
Globally, the small boats sector has evolved steadily over recent years and is forecasted to grow at 7% by 2024 to become a $13.8 billion industry. The UAE fleet includes numerous smaller vessels, particularly those supporting its growing offshore oil and gas sector.
Mr. Ben Soussia commented, “For small ships, such as offshore support vessels, it is important to remain within tight budgetary requirements. This agile product gives you the confidence to be in control of costs while benefitting from all that is possible through digital communications now and for years to come. To support this market, IEC Telecom offers Orion Edge V with flexible tariff plans and an option of free hardware for project-based subscriptions, enabling fleet managers to get their vessel connected with zero capital investment in a short span of time. It’s a win-win and we are delighted to introduce Orion Edge V during this year’s virtual Seatrade Maritime Middle East.”
With a digitalised world now inevitable, the digital economy has grown two and a half times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years. It is now worth $11.5 trillion globally, equivalent to 15.5% of the global GDP. The global digital transformation market is predicted to grow to $1,009.8 billion by 2025, and organisations in the Middle East and Africa are expected to spend $30 billion (Dh110.1bn) on digital transformation this year.
Mr. Ben Soussia commented, “For maritime and offshore businesses, digital connectivity represents the future, and we are pleased to announce that the future, particularly for forward-thinking countries such as the UAE, is available now!”
Digitalised vessels have a competitive advantage when it comes to adapting to challenges and optimising business opportunities – but until now such benefits have been unavailable to smaller crafts.
Now, IEC Telecom has joined forces with Thuraya, the leading global satellite operator, to bring affordable quality satcom technology to smaller vessels that have limited onboard space with the cutting-edge Orion Edge V, which enables a VSAT-like communications experience over L-band with access to a cloud-based system offering a wide range of telecom services.
In preparation for the official launch to be held during this week’s virtual OSEA2020, Jassem Nasser, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, Thuraya Telecommunications, said, “We are pleased to work with IEC Telecom to develop this connectivity solution which will be of significant benefit to an important marketplace. In these difficult times, flexibility is key. You need to be able to adapt quickly to business requirements with agile solutions. Orion Edge V operates using a combination of Thuraya’s Orion IP broadband and the MarineStar circuit-switch voice terminals, providing a compact connectivity digital solution that can easily be transferred to another vessel if needed.”
Incorporating IEC Telecom’s ground-breaking OneGate system into the pre-existing Orion Edge solution has brought communications to a new level with all telecom services now available via a virtual platform. ICT managers can monitor and control the network across all vessels of their fleet remotely via a user-friendly set of dashboards. New services, including telemedicine, videoconferencing, and remote maintenance, can be added on demand via IEC Telecom’s application store.
“Today we are experiencing a significantly higher demand for digital solutions in light of the new IMO regulations, which come into effect in January 2021 and require vessel operators to ensure the onboard cyber security of connected ships. I am delighted to announce that this level of virtualised digital connectivity, incorporating advanced cyber security features, is now available to smaller vessels,” said Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS, IEC Telecom Group.
He added: “For small ships, such as offshore support vessels, it is important to remain within tight budgetary requirements. This agile product gives you the confidence to be in control of costs while benefiting from all that is possible through digital communications now and for years to come. To support this market, IEC Telecom and Thuraya offer Orion Edge V with flexible tariff plans and an option of free hardware for project-based subscriptions, enabling fleet managers to get their vessel connected with zero capital investment in a short span of time. It’s a win-win and we are delighted to introduce Orion Edge V during this year’s virtual OSEA.”
Globally, the small boats sector has evolved steadily over recent years and is forecasted to grow at 7% by 2024 to become a $13.8 billion industry. The Asia-Pacific region has a proliferation of smaller vessels, particularly those supporting its growing offshore oil and gas sector. IEC Telecom and Thuraya have developed this advanced solution in response to the needs expressed by customers in the Asia Pacific region. Orion Edge V overcomes the challenges of going digital for smaller vessels.
Moreover, the worldwide march towards digitalisation is accelerating and has further increased pace since the Covid-19 pandemic as maritime sectors turned to digital solutions to overcome a range of logistical challenges that encompass ports, vessel surveys, supply chain matters, and crew communications. A recent study conducted by Ocean Insights revealed that 42% of businesses in the freight industry will change their supply chain strategies as a result of the pandemic with 67% regarding technology as the key to doing so.
With a digitalised world now inevitable, the digital economy has grown two and a half times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years. It is now worth $11.5 trillion globally, equivalent to 15.5 percent of the global GDP. The global digital transformation market is predicted to grow to USD 1,009.8 billion by 2025.
Mr Ben Soussia commented: “For maritime and offshore businesses, digital connectivity represents the future, and we are pleased to announce that the future is available now!”
IEC Telecom Group (IEC Telecom), satcom solutions provider, debuts OneGate Marine Compact to equip small and medium sized vessels in Asia, with VSAT-like connectivity by optimizing L-Band capacity.
Following its successful launch in Europe earlier this year, IEC Telecom’s OneGate Marine Compact is now available in Asia allowing small and medium sized vessels, which represent close to 50% of shipping traffic in the region, to enjoy connectivity at sea previously available only to larger vessels.
The fleet of small and medium-sized boats are currently underserved by the maritime communication sector. The existing VSAT terminals are unsuitable for use on these vessels due to size and high sensitivity to movements.
The smaller the vessel the more prone it is to vibration; under harsh weather conditions at sea, directive VSAT antennas would be unable to guarantee stable signals. Additionally, current solutions in the market require high capital investment and a long-term commitment, with a minimum of three-year service contracts.
Considering all the factors above, it becomes obvious that a small and medium sized vessel owner is placed at a disadvantage in adopting new technologies, causing them to lag behind bigger vessels in the digitalisation wave of the industry.
Acknowledging the pain points of this segment, IEC Telecom came up with OneGate Marine Compact to overcome the challenges faced by shipowners on technical specifications and cost. OneGate Marine Compact provides the solution to optimize L-band capacity bringing VSAT-like experience over Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) terminal.
Optimizing the L-band will enable digitalization for small and mid-sized vessels which will allow the hosting of applications enabling high bandwidth-consuming services such as telemedicine, video conferencing, crew management, crew welfare IoT and more.
Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO, Asia, Middle East and CIS at IEC Telecom said: “When we started the development of OneGate Marine Compact a year ago, we could not have anticipated the upcoming pandemic, but its launch now comes at the right time.
“Covid-19 makes connectivity of paramount importance and surfaced many inherent weaknesses faced by the industry and new regulations, like port closure, can be imposed at any time. While large vessels are equipped with several channels of communication, most small and mid-sized vessels remain out of reach.
“Today, with the launch of OneGate Marine Compact, for the first time in the industry, digitalisation becomes possible and most importantly affordable to all maritime sectors, offered with flexible tariff plans and no long-term commitment. Besides, the new technology will enable maritime SMEs to use various telecom applications to optimize their business processes and increase operational efficiency, creating new opportunities and contributing to the regional GDP growth.”
