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Sandro Delucia, Commercial Maritime Product Director, Speedcast: Five Questions Every Shipowner Should Ask Their Maritime Connectivity Provider
By Sea and Coast | 16/12/2019

Digitalization is a process that is still maturing in shipping, with an increasing range of operations and functions becoming automated over the past few years as connectivity and accessibility to data have grown. As new business concepts foster the wider take-up of data and applications, new technologies will give rise to fresh iterations in a perpetual cycle of innovation.

Digital business has the potential to transform the way shipping companies operate but implementing technologies and enabling organizational change are no simple tasks. Organizations need to adopt the solutions most appropriate for their businesses so that they can update legacy systems, move toward optimized operations and future-proof their business models.

The effective implementation of digital technologies also has implications for organizational change and this raises bigger issues that shipowners need to address sooner rather than later.

With such a wide choice of vendors in shipping, owners and operators need to be satisfied that they have the best potential partner to leverage communications in support of a digital strategy. From this starting point, owners can progressively investigate the connectivity solution that is right for them, how to manage and control this new data stream, the importance of cybersecurity and the need for global support.

The impact of digitalization on shipping is so important that Speedcast has put together a list of five questions any potential buyers of communications should ask their vendor.

Q Can you help me future-proof my connectivity?

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Digitalization is having a profound impact on how shipowners and managers run their businesses and what they want from their technology partners.

The most important factor in creating a digital strategy is developing a clear understanding of your business goals. At this higher level, what an owner or manager needs is not lower prices but better value. A long-term communications partner like Speedcast will be distinguished from one that simply sees a short-term opportunity.

The Speedcast approach is to start with a conversation. We want to understand where customers are on their digital journey and how we can help take them from where they are to where they want to be.

We work side by side through solution concept to implementation, through all evolutions of their business, to deliver a tailored solution design, system installation, analytics and optimization, local field support and solution management.

Q Can you provide seamless connectivity with any band and any beam?

Customer needs in shipping will always be varied and there is no automatic assumption that all owners and operators require the highest throughput or most heavily specified systems.

Some customers can perform the tasks they require with L-band whereas others will need full global VSAT with service-level agreements and value-added services. Understanding the need and the strategy puts us in a position to support the business, whether it's crew connectivity, IoT or a complete digital optimization strategy.

Our connectivity solution — Speedcast Atlas — is a solution that comprises a complete range of maritime connectivity options across all the major providers, including our own global Ku-band VSAT, Inmarsat FleetXpress and L-band services, current and future Iridium services and cellular services for high-speed, near-shore connections at competitive prices.

By designing a system with customers in mind — reflecting the journey that they're taking as well as considering the people involved and what they actually do on a day-to-day basis — we are able to deliver a system that is as closely matched to those activities as possible.

 Q Can you control and manage access onboard the ship?

Opening up the possibilities of always-on, data-driven connectivity comes with the need to manage not only access to bandwidth but also the increasing number of applications that support operations, monitoring and maintenance.

Our SIGMA smart network and data management platform man­ages all Speedcast commercial shipping services. SIGMA provides built-in network management with comprehensive reporting tools that provide a complete view of network operations.

SIGMA offers control of onboard networks while offering tools to reduce operating costs and keep the crew happy. SIGMA is able to run solutions or applications for cybersecurity, crew connectivity, entertainment, content distribution and more.

As a result, it can be used to manage access to an array of services and features such as asset tracking, digital navigation and voyage management, crew connectivity and entertainment packages — including mobile applications for crew on the vessel.

Q What about support and service?

In a world where connectivity is critical to safety as well as operational efficiency, staying connected is more important than ever.

Speedcast is the world's largest commercial buyer of satellite capacity, but our customer relationships do not stop at the agree-ment of terms or the choice of connectivity. We recognize that the implementation phase (including integration and optimization) as well as in-service support are vital to customer satisfaction.

Our professional services solution offers ready access to a knowledgeable team of experts who deliver services that include network and systems integration and extend to innovation and testing labs as well as consultancy on digitalization and IoT.

Our engineering experts and global network of passionate support specialists bring Speedcast Atlas solutions to life. Whether working in customer support, as field engineers or in professional services, our people provide global 24/7 support.

Q How important are safety and security?

Cybersecurity has evolved from being a business impera­tive to a regulatory requirement as shippers, charterers and agencies push shipowners harder to put protections in place.

A viable cybersecurity solution must be adaptable to the constantly changing threat landscape. Speedcast offers the most proven and trusted capabilities available in the form of its Cyber Security as a Service (CSaaS) program.

Thanks to the seamless exchange of real-time threat intelligence, CSaaS provides proactive cybersecurity that can quickly and dynamically respond to threats. Included in CSaaS are next-genera­tion firewalls and monthly reporting/network management.


Clearly, the demands and requirements placed on maritime connectivity are growing increasingly complex. Providing the most appropriate connectivity requires an understanding where customers are on their digital journey and how we can help take them from where they are to where they want to be.

Speedcast believes that successful digitalization hinges on having the right strategy in place. Only when we fully understand our customers' needs do the most suitable operating systems and most advanced technologies come into play.

The need for this much broader range of services, together with the best possible blend of connectivity, has created some distance between suppliers who still think the old-fashioned way and those who have a clear vision of the future.