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Seafarer testimony to drive Dubai connectivity discussions

Testimony from working seafarers, crewing experts and shipping customers will bring a completely fresh, evidence-based perspective to a special discussion on ship-to-shore connectivity during Seatrade Maritime Middle East week at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

The ‘Navigating Connectivity While at Sea’ session, which will be staged on October 29th, will be hosted by leading managed network solutions provider IEC Telecom and mobile satellite pioneer Inmarsat. Panellists will include acknowledged connectivity experts Drew Brandy, Senior Vice President Market Strategy, Inmarsat Maritime, Nabil Ben Soussia, Managing Director, IEC Telecom Middle East and Gürkan Büyüktelli, Marine Superintendent for Mercan Group.

Discussion topics will cover the critical role connectivity plays in enhancing ship efficiency, safety and environmental standards, but Brandy emphasised that his contribution would draw on key findings of a new Royal Holloway University London study commissioned by Inmarsat and the Sailors’ Society. Unlike statistical studies, the original research digs into the testimony of working seafarers to corroborate the direct link between connectivity at sea and crew wellness.

“By putting researchers on working ships and talking to seafarers during their daily lives, this unique research has teased out how the availability of communications tools affects crew behaviour and, by extension, self-esteem, wellbeing and even productivity,” said Mr Brandy. Mr Brandy is also closely associated with an Inmarsat Research Programme report published earlier this year on the impact of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it can be a differentiator for shipping. 

Capt. Büyüktelli, of recruitment network Mercan Group is due to draw on a different user group for his introductory remarks and is expected to highlight the benefits unlimited internet access can bring to ship management. 

For co-hosts IEC Telecom, Ben Soussia will zero in on the need for customers to strike the right balance between the crew welfare imperative and corporate goals for operational efficiency and cost effectiveness. He is expected to argue that there are no longer any fundamental technological or financial barriers in the way of decent connectivity at sea, and that the advances which have propelled the networked economy on land are now fully available to the maritime sector via satellite.

“This has been achieved by bringing down the cost of basic vessel connectivity to approximately 0.3% of the total cost of operating a vessel,” said Ben Soussia. Connectivity is about more than email, web-surfing or logging on to social media, he adds. “As well mental health, it is linked to safety, training and continuing professional development and, with more than 50,000 ships crossing the oceans daily, it is also the channel through which business efficiency and productivity goals are achieved.”

“Today, the connectivity that can satisfy crew morale needs is available for customers committed to even the most cost-conscious strategies,” said Brandy. “Furthermore, the crew welfare imperative is covered in service provision that always prioritises operation-critical traffic such as remote maintenance, navigational updates and cyber security.”

Register for the event here: Navigating Connectivity While at Sea

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