IEC Telecom is the Silver sponsor at the Asia Pacific Shipping Forum held online from 4 to 5 November 2020 and Nabil Ben Soussia will be sharing more on OneGate Marine Compact in his session titled “Digitalisation for all vessel types: not a myth but a reality”.
IEC Telecom Group (IEC Telecom), satcom solutions provider, supports the World Maritime Day 2020 theme “Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet” by encouraging the fishing industry to adopt improved data collection procedures in an effort to curb overfishing of the world’s oceans.
This year, World Maritime Day aims to raise awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and one of the goals that resonates strongly with IEC is the call to ”Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.
In response to both environmental and market needs, IEC Telecom, Thuraya Sales Partner in Asia, presents MarineStar, a reliable solution to monitor fishing activities and inventory. The goal is to prevent overfishing and the data collected will also increase the efficiency of local governing bodies in areas such as catch traceability and fishing control.
Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO, Asia, Middle East and CIS at IEC Telecom said: “Unregulated fishing remains a global problem with severe consequences financially and environmentally. The fisheries market in Asia accounts for more than half of the total marine capture. However, the inability to record fishing activities and collect data efficiently makes scientific estimates of fish population health impossible. Meanwhile, for these small and medium size vessels which are predominant in Asia, cost and space onboard are the main hurdles to install these systems.”
With satellite connectivity at a cost comparable to a GSM service, Thuraya MarineStar enables improved sea-to-shore communication. When instructions are received on a timely basis, it can significantly impact vessel operations with optimised navigation and reduced labour hours. In addition, MarineStar offers catch reporting and vessel tracking functionalities, helping fishing enterprises manage fleet more efficiently, while meeting regulatory requirements.
“The fishing economy provides livelihood to millions in Asia and will continue to do for years to come. World Maritime Day is a timely reminder to the industry that business goals and sustainability goal can co-exist. Although the shipping industry is facing unprecedented challenges, unsustainable fishing poses long-term threat to our planet and that should not be left unchecked. To achieve UN’s goal of effectively regulate harvesting and end illegal fishing by 2020, we need the urgency to bring this issue into perspective again and this is what we are trying to achieve with Thuraya MarineStar and our suite of communications technologies.” Nabil Ben Soussia concluded.
Demand for faster and cheaper connectivity at sea is set to increase as sailing is recognised as a safer place to work, travel and holiday during the Covid-19 pandemic says satcom specialist IEC Telecom, which is experiencing an increase in enquiries from vessel operators in the maritime leisure sector.
With ‘lockdowns’ and restrictions easing in some parts of the world, yacht owners are now able to enjoy ‘social distancing’ onboard their vessels, which is leading to a boost in demand for high-speed connectivity and increased bandwidth capacity. With the focus on social distancing, yachts are becoming increasingly attractive remote offices for those able to attend to business matters while enjoying the open sea, sunshine and fresh air. During this challenging time, sailors have an increased need to stay connected for both personal and operational purposes as well as to avoid the need to go ashore as much as possible.
The signs are pointing to an upsurge in leisure boating. Yacht chartering is seen one of the safest ways to enjoy a break at present due to the minimal contact charterers have with other people. Yachts are considered to be more hygienic, given the ratio of crew to guests and the exclusivity of being on a private boat. Affluent consumers are looking for getaways with fewer crowds, more privacy and the ability to gather privately with those closest to them. The Boat Affair platform (whose rentals are available in more than 60 countries) has seen a 23% increase in requests from customers who traditionally would opt for a hotel vacation or a seaside resort but are now seeking a safer alternative. And, according to a new survey by LuggageHero, 25% of travellers report they will try to avoid crowded commercial flights and public transportation in a post-coronavirus world.
Meanwhile, in countries where travel is still restricted, many larger leisure boats and super yachts remain fully crewed and operational – also leading to increased need for connectivity as crews try to stay in touch with family and friends while conducting as many ship operations as possible via remote techniques. With crew restricted to remaining on the vessel in many places, higher speeds and larger bandwidth capacity is needed to provide leisure activities too.
The leisure boat sector was initially hit hard by international lockdowns and is now incurring additional costs for deep cleaning, personal protective equipment, virus testing etc which are not generally reflected in the charter fees. As a result, systems which allow to optimize bandwidth consumption in order to reduce expenses on communication are proving popular with consumers looking to install or upgrade yacht connectivity systems.
Gwenael Loheac, CEO Western & Southern Europe for IEC Telecom said: “Data traffic on leisure vessels has increased during this crisis period because crew, vessel operators and passengers need to exchange information on a more regular basis. In response to Covid-19, we are seeing increased demand for flexible tariffs to enable leisure vessel operators to adapt quickly to fluctuating connectivity requirements. Fortunately, we are well-placed to meet these needs, having a wide portfolio of solutions designed to provide best user experience, while keeping communications costs at bay.”
Reacting to the need for enhanced and adaptable connectivity on leisure vessels, IEC Telecom recently launched OneGate Marine Compact – a new lightweight digital solution with a network management system which provides full visibility over on-board network assets (both satellite and GSM) and enables vessel owners to control expenses and optimise consumption via a digital dashboard.
Mr Loheac commented: “OneGate Marine Compact was developed to cater to all major requirements of the leisure boat sector – addressing their needs for speed, bandwidth and cost optimisation. OneGate Marine Compact is an agile, lightweight, highly-adaptable and easy-to-install digital communications system which gives complete access to the benefits of digital connectivity even on smaller vessels. At this challenging time this system is providing many of the answers yacht owners need to enable them to conduct online business and leisure activities safely and securely.”
OneGate Marine Compact is compatible with the Iridium Certus® service which provides the only truly global coverage and delivers the fastest L-band speed in the industry. Delivered through Thales VesseLINK for the maritime industry, crew members and passengers on Iridium Certus® equipped vessels enjoy faster web surfing and stable use of social media applications even in the harshest weather condition. Mr Loheac concluded: “Due to its low latency levels, Iridium Certus is the right service for VoIP calls and e-conferencing.”
Global satellite communications specialist IEC Telecom, along with mobile-satellite service provider Thuraya, introduced its Rapid Deployment Kit (RDK), designed to provide Humanitarian Response Teams with reliable connectivity during COVID-19 and support emergency and disaster relief efforts even in the most remote areas.
With over 126 million people in need of humanitarian assistance globally, including 70 million forcibly displaced, governments and the global community are stressing the significance of on-time medical and humanitarian responses.
The RDK solution enables frontline workers to respond immediately and effectively to mitigate the wider secondary impacts of the pandemic.
Nabil Ben Soussia – CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS commented, “COVID-19 has proved that timely communication is of utmost importance. Satellite technologies play a crucial role in monitoring and managing the situation in challenging environments. Our latest Rapid Deployment Kit (RDK) offers high speed connectivity, previously reserved only for VSAT users, via a compact and portable solution. RDK can easily be deployed in a short span of time without the need for an onsite technician, enabling mobile humanitarian missions with reliable connectivity for an immediate response.”
