Inmarsat readies Crew Xpress launch following trial by Asian owners

Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat Maritime Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat Maritime

Inmarsat’s new Crew Xpress service onboard vessels is set for a full commercial launch this month, following its trial by a number of Asian shipping companies since January this year.

The Crew Xpress is a new service for crew available as part of its expanding services on FleetXpress.

The new service package includes a managed Wi-Fi solution ‘Fleet Hotspot’, a leased antenna, a business use data package, automated billing and a usage revenue recovery scheme to incentivise ship managers to invest in crew connectivity.

A wholesale version will be available in the second half of this year after the commercial launch.

The Crew Xpress package consists of a 60cm Fleet Xpress antenna and a 6GB business allowance plan with an antenna offered on lease terms, with separate, managed crew internet access through the ‘Fleet Hotspot’.

Accessing the internet via a unique login, the ‘Fleet Hotspot’ user secures time or data with allocated vouchers or by making online payments via a range of different methods.

“The provision of Internet to the crew is lowering your cost already as you have a happier crew,” said Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat Maritime.

“There is a group of owners and managers who seek fully-managed Wi-Fi connectivity that crew can use on a self-service basis, but whose business data needs do not yet extend to the sensor-driven equipment maintenance or Internet of Things (IoT) based route planning enabled by Ka-band. Crew Xpress allows those managers to start offering a managed, high-speed crew internet solution, while staying on an allowance plan, with the ability to migrate at any time to the full Fleet Xpress package,” Spithout explained.

Seatrade Maritime News is reporting Live from Sea Asia 2019

Based on the findings of a report commissioned by Inmarsat, key trends of maritime IoT and digitalisation have pointed to potential savings and greater efficiency for owners.

A figure of $2.5m on average is the amount of investment that will be made by shipowners on IoT solutions over the next three years.

Of the owners surveyed, 100% will be using IoT for fuel consumption monitoring by 2023 to meet emissions regulations. The average cost savings is predicted at 14% through the use of IoT-based solutions within five years, and 51% said that getting data off the ship in real-time is the biggest obstacle to IoT adoption.

“We have seen migration by a significant part of our customer base to our full high-speed Fleet Xpress service, but we also recognise crew wellbeing as a separate connectivity imperative,” Spithout said.

Posted 10 April 2019

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Lee Hong Liang

Asia Correspondent

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