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Taking ‘remote’ connectivity to the next level

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Global connectivity Speedcast provider innovates in the face of coronavirus pandemic to manage fully remote technology upgrade implementations for clients.

In January, Speedcast announced that it had selected ST Engineering iDirect’s platform to help provide worldwide broadband services for its customers and address growing connectivity demands across multiple sectors.

The company’s Newtec Dialog system was selected because it enables Speedcast to support its wide variety of client operations across a range of markets, providing added scalability and flexibility, and the ability to deliver very high data rates as the demand for connectivity grows.

The Speedcast team spent much of the first quarter of the year working behind the scenes to prepare for the rollout of the Dialog platform. The roll out plan included the deployment of multiple hubs on several continents worldwide, followed by migrations at customer sites.

To prepare for the remote site installation, Speedcast formed a dedicated project group made up of Operations, Engineering, Global Platforms, Capacity Management, and Field Engineering staff. Migrating a remote maritime site – whether it be a cruise ship, a commercial maritime vessel, or a drilling rig – is a complex task, which typically requires a field engineer onboard.

Already facing a daunting task of converting more than 100 maritime sites to this new technology, the team was confronted with a new challenge when the global Covid-19 pandemic prevented or delayed the dispatch of field engineers to some remote sites. The team came up with an innovative way to move the project forward quickly and remotely to maintain the project plan timeline and support customer needs.

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The creative approach allows for completely remote migrations with the help of IT personnel onboard the vessels that have been identified for migration. The process essentially consists of three conference calls hosted by Speedcast, with the on-site IT leads. Each session is guided by a detailed procedure, from pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment. With the help of onboard IT personnel, the team first migrates the site’s secondary antenna to Dialog, which can be a lengthy and complex process. Once the secondary system is fully tested and stable, traffic is migrated from the primary to the secondary, and the process is repeated with the primary antenna.

The remote migrations require thorough planning, detailed procedures and disciplined execution. In April, the team converted its first maritime vessels to the Dialog platform completely remotely. The team has remotely migrated 24 maritime sites to-date and is now preparing to expand to multiple project teams to further accelerate the migrations for customers.  

The initiative was successful thanks to a collaborative, cross functional team effort in close cooperation with Speedcast’s customers.


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