RDK is a technological breakthrough, powered by Thuraya broadband terminals and the OneGate Aid Compact network management system from IEC Telecom. The new solution provides field missions with a VSAT-like experience anywhere they go. RDK is equipped with bandwidth optimization and advanced filtration tools, offering a user experience up to 2+ Mbps, which allows taking full advantage of digitalization, including videoconferencing, remote maintenance, telemedicine, and more for smooth communications during critical humanitarian missions.
Understanding the need to keep communication budgets under control, RDK was developed accounting for cost optimization. It offers a seamless switch to 4G in areas with GSM coverage with least cost routing. Consumption control and network status can be monitored at all times via digital dashboards: full admin control over central management dashboard is available to the CIO/ IT department at HQ and a local dashboard with limited access for the operational chief onsite.
During times of a pandemic imposing strict quarantine measures, staff rotation is impossible or severely restricted. RDK is a future-ready solution, enabling updates and upgrades of virtual machines remotely without the need for onsite maintenance. Not only will the missions benefit from the reduced cost of staff logistics, but also save on purchase of additional hardware.
Moreover, RDK helps to boost the morale of frontline workers by enabling internet access over a welfare network and ensures the cyber security of classified corporate files by keeping the corporate and welfare network links separate. IEC Telecom’s OneGate system allows for the efficient management of voucher credits for internet access, and thanks to an inbuilt Wi-Fi enabler, frontline workers can connect to the network using their own devices.
The lightweight kit is portable with removable batteries, and as such, accepted in commercial flights. Conveniently packed in an exceptionally durable suitcase, the kit can resist harsh travel conditions and be deployed in no time, ensuring immediate coverage and support for end-to-end humanitarian services.
Nabil Ben Soussia added, “COVID-19 is affecting the operations of aid and NGO organisations. Connectivity plays a central role to ensure that operational reports are submitted on a regular basis. While urban areas with developed telecom infrastructure are well equipped to pass critical information immediately, many rural communities are at a disadvantage. Satcom supports humanitarian missions in areas with limited or no GSM coverage. Thuraya’s robust satellite MSS network provides uninterrupted coverage across two-thirds of the globe even in the most remote locations. RDK is a joint solution by IEC Telecom and Thuraya meant to empower frontline workers with dependable connectivity when and where they need it.”
IEC Telecom, along with its partner Thuraya, offers a broad range of solutions to support humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, connectivity has become even more important, and IEC Telecom will address the communication needs of the humanitarian sector and discuss the critical issues the industry is facing today in the World Humanitarian Forum Digital Series on August 27th at 5pm GST. Interested participants can register for this webinar by visiting https://forms.gle/yaWj6FRG2bq5z8bZ9.
Connectivity at sea has never been more important than during these difficult times. New regulations can be introduced at any moment and it is of great importance to ensure that this information is communicated to all marine sectors.
While large vessels are equipped with multiple channels of communication, including circuit-switch terminals and VoIP applications powered by VSAT, smaller vessels, like those used in fishing industry, are hardly reachable.
MarineStar is an easy-to-install terminal with built-in handset and small antenna, that operates using Thuraya’s extensive satellite network, providing dependable voice communications.
Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Middle East, Asia & Turkey of IEC Telecom Group, said: “In the past crew communication has not been a high priority for many fishing vessels. Often the crew make use of one corporate satellite handset and switch sim cards in order to use it. This approach can be problematic – the phone can be lost, stolen, run out of charge, or be stored in areas with no signal, and therefore shore offices may not be able to call it. In light of fast-changing Covid-19 regulations, it is important for crews to remain reachable at all times – and with MarineStar you have a robust handset providing reliable always-on communication.”
Today the global fishing fleet is estimated to include some 4.6 million vessels, the majority of which are small boats with crew daily away from their loved ones. Such boats have neither the budget nor room for a costly satellite set up, but this does not mean that the crew has no other option but to stay disconnected.
“This pandemic has taught us to care more and stay in touch. The shipping sector has increased bandwidth allowance for their welfare programs, and fishing is now able to use MarineStar as a cost-effective gateway for its crew communication. This fixed terminal can operate similar to a public phone with access provided over scratch cards that can be purchased in the port or from the captain,” explained Mr Ben Soussia.
Marine fisheries provide a livelihood for some 260 million people and, like all other businesses, it is facing survival problems during the pandemic. The global ‘lockdown’ has significantly impacted the demand for marine products, pushing vessel owners to seek new ways to optimise their operations.
Smart applications, such as push weather notifications and fish catch reporting which are available through MarineStar, can offer enormous upsides for fishing businesses leading to greater efficiency and cost savings. With accurate meteorological updates and timely instructions received from shore, crew would use time at sea more efficiently leading to less labour hours and decreased fuel consumption.
Even on vessels with electronic monitoring systems, accurate catch information and data collected onboard is usually only shared months after a voyage is completed. Thuraya MarineStar’s catch reporting, tracking and monitoring capabilities are able to transfer data immediately – thereby helping maintain regulatory compliance and aiding sustainability goals.
Mr Ben Soussia said: “In modern fishing we see an increasing push towards sustainability, catch traceability, and other forms of compliance. At present, unlike in other vessel sectors, the fishing industry is largely not taking advantage of the latest technological advances which could enable the collecting and utilising of vital information on fishing activity and catch levels. Installing MarineStar means vessels are able to benefit from the advances in technology now and are positioned ready to comply with any such future regulation.”
Safety is a key priority for the fishing industry. The IMO estimates that thousands of fishers lose their lives each year, making commercial fishing one of the most dangerous professions. Satcom plays an important role in keeping crew and vessels safe. In addition to providing vital communication with shore, MarineStar is equipped with SOS alert functionality which enables one-touch and instant emergency connection.
Cost is an important factor for the fishing sector. IEC Telecom is able to provide Thuraya MarineStar for less than $1,000 and with no long-term commitment, flexible tariff plans and no early termination fees. In addition, in recognition of the vital function seafarers are playing during this global pandemic, IEC Telecom is offering to provide the hardware free of charge if vessel operators sign up to its crew welfare program.
Satellite connectivity at a cost comparable to a GSM service – that’s MarineStar from IEC Telecom.
Satellite connectivity specialist IEC Telecom has strengthened its offering for the sailing and yachting sector with the opening of a new office in Lorient, France, and the launch of OneGate Marine Compact – a new lightweight digital solution which is ideal for leisure and racing boats.
Located in Brittany on the Atlantic coast and boasting a dedicated long dock for ocean-going competitive boats, Lorient is often called France’s yachting headquarters. Opening a new office here enables IEC Telecom to fully focus on this important sector, providing a range of telecommunication solutions to meet all needs.
Brittany’s boating sector generates a revenue of €205 million and employs 1,536 people, while competition sailing in France generates a turnover of €56 million, with 711 jobs tied to it in 162 companies. This ecosystem includes more than 160 industrial and service companies, skippers, racing teams, research laboratories and training courses, provides a variety of skills.
The launch of OneGate Marine Compact enables IEC Telecom to bring the very latest in digital connectivity to the leisure sector, providing optimum connectivity in an affordable and easily installed format.
OneGate Marine Compact is an agile, lightweight, highly-adaptable and easy-to-install digital communications system which gives complete access to the benefits of digital connectivity even on smaller vessels – making it ideal for racing boats and leisure craft.
