SAFETY4SEA Team met Ronald Spithout, President of Maritime Business Unit, Inmarsat Group Ltd at Posidonia 2016, June 6-10, Metropolitan Expo, Athens for an interview on how Inmarsat follows SOLAS and GMDSS requirements . You may view video interview on YouTube
Q1 New technological solutions are introduced onboard on daily basis. Is the industry ready for the transition to a smart era?
First of all I believe that the maritime industry is able to adopt to a lot of things very quickly if they are good. If you look back in history every time when there was a changing period in technology, whether it came to the value of the information; whether it was the invention of maps or the radio transition, you will see that the maritime industry was changing very rapidly as well. Today we are living at challenging times. The influence of applications on board together with the Internet of Things are really changing the industry dramatically and I think looking at the real picture situation, where in the one hand in the coming years, the population on earth is about to grow exponentially while on the other hand regulation and worldwide action make the industry greener, all things will change. Therefore, today, tomorrow, next year are absolutely the times where we will see the maritime industry rapidly adopt to the ‘smart era’ , otherwise we are losing the momentum in the competition.
Q2 What is the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the industry so far ashore and onboard?
The maritime industry is probably the last big industry embracing the IoT and where they will really see the benefits of these things. Conversely, all the successful large corporations onshore embraced the IoT already years ago. Maritime industry is bound to do that now either by adopting a broadband system like Fleet Xpress onboard or a below deck unit that is extremely safe and capable of hosting applications and content. That is exactly what we have developed; the Inmarsat Gateway will provide things like fleet media, content platforms, crew safety and efficiency. The most important is we feel that Inmarsat comes from a heritage of safety, having safety on one hand and cyber security on the other hand, these are actually the two sides of the same coin. This means that if you don’t protect your vessel as well as your IT systems on board or your applications of communication onboard , you’re putting in danger both people and assets. Therefore, Fleet Xpress together with the below deck unit are about to provide a cyber security service where it’s made ultra-easy for shipmanagers to make their vessel secure.
Q3 How is Inmarsat contributing to crew welfare and retention?
We are only developing services along three lines; the first line is ship efficiency, the second line is safety and security and the third one is crew welfare. The Fleet Xpress service along with the below decks units and the gateway are allowing us to efficiently separate professional usage from crew welfare. Therefore, you see that for instance a fleet media solution where we trickle down content perfectly fitted for providing crew welfare because it will come with movies, sports and entertainment but also with training and an access to the internet. Without jeopardizing anything you need to efficiently run the vessel and your applications.
Q4 Inmarsat was set up in 1979 by the IMO to provide reliable satellite safety communications. What has changed in the past 35 years and how do your safety services go beyond IMO’s SOLAS and GMDSS requirements?
We have been established at the time that there was a great need to enhance safety at sea and to save lives at sea (SOLAS). Inmarsat is the only satellite provider that continuously keeps on investing in double routing everything they have. So, at any time we have two constellations backing each other’s back, we have all of our route stations doubled; we have our ground network double routed. Therefore, we provide a network that is giving you 99% security in accordance with all the GMDSS standards. We do that already for about 25 years with Inmarsat Sea. Inmarsat Sea is onboard of hundreds of thousands of vessels and is saving thousands of lives per year. We will continue to do that. We endeavor to include Fleet BroadBand and Fleet WLAN into the GMDSS standards, we are currently working on that. We are developing a new Maritime Safety Terminal (MST) where we can actually connect all the Inmarsat constellations, not only the circuit switched context or the store and forward once. At the end of the story we have just invested in new Inmarsat six satellites. They will see the light in the 2019-2020 timeframe supporting both L-band and Ka-band services. And this only re-emphasizes the respect that we have for safety at sea far into the 2020’s. That’s our story on safety. It’s in our DNA to keep on providing a live up to the GMDSS standards.
Above text is an edited article of Ronald Spithout, President of Maritime Business Unit, Inmarsat Group Ltd video interview at Posidonia 2016, June 6-10, Metropolitan Expo, Athens You may view his video interview by clicking here The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
Above text is an edited article of Ronald Spithout, President of Maritime Business Unit, Inmarsat Group Ltd video interview at Posidonia 2016, June 6-10, Metropolitan Expo, Athens
You may view his video interview by clicking here
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.