$33.3m un­tapped rev­enue per an­num

2% or 18,500 sea­far­ers are cur­rently with­out ac­cess to any form of crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions

OffComm News - - FRONTPAGE -

If each un­con­nected per­son paid $ 150 per month for a data quota ~ a no­tion that seems ac­cept­able for

most ~ there’s an op­por­tunis­tic

mar­ket value of $ 33.3m

Top Line Find­ings

Many sea­far­ers are pre­pared to pay for con­nec­tiv­ity. The emer­gence of on­board hy­brid net­works with VSAT and MSS em­pow­ers own­ers to pro­vide the lev­els of re­li­able and cost ef­fec­tive con­nec­tiv­ity to sup­port chang­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion us­age pat­terns. BYOD and so­cial me­dia are driv­ing con­nec­tiv­ity re­quire­ments. Face­book high­lighted as one of the most pop­u­lar web des­ti­na­tions for crews.

Ship­ping com­pa­nies able to of­fer strong crew wel­fare pack­ages are bet­ter po­si­tioned to re­cruit from the lim­ited pool of tal­ent and in­crease staff loy­alty.

The pop­u­lar­ity of us­ing one's own de­vice shows that own­ers in­vest­ing in ves­sel-wide broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity and cor­re­spond­ing WiFi con­nec­tions ~ to pro­vide ei­ther free or low cost in­ter­net ac­cess ~ will ex­pe­ri­ence re­turn in terms of crew re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant con­sid­er­ing that the lack of qual­i­fied of­fi­cers con­tin­ues to grow, from a deficit of 10,000 to

13,000 be­tween 2005– 2010. Web com­pres­sion and fil­ter­ing help to con­trol com­mu­ni­ca­tion cost and make crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions af­ford­able. More­over, the Crew PC, con­fig­ured for safe, ef­fi­cient and un­su­per­vised pri­vate us­age can serve as a per­sonal com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre. An­other way of or­gan­is­ing crew voice and data us­age is of­fered by XChange, Astrium Ser­vices' in­te­grated so­lu­tions plat­form. Over XChange crew can use their per­sonal lap­top or tablet in the pri­vacy of their liv­ing quar­ters and can make voice calls via their own smart­phones.

Free Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ac­cess

In­creased lev­els of ac­cess to com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture on­board are clearly demon­strated by this sur­vey, 68 per­cent of sea­far­ers can now use some form of crew com­mu­ni­ca­tion most or all of the time when at sea. Given this re­ported level of ac­cess we can there­fore ex­tra po­late that 629,000 sea­far­ers on­board 30,600 ves­sels are now able to ac­cess crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Lev­els of in­ter­net pro­vi­sion were very high in the off­shore and cruise ~ yet low in the bulk, gen­eral cargo and con­tainer sec­tors. The car car­rier sec­tor pro­vided com­par­a­tively high lev­els of in­ter­net ac­cess at over 60 per­cent which in­di­cates higher lev­els of VSAT pen­e­tra­tion within this small group. De­spite hav­ing ac­cess whilst at sea 46 per­cent of re­spon­dents were not pro­vided with any form of free com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices by ship op­er­a­tors. In­ter­est­ingly, of­fi­cers were pro­vided more free com­mu­ni­ca­tions than rat­ings. The ser­vice most of­ten pro­vided free of charge to sea­far­ers was text only emails with no at­tach­ments but this was only avail­able to 20 per­cent of re­spon­dents. Other ser­vices were typ­i­cally avail­able free to less than 15 per­cent. The lack of free com­mu­ni­ca­tions at sea is fur­ther re­in­forced when ex­am­in­ing re­sponses by sec­tor: 66 per­cent of re­spon­dents from the pas­sen­ger sec­tor were not pro­vided any free com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices, de­spite hav­ing the high­est lev­els of comms equip­ment on­board. Crew in many ma­jor com­mer­cial sec­tors also fared badly. Only the off­shore sec­tor, where qual­i­fied crew are in short sup­ply and char­terer re­quire­ments dic­tate high band­width satel­lite so­lu­tions, are crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions widely avail­able free of charge.

Most no­tice­ably it is the sec­tor with the great­est range of ser­vice pro­vi­sion that pro­vides the least free of charge ac­cess to crew.

Many ship­ping com­pa­nies face staff re­ten­tion is­sues and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices can rep­re­sent an at­trac­tive in­cen­tive to crew mem­bers," says Til­mann Michalke, se­nior prod­uct man­ager for crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Astrium Ser­vices.

What Counts?

When it came to ac­cess­ing crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions on­board, crew rated is­sues of cost, qual­ity, pri­vacy and se­cu­rity as highly im­por­tant. Call qual­ity was rated the most im­por­tant el­e­ment in ser­vice de­liv­ery. This was fol­lowed by price, se­cu­rity and fi­nally pri­vacy. Of­fi­cers rated all ser­vice de­liv­ery el­e­ments higher than rat­ings, es­pe­cially when it came to se­cu­rity. When asked their pre­ferred method of ac­cess to non- voice crew com­mu­ni­ca­tions the clear an­swer was by use of a lap­top with a WiFi con­nec­tion. This scored high­est across all ves­sel types, age ranges and sea­farer ranks.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from International

© PressReader. All rights reserved.