According to the 2018 Inmarsat study, the top three connectivity requirements among yacht owners are: speed, bandwidth volume and price.
OneGate Compact particularly addresses yacht owners’ particular requirements by:
This flexibility is important because 87% of the year yachts sail within 20km of the shore and so do not need access to costly satellite links. In addition, 41% say that 3G/4G is their main method for providing onboard entertainment while cruising. Therefore having a hybrid solution which can switch seamlessly between GSM and VSAT communications to ensure best and most economic performance and use of data is an important factor.
For superyacht users, it is important for guests to have access to excellent personal connectivity. Research shows that 38% of superyacht satcoms traffic is for the owner and guests, with 37% used by crew and only 25% utilised for operational systems. OneGate Compact incorporates an integrated voucher system which can generate individual passcodes for guests to enjoy connectivity while on board, thus making sure that guests do not utilise corporate traffic and vice versa.
OneGate Marine Compact’s virtual dashboard facilitates the upgrading and updating of its systems remotely by shore-based staff, which saves on the time and costs of sending an engineer to access the vessel as well as providing additional flexibility to amend the system to meet connectivity needs in real time. This is a particularly important factor at this current time where Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and quarantine measures make access to vessels difficult.
Announcing these new developments, Gwenael Loheac, CEO Western & Southern Europe, IEC Telecom Group, said: “IEC Telecom is well established in the racing and yachting sectors. We know this market very well and what our customers require. They want the same level of connectivity at sea as they have in the office, they want to have more bandwidth, dedicated software and systems, and they want to save money.”
“OneGate Compact will help the sailor to have a better quality of service and to save money. Up until now this type of box was only available to bigger vessels. With this Compact version we are able to introduce new services to the racing and leisure boat markets and to bring the benefits of digitalisation to them.”
Satellite communications specialist, IEC Telecom introduces its latest satellite-based networking management solution, OneGate Aid Compact to improve the efficiency of first responders in regional communities across the Middle East and Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United Nations COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) recognizes the importance of communication and new technologies to fight the pandemic. IEC Telecom Group shares these same values and is confident that the new solution will contribute to COVID-19 resistance by empowering critical missions with an efficient communication tool.
OneGate Aid Compact is an agile and future-ready network management solution that operates from a virtual platform and is designed to keep mobile humanitarian teams connected at all times, enabling full control and visibility over active telecommunication links.
Urban areas utilize GSM networks, while remote missions are heavily reliant on satellite communication. Moreover, mandatory social distancing prevents from staff reinforcement or rotation and as a result, field workers are heavily dependent on satellite networks to receive remote counselling and training. With an increase in data usage, it is not enough to simply have access to the satellite network, but be in a position to manage available resources and channel essential communications on mission-critical operations.
Nabil Ben Soussia, Managing Director IEC Telecom Middle East, IEC Telcom Group commented, “Successful operations during the COVID-19 pandemic are dependent on timely and proper communication in affected communities. This is especially critical to first response groups or mobile hospitals who need to act fast in areas with no infrastructure. Now more than ever, telecommunications in general and satellite communications, in particular, are critical to support our frontline workers. OneGate Aid Compact was developed as a solution to support continuous communication. It provides satellite link in remote areas and serves as GSM back-up under terrestrial network coverage.”
IEC Telecom’s OneGate Aid Compact is powered by Thuraya IP+ for stationed use and Thuraya Voyager for vehicular use over Thuraya’s L-Band network. It enables first response teams with optimized network traffic availing services such as big data transfer and live conferencing. In times of COVID it means that front line staff will be able to share operational reports in real time and have access to telemedicine.
OneGate Aid Compact also provides the gateway for remote maintenance, enabling technical support teams to monitor and troubleshoot at any place and at any time. It may also be enhanced with an augmented reality toolkit, providing field workers with a ‘virtual pair of hands’ displayed on the screen of the device in use (smartphone or tablet). As such, limited staff onsite is exponentially expended via digitally present teams in the HQ and network support teams at IEC Telcom.
“In addition to the critical communication to support the frontline, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the use of video calls, which is a natural response to prolonged isolation,” commented Ben Soussia. “In order to support front line staff and our communities, in cooperation with Thuraya we have doubled our data packages for April at no additional cost.”
With built-in Wi-Fi enablers, OneGate Aid Compact provide remote workers with a way to connect their own devices to the dedicated welfare network. This provides them with an added option to reach out to their families regardless of location. A dedicated welfare environment operates based on a voucher system. Credits are distributed among staff as a part of a social package. Should anyone prefer to surpass the limit, additional vouchers can be individually purchased online. As such filed workers are not limited in their communication and present no risk to overstretch corporate communication budget.
With an option to install special apps on demand, OneGate Aid Compact can be termed as one of the most agile and future-ready satcom solutions for the humanitarian industry, enabling the organizations to better utilize the technology and make a difference to the affected communities.
For more information on IEC Telecom’s OneGate Aid Compact, please visit http://www.iec-telecom.com/market/humanitarian_solutions/
Maritime safety has been boosted following the recognition of Iridium’s satellite service as a provider for the international Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) – giving ship operators more options when protecting vessels and crew, says IEC Telecom.
The recent approval from IMO and SOLAS means there are now two certified providers of GMDSS satellite services, thereby ending Inmarsat’s previous 20-year monopoly of this sector and giving greater choice for vessel operators.
Welcoming the move, Alf Stian Mauritz, Managing Director of IEC Telecom Norway, said: “Iridium GMDSS now provides a real alternative to Inm-C, offering satellite-based maritime distress services with truly global coverage. This is an excellent development for the whole maritime industry because it gives vessel operators the opportunity to install a greater selection of equipment to meet their exact requirements.”
IEC Telecom will be showcasing a range of maritime safety systems and equipment during the Sjøen for Alle event in Lillestrøm, Norway, from March 18-22 – the premier gathering which marks the start of the ‘boat season’ in Scandinavia.
In particular, IEC Telecom’s stand D03-18 will feature the Lars Thrane LT-3100S GMDSS System which provides 100% global GMDSS coverage (sea areas A1 to A4), a distress alert & safety voice system, maritime safety information (MSI) and ship security alert system (SSAS). In addition the LT-3100S supports bridge alert management and external alarm panels and offers long range identification and tracking (IRIT), voice, SMS, SBD, and modem data – all via a single antenna cable solution with high-performance GNSS/GPS receiver.
GMDSS is an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment, and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft. Recreational vessels and workboats do not need to comply with GMDSS radio carriage requirements, but increasingly use the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Marine VHF radios.
IEC Telecom is especially looking forward to introducing its ‘Safety at Sea’ range, which includes products from ACR, Ocean Signal, Scanstrut, Shakespeare, Pepwave and Fire Suppression Systems. Supported by IEC Telecom’s global satellite communications solutions, vessel and personal safety is enhanced by reliable connectivity and coverage while costs are kept low thanks to a selection of flexible tariffs and hardware to fit all budgets.
Mr Mauritz said: “Whether you are at sea for leisure or work it is important to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your voyage is supported by the best and safest technology. We are looking forward to introducing Scandinavian boat owners and vessel operators to the latest cutting-edge equipment on the market during this popular show.”
Norway, 23 March, 2020: Passage through Northern shipping routes and Arctic waters has received a boost following the doubling of the connectivity speed of the Iridium CertusTM network, says maritime communications specialist IEC Telecom.
As the shortest sea route between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, the Northern Sea Route holds immense potential to compete with conventional trade lines. There has been a significant increase in maritime traffic across the main transport corridors in the Arctic, Northern Sea Route in the Russian Federation, the Northwest Passage in Canada as well as the Arctic Bridge from Canada to Europe. In fact in the Canadian Arctic, traffic has tripled between 1990 and 2015. Moreover, cargo volume in the Northern Sea Route has increased by 40% between 2016 and 2017.
With the Iridium CertusTM 700 service becoming commercially available at speeds of 700 kbps – the fastest L-band speed in the industry, Iridium’s network with pole-to-pole coverage can only serve to further unlock new opportunities for the fleets operating in the North. Fishing fleets, commercial ships, and other vessels transiting Arctic waters can benefit from enhanced connectivity in these remote and potentially hazardous waters.
Many of IEC Telecom’s clients operating in the Northern Sea region have recently switched to the Iridium Certus service. “Vessels operating in this region require robust solutions that can be relied upon under harsh weather conditions. Iridium Certus is the only global network able to meet these requirements,” explains Alf Stian Mauritz, Managing Director, IEC Telecom Norway. “With this new speed, Northern operators can share greater levels of data with their shore offices, avail VOIP calls, and access faster email exchange,” he adds.
Iridium CertusTM 700 will also be beneficial to the oil and gas sector, which has been expanding in the Arctic region. With more than 40 billion barrels of oil produced over the past 40 years and 184 active rigs in 2018, the industry is increasingly focusing on innovative ways to reduce costs with sustainable practices. Satellite-based technologies are excellent drivers of operational efficiency with optimized navigation, decreased fuel consumption, and better crew welfare options.
Upgrading to Iridium CertusTM 700 requires no new hardware for existing users. “As an Iridium Master Distributor, not only does IEC Telecom offer its customers the expertise required to transition to this service, we also provide a completely compatible network management solution, OneGate. With our technical support services, customers get better visibility over their remote satellite assets. Such solutions can help operators in the Northern region enhance their crew welfare options, access reliable cyber security and filtration, and even customize cloud-based features,” explains Mr. Mauritz.
Powered by a uniquely sophisticated global constellation of 66 cross-linked Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, the Iridium® network provides high-quality voice and data connections, enabling partner companies like IEC Telecom to deliver an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions across the globe.
When Iridium completed its constellation upgrade in early 2019, it replaced all its satellites and upgraded the supporting ground infrastructure. This enabled the launch of Iridium Certus®, a multi-service platform that delivers speciality broadband services. At only 780 kilometres from the Earth, the proximity of Iridium’s LEO network means a shorter transmission path, stronger signals, lower latency, and shorter registration time than GEO satellites. Each Iridium satellite is linked with up to four others, creating a dynamic network that routes traffic among its satellites to ensure global coverage, even where traditional local systems are unavailable.
IEC Telecom’s strategic partnership with Iridium further strengthens its commitment to delivering connectivity services no matter where its customers are located. With Iridium CertusTM 700, it’s an exciting time to do business in the Arctic and Northern Sea Route.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 25, 2020 – Satellite communications specialist, IEC Telecom along with its partners has announced their participation at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition 2020 (DIHAD) to be held from 10th March to 12th March 2020. The organization will be showcasing its solutions aimed at improving the efficiency of aid to the regional and international aid and development community.
When an emergency or a disaster strikes, a coordinated approach and time critical intervention by humanitarian organizations is imperative to enable fast and effective recovery. During these situations, telecommunications in general and satellite communications in particular are key contributors to the success of the humanitarian intervention and development activities.
At DIHAD, IEC Telecom plans to introduce OneGate Aid, an integral communications solution for humanitarian missions and e-camps. The satellite-based network management solution operating from a virtual platform is designed to efficiently manage crisis situation, enabled with monitoring and updating the communications network as rapidly as field demands.
With an increased focus towards connecting the unconnected, the technology also provides different output and traffic type based on the requirements, such as to optimize workflow and divert costs, access and share high data volumes between remote and response teams, empower priority communications by segregating networks for response teams and camp inhabitants. With an option to build special apps on demand, OneGate can be termed as one of the most agile and future ready satcom solutions for humanitarian industry, enabling the organizations to better utilize the technology and make a difference to the affected communities.
For the past several years, UAE has been a key player in the humanitarian field with its generous distributions towards international aid. The commitment to give more and help as many people as possible is aligned with the country’s core values: a broad generosity, the desire to ease suffering and help rehabilitate people from living in conditions that they had no control in creating; taking the country’s total foreign aid contributions to more than Dh28.5 billion in 2018.
IEC Telecom with its long-standing dedication has served more than 350 satisfied humanitarian sector customers around the world.
To know more about the solutions provided by IEC Telecom to embody their commitment to enhance connectivity in humanitarian emergencies visit Stand No C15 in Sheikh Rashid Hall at Dubai World Trade Centre.
While the environmental impact of doing business is a growing concern amongst global leaders, even discussed recently at the 2020 World Economic Forum, and sustainability is now established as a defining feature in the delivery of satellite communications solutions. This winter IEC Telecom had the distinct privilege to partner with The IK Foundation and deliver vital connectivity solutions to the pioneering ecological study unit located on the protected environment of Prins Karls Forland, an island off the west coast of Svalbard (part of the Spitsbergen Treaty), Forlandet National Park.
With a remote location, difficult terrain, and unique biosphere, The IK Foundation Field Station’s limited connectivity presented incomparable logistical and communications challenges. Besides requiring reliable connectivity for long periods of time without human intervention (since access to the island is only permitted for 10 days annually), an autonomous communications system had to be able to withstand severe snow as well as operate in damp conditions. In this unique environment, an interesting operational challenge also came to light. Polar bears aren’t often a major concern for telecommunications companies, but for IEC Telecom this became an issue while installing equipment. It turned out that while their diet is mainly blubber, polar bears quite like chewing digital cables!
To enable The Field Station to meet its goal of providing “an insight into pure wilderness”, IEC Telecom delivered a Thales MissionLINK™ terminal powered by Iridium Certus®. Enabled by the Iridium® satellite network, Iridium Certus is the world’s only truly global broadband service, offering internet and high-quality voice access from anywhere on the planet. Built upon the Iridium Certus platform, the Thales MissionLINK terminal provides a streamlined interface, ease of installation and operation, and reliable connections without the need for hardware checkups. Iridium Certus easily handles large amounts of data and allows for easy upgrades as project requirements change.
The Field Station is sustainably designed, generates round-the-clock scientific data, and is a global resource for research projects around the world that are linked to its results (pictures, sound, and data) via the Internet, IEC Telecom ensured that the station could be monitored remotely, enabling system upgrades without an engineer onsite. Via an e-dashboard, the IT team now receives regular reports that ensure The Field Station’s round-the-clock operations.
This brilliant collaboration between Iridium Certus connectivity, Thales hardware, and IEC Telecom technical support has enabled The Field Station to send high quality photographic data of the local flora and fauna to researchers without disrupting the Arctic biosphere. With unparalleled 24/7 connectivity in this remote landscape, the unmanned Field Station has been empowered with truly global coverage, efficient back-up services, and on-demand access to scientific data. Lars Hansen, Head of The IK Foundation, said, “New research opportunities have opened up given that all projects and observations can be carried out remotely. The opportunities this platform presents are limited only by our imagination.”
Alf Stian Mauritz, Managing Director, IEC Telecom Norway, who has overseen the onsite installation, added, “This is a fascinating project with numerous operational challenges that we worked hard with our partners to overcome. It’s rewarding to be able to help the scientific community and assist in providing valuable information to benefit future generations.”
France, 27 January 2020: “One size doesn’t always fit all, especially when it comes to the digitalisation of a ship. Digitalisation can, and should, be customised to meet the needs of individual companies and vessels,” says Dominique Audion, COO, IEC Telecom Group, enroute to the roundtable discussions at Euromaritime Conference, taking place from February 4th to 6th in Marseille, France.
Maritime digitalisation is growing in demand as flexible virtual environments and reduced costs drive operations. “Nowadays, a vessel may perform as a remote office,” explains Mr. Audion. “Each ship has its own requirements for digitalisation that are influenced by its activities, size, type, cargo, fuel, engine, configuration, monitoring, and managing systems. Taking an individual approach is, therefore, the best way to succeed with the digitalisation process.”
According to the State of the CIO, 40% of all technology spending goes to digital transformations, which are being driven by operational efficiencies that are achieved through connectivity. A parallel trend is being observed in the maritime industry, where connectivity is crucial to operations and remote vessel management. As per NSR’s report on the maritime satellite market, equipment manufacturers, fishing, and leisure markets can expect $42 billion in retail revenue between 2018 and 2028 as a direct result of satellite communications and connectivity technologies with VSAT-enabled and digitalised vessels growing from 20,000 in 2018 to over 75,000 by 2028. Furthermore, a report on marine trends by Lloyd’s Register reflects that 10% of new ship building is expected to be smart ships, and maritime in-service units are expected to double in 15 years.
The shipping industry is still adapting to the digital age and there is a level of trepidation in some sectors. However, as a company’s requirements evolve, remotely accessible digital communication systems are easily keeping pace. This has helped to build trust in the digitalisation process, proven to reduce costs and simplify logistics, and enabled efficient remote updates instead of having to bring a vessel into port. The ground-breaking OneGate solution by IEC Telecom is a good example of such a set up. IEC Telecom’s technology enables operators to manage critical vessel functions and crew communication requirements separately via a remotely accessible dashboard, incorporating cutting-edge cyber security and a robust back-up provision.
Mr. Audion adds, “Even if there is some natural conservatism on cost, the maritime sector is discovering that embracing digital installation can reap many benefits. Today it is possible to enable digitalisation within a controlled budget and vessel operators are finding that their digital vessels are more cost-effective due to increased operational efficiency. By investing in digitalisation, ultimately vessel owners save on their future bills.” In fact, recent analysis by Accenture on the experience of digital value chains reflects that a digitally-reinvented shipbuilder can reduce operating costs by up to 20% in five years while increasing revenue by up to 15%.
France is at the forefront of the drive towards digitalisation. With the French Government and Cisco jointly instituting programs supported by a $100 million investment to transform France into a digital republic, and the EIB and French Société Générale dedicating €150 million towards the digital conversion and modernisation of existing ships and shipbuilding projects, the country’s GDP is expected to be boosted by one to two per cent overall.
Learn more about IEC Telecom’s digital technologies at Stand No. H20, in Hall 4 at the Marseille Chanot Exhibition Centre. Join Dominique Audion for a roundtable discussion – titled “Smart ships, smart yards: the prospects” – on the second day of the Conference (Feb 5).
Rotterdam, 5 November, 2019:
Keeping in touch at sea, even in an emergency, is now easier and affordable – thanks to a new lightweight satellite communication terminal.
Thuraya MarineStar, being unveiled during this week’s Europort event in Rotterdam, blends robust design with unprecedented functionality and unmatched levels of value to provide flawless voice communications with tracking and monitoring across the world’s busiest sea routes and fishing hotspots.
Now available as part of IEC Telecom’s extensive satcom portfolio, Thuraya MarineStar enables satellite calls to landlines, mobile phones and other satellite phones and can also connect to a standard analogue phone as an extension or an on-board PBX.
As a strategic partner for Thuraya, IEC Telecom is making the new terminal available through its extensive global network, providing its reliable 24/7 support service to ensure reliable coverage wherever and whenever needed.
Nabil Ben Soussia, IEC Telecom Vice President – Maritime, said: “We are excited to unveil this product together with Thuraya, our strategic partner. Thuraya MarineStar delivers the reassurance of constant connectivity and communications and can cater to the operational requirements of a wide variety of small and specialized vessels, such as workboats and fishing boats.”
Available with IEC’s exclusive tariff plans, Thuraya MarineStar is now the most affordable maritime satellite with fully customizable packages available to suit all needs and budgets.
“Thuraya MarineStar is so flexible and cost-effective that it makes vital onboard communication available to all vessel operators, which should put an end to the risks of ships being out of touch at sea,” he explained. “Thuraya MarineStar is robust and unaffected by extreme environments, and it supports crucial applications such as condition-based navigation, SOS and other emergency alerts through push notifications. This makes it ideal for vessels which need a backup alternative to radio communications.”
MarineStar can be used as terminal for corporate communications and analogues extension for crew calling, During Europort IEC Telecom will showcase a range of exclusive tariffs plans, alongside its wide-ranging support services, to make Thuraya MarineStar the communications solution of choice for workboat operators. To find out more visit us on stand number 2205.
PARIS, October 2019 – EKINOPS (Euronext Paris – FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading supplier of optical transport equipment and router solutions for network operators, has launched with IEC Telecom Group, one of the leading global providers of managed network communication solutions, OneGate, an agile solution that protects the critical communications functions of maritime vessels. Powered by the Ekinops platform, OneGate by IEC Telecom delivers vital capabilities for the maritime sector. It enables full-vessel digitalization, virtually-controlled satellite communications links, and multiple levels of cyber-security, ensuring always-on availability of secure, critical communications.
Developed in partnership with Ekinops, OneGate utilizes the ONEV600 virtual router from Ekinops’ OneAccess portfolio built on Ekinops’ Open Virtualization Platform (OVP).
“We initially began the project using an open source product but faced difficulties in what we were able to achieve, says Nabil Ben Soussia, VP Maritime, IEC Telecom Group. We had already been working closely with Ekinops as a strategic partner for many years for our Orion Edge solution, developed using the Ekinops WAN optimization terminal. So, when Ekinops launched their virtualization platform, we knew that it would resolve numerous problems, as well as enable us to deliver new services in the future”.
Operating on Ekinops’ Open Virtualization Platform, the OneV600 enables the creation of value-added hybrid WAN services and delivers an extensive range of carrier-grade switching and routing functions for an NFV environment including link redundancy between 4G, VSAT and L-band, routing between LANs and WANs, Quality of Service and the connection of multiple VNFs and sub-networks. The system seamlessly reroutes available bandwidth to essential processes to ensure vital communications are not lost, whatever the circumstances. Whether a vessel is trapped in the middle of a storm or facing a cyber-attack, OneGate will maintain connections and protect vital operations.
Frank Dedobbeleer, VP Group Sales EMEA & APAC, at Ekinops said: “In an increasingly digitalized world, we work in partnership with our customers to tailor solutions to specifically answer their current and future needs. OneGate is a prime example of this approach. Ekinops virtualization technology has enabled OneGate to host all applications IEC Telecom’s end-users require. We are delighted to have extended our partnership to deliver this pioneering solution.”
Central to the initiative was IEC Telecom’s need to support legacy WAN optimization products while migrating to a virtualized environment. “OneAccess OVP platform enables us to use the same service and add a number of additional services via the same hardware, which is very important in our industry,” adds Nabil Ben Soussia. “The fact that we have the same hardware platform hosting all our current and future services is a real added value for us. I am confident that this will be one of many success stories for Ekinops and IEC Telecom.”
OneGate is compatible with requirements of all major satellite operators, including the most innovative Iridium Certus network. OneGate has already been adopted by Thuraya Telecommunications, one of the key international operators and negotiations with other market players are now being held.
11th November 2019, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Leading global provider of managed network communication solutions, IEC Telecom Group along with its strategic partners –Thuraya, Intellian and Yahclick provided ADIPEC 2019 visitors with a ‘one-stop shop’ for all satcom enquiries to support the increasing demand for real-time communication across the Middle East’s energy sector. Visitors to ADIPEC were provided with 360-degree consultations on how to deploy the latest satellite technologies to help gain the competitive edge.
“Digital technologies are helping almost every industry rewrite its operating landscape, and the oil and gas industry can no longer remain behind. 2020 will be an important year for Middle East energy companies to accelerate their digital transformation and further adoption of new solutions can help businesses stay sustainable and competitive. According to Wood Mackenzie, the industry can save up to $73 billion within five years in exploration and production by adopting the latest technologies,” commented Nabil Ben Soussia, Vice President – Maritime, IEC Telecom Group.
BP’s 2019 Energy Outlook reports the Middle East as the largest oil producing region and the second largest gas producer, with 36 percent of global oil and 20 percent of gas output. At the same time, a lot of exploration sites are based in areas where telecommunication infrastructures are often unreliable or unavailable. Moreover, the constant change in locations and the challenging site conditions mean that implementing terrestrial communications can be both costly and impractical.
Studies indicate that between now and 2025, digital transformation in the oil and gas industry could unlock approximately $1.6 trillion of value for the industry, its customers and wider society. According to IDC, the Internet of Things will continue to grow by 81 percent to USD12.6 billion by 2021. This growth will continue to facilitate improved crew communications, online access and seamless operational performance creating new opportunities for the Middle East’s energy sector.
In this backdrop and to meet changing customer needs at ADIPEC 2019, IEC Telcom demonstrated its latest OneGate Energy, designed as a land-deployed variation of its unique solution OneGate, to meet the requirements of remote units. OneGate provides access to a virtual platform to store critical applications. The solution also enables technical teams to maintain, update and upgrade onside infrastructure remotely, saving time and money on logistics. OneGate also separates the corporate environment from staff network. Such segregation ensures that e-operations and classified data remain safe eliminating cyber threats. OneGate addresses all major challenges of the oil and gas industry including logistics, cyber security and optimising connectivity.
IEC Telecom’s strategic partners also revealed some of their latest solutions.
Thuraya demonstrated its latest affordable voice terminal, Thuraya MarineStar that was for the first time presented to the Middle East market. MarineStar provides flawless voice communications with tracking and monitoring across the world’s busiest sea routes and fishing hotspots. It enables satellite calls to landlines, mobile phones and other satellite phones and can also connect to a standard analogue phone as an extension or an on-board PBX. “Thuraya MarineStar represents a new and important chapter in Thuraya’s maritime portfolio. With more than 300K small vessels expected to benefit from the service, we are looking forward to working with our distribution partners to roll out Thuraya MarineStar worldwide and benefit from strong potential demand from users for this game-changing solution,” commented Shawkat Ahmed, Chief Commercial Officer of Thuraya.
In addition to this, Thuraya also showcased its bespoke Thuraya VSAT+ service, allowing users to rely on one service for all their maritime communication needs. It delivers Ku-band VSAT and Thuraya L-band services over major regional merchant shipping routes, offshore regions and coastal marine areas.
ADIPEC visitors also had the opportunity to meet with leading satellite antenna manufacturer Intellian and find out about the unique features of its new NX Series antennas and see the sophisticated new v85NX for the first time in Middle East. NX Series antennas make VSAT easier, faster and stronger by introducing important new features. Uniquely, all NX Series antennas can work on Ka- or Ku-band frequencies and can operate with satellites in any orbit with a simple upgrade kit. This is very significant, as it means that Middle East offshore service companies can benefit from future-proof performance on Geostationary satellite beams right now, while being ready for new services in the future.
Together with its strategic satellite broadband partner Yahclick, IEC Telecom also demonstrated its robust IEC Welfare Solution, specifically designed to provide on-demand data access for team members and third-party contractors at onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities, as well as at remote sites across other industries such as the construction one for instance.
Samer Bazyan, VP Sales Middle East and Africa at YahClick commented: “IEC Welfare offers uninterrupted and cost-effective connectivity thanks to YahClick’s use of the efficiencies provided by High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technologies over the Ka-Band. This is particularly relevant with the demand for satellite ka bandwidth continuing to grow year-on-year in the UAE by 10%, and for welfare by 40%.”
The digital oil field is no longer a concept, but a reality, opening new horizons for the industry.
The use of next generation satellite solutions can help reduce exploration costs while improving efficiency.
Itechmer, 16-18 October, 2019: As the fishing industry gathers for this year’s Itechmer, France’s key exhibition dedicated to the fishing sector, IEC Telecom is excited to showcase its pioneering range of satellite communications solutions.
Europe remains one of the major players on the global fishing market with more six million tonnes of total production (combined volume for fishery and aquaculture). In accordance with the recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the EU is the planet’s No. 1 consumer of seafood with 24kg per capita, followed by the United States and Japan. To satisfy the demand, while ensuring sustainable, safe and efficient operations, fishing vessel rely more and more on high-tech applications, the latest of which require stable high throughput connectivity – and this is where satcom technologies are irreplaceable.
IEC Telecom provides a wealth of satellite connectivity options to suit a range of fishing vessel types – from large fleets who spend many months at sea, to smaller boats making shorter trips. IEC Telecom is uniquely placed to provide the most cost-effective connectivity, thanks to its direct links with satellite operators such as Iridium. IEC Telecom recently completed an interconnection with Iridium CertusTM which enables it to provide its robust and reliable portfolio of maritime satellite communications solutions, across truly global Iridium coverage.
Gwenael Loheac, Managing Director IEC Telecom Europe, said: “The fishing industry has been asking us for these solutions. Unlike previous generations, millennials, who are now entering the labour market, are deeply connected to their devices. A comprehensive crew welfare program is what a fisher of the modern age is looking for and we are here to provide it.”
“This is our first voyage into the French fishing market and our intention is not to compete with existing market players, but offer something new: our unique expertise in communications, proven by more than 20 years in the satcom industry,” explained Mr Loheac.
Centre stage of IEC Telecom’s display at Itechmer will be OneGate – a highly adaptive virtualized platform designed to enable digitalisation for all vessel types. Launched in March 2019 in UAE, this solution will for the first time be presented in France. For fishing vessels OneGate provides one compact device both for crew welfare and corporate needs. It comes with an e-dashboard, enabling vessel owners to remotely have full control over budget and consumption channels. OneGate segregates crew welfare from corporate network, eliminating cyber risk from mal-usage.
For more information visit IEC Telecom at Itechmer on stand E-130.
Singapore, 10 October, 2019: The digital transformation train is leaving the station and maritime companies need to get onboard now or risk missing the trip!
“Digitalization brings great benefits and has the potential to create greater equality in the world”, said Nabil Ben Soussia, IEC Telecom’s Vice-President Maritime. “The reality is that the train is leaving the station and individuals and organisations need to get on board quickly,” he advised.
“For the maritime sector, the march of digitalization offers the opportunity for greater efficiency, substantial cost savings, optimization of vessel processes, and vastly improved communications between ship and shore, as well as for crew members,” he enthused, highlighting the benefits of connectivity across the globe.
Measures like being able to access the vessel management system remotely enable improved vessel and performance monitoring as well as more efficient maintenance regimes – saving time, money, and helping to meet environmental and other targets.
There are challenges to be overcome when digitalizing vessel operations, he agreed, speaking at Digital Ship’s CIO forum in Singapore. A stable and reliable connection is essential, as are robust back-up systems. IEC Telecom is one of the leading providers of connectivity solutions to the maritime sector and Mr Ben Soussia is able to draw on the company’s many years of expertise when advising the shipping industry.
Highlighting the risks to vessels from cyber threats, he stressed the need for comprehensive and effective cyber security to be built into any digitalized systems, both onboard and ashore. “The more autonomous vessels are, the higher the risk is of a cyber-attack and the greater the impact of that attack could be,” he said, pointing out that the majority of cyber threats can be eliminated with the proper security processes in place.
One of the downsides to this rapid pace of development is that maritime regulation needs to move faster in order to remain relevant and not inhibit technological advancement. The rapid rise of new technologies requires a new set of global rules to manage operations and potential risks, Mr Ben Soussia warned. Shipping is a highly regulated international market but the process of introducing new regulations or amending existing ones takes many years and this speed needs to increase in order to keep up with the pace of change.
But the commitment is worth it. Smart ships, smart crew, smart operating procedures – these are the future, thanks to digitalization.
Dubai, 23 September, 2019: Satellite communications specialist IEC Telecom has warned that cyber hygiene is as important for the shipping industry as cyber security.
Forget images of James Bond-style villains hijacking tankers or cruise ships – the biggest threat to cyber security for the majority of vessels at sea is the hapless downloading of a virus by staff members not following proper procedures.
“Too many companies treat digital security as an after-thought and do not have suitable policies and procedures in place,” warned Nabil Ben Soussia, Vice President Maritime of IEC Telecom. “There is a lack of awareness of how one silly slip-up, like downloading a virus from the internet or a memory stick, can destroy your working environment.”
Maritime sector firms need to adapt their methods of working to encompass cyber issues, he advised. “They need to redefine their rules to take account of cyber security. The tools are there to protect their data and equipment but they need to take responsibility and manage the risks,” he said, explaining that tech companies like IEC Telecom have the solutions available. “We can do everything the company policy requires – but they have to define the policy first.”
Mr Ben Soussia says ‘upskilling’ is needed across the maritime sector to enable everyone from senior management and ships’ captains to crew members to fully understand cyber risk and correctly implement good cyber practices.
The shipping industry is currently debating whether to extend or limit the amount of access crew members have to online services such as the internet, social media or event third-party training tools. Mr Ben Soussia explained that it is easy to provide crew with access to online activities without risking the security of the vessel. “It’s a case of managing the corporate environment,” he said. “You need to secure critical systems in a closed network with limited and protected access from certain terminals only, strictly implement proper policies and properly train crew.”
Accessing the internet in their personal time is a natural expectation from today’s new recruits. “The new generation are hopeless without the internet,” he said “they find everything via google or YouTube.” A variety of solutions are available to enable ship operators to keep crew happy without risking critical networks, including data ‘scratch cards’ to access internet facilities, and even limits to switch off personal wifi access during official socialisation periods.
Speaking in Dubai ahead of this year’s Seatrade ShipTech Middle East conference, where he will take part in a panel discussion considering cyber risk, Mr Ben Soussia said: “Vessel digitalisation is an essential part of tomorrow’s shipping industry but we need to be careful of putting all our information ‘eggs’ in one ‘basket’ without proper implementation of systems and policies to protect them.”
Nabil Ben Soussia will take part in the 12 noon debate: Cyber Risk and Data Theft, moderated by Craig Eason, on Tuesday September 24.
Alesund, Norway, August 30, 2019: Satellite communications specialist IEC Telecom has extended its portfolio through an exciting new partnership with specialist satcoms manufacturer Lars Thrane.
IEC Telecom is now an official distributor of the LT-3100 Iridium satellite phone in Norway and will unveil its new product range during the premier shipping industry event BlueFish in Ålesund, Norway from Septermber 3 – 5 2019, Stand 921.
“We are heavily committed to the Scandinavian market and pleased to partner with Lars Thrane as distributors in Norway. We hope to have a long and fruitful journey together,” said Alf Stian Mauritz, Vice President – Business Development, IEC Telecom Group.
Specially designed for the professional market and built to withstand rough sea environments, the LT-3100 satellite communications system is a maritime xed satellite phone that is ideal for fishing and sailing vessels.
“It is a small and neat product which is ideal for installation on smaller vessels,” explained Mr Mauritz. “We are already fitting it to fishing and sailing vessels and are excited to be officially unveiling it at BlueFish as part of our comprehensive communications portfolio.”
IEC Telecom is a partner of Iridium and able to supply satcom solutions using the range of Iridium services, including the new truly-global Iridium CertusTM network.
Requiring no yearly maintenance thanks to a built-in webserver, the LT-3100 system provides voice, data, SMS, vessel tracking, and more services from Iridium at competitive airtime charges. With a high-performance GNSS/GPS receiver, the LT-300 is the perfect communications system especially suitable for deep sea, fishing and workboats.
Alesund has long been renowned as the fishing capital of the Norwegian region and, with IEC’s strong commitment to the Scandinavian fishing industry, is the perfect setting to announce this important new partnership.
Visit us on stand number 921.