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Inmarsat passes 10K vessel Fleet Xpress installation as data demand boosts superyacht digitalisation

by Saltwater Stone 25 Jan 2021 04:22 PST
Inmarsat's Fleet Xpress service is providing more superyachts with reliable, global connectivity © Inmarsat

With ship data consumption doubling during 2020, an increasing number of superyacht owners and managers are among those benefiting from Inmarsat's high-speed service with its fast-growing ecosystem of digital applications and value-added services

Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has completed its 10,000th Fleet Xpress vessel installation. Fleet Xpress clients now include a growing number of yachts, passenger ships and fishing boats with access to the platform's reliable, seamless connectivity, bringing significant gains for guest and crew experience, operations, yacht management efficiency, crew welfare and effective cyber security.

Strong customer growth has seen Inmarsat report average daily download rates per vessel of around 8GB as of December 2020. This compares to less than 4GB at the mid-year point of 2020.

"The Fleet Xpress service continues to provide the superyacht sector's gold standard for seamless, mobile broadband. We are now entering a 'Fleet Xpress 2.0' era as it moves way beyond a connectivity pipe, and becomes a true digital platform with our Fleet Data service now integrated as part of Fleet Xpress with the basic level of Fleet Data free of charge. This allows access to an ecosystem of applications and value-added services available on demand," says Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime. "Covid-19 has brought a major spike in data demand for crew connectivity and our Fleet Hotspot wi-fi solution has gained exceptional traction, but the arrival of Fleet Data as maritime's first secure and scalable Internet of Things platform has also been pivotal.

"With 10,000 vessels worldwide now depending on Fleet Xpress 24/7, this is a moment to express our thanks to our end-users and our technology, installation, manufacturing and channel partners, and to reflect on 2020 as the tipping point for maritime digitalisation."

Inmarsat will also launch a series of incentives over the coming weeks to celebrate the significant milestone.

The installation landmark was reached during the same month as Inmarsat's most powerful satellite to date entered service, with GX5 joining the only globally available high-speed mobile broadband network delivered by a single operator. GX5 provides additional capability to yachting customers of Fleet Xpress in Europe and the Middle East, and delivers approximately double the combined capacity of the entire existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4).

The latest Inmarsat Superyacht Connectivity Report confirms the expansion of digitalisation and an increasing reliance on VSAT connectivity for regulation compliance and navigation, for fuel optimisation, efficiency, reduced environmental impact, and guest and crew use. Key findings include an expected 42% increase in large VSAT usage in the next five years to meet new ambitions for exploration and adventure in more remote regions.

Fleet Xpress for superyachts incorporates a range of benefits such as subscription flexibility, affordable voice calls, multiple voice options for crew and operations, and high-speed broadband for internet access, plus 24/7 online support by certified engineers. Its multi-layer cyber defence solution Fleet Secure Portfolio offers compliance to the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2021 cyber security risk management requirements.

"Maritime digitalisation is now unstoppable," said Spithout. "The market is becoming mature enough to support its own digital ecosystem with separate bandwidth channels for crew, applications and operations. Our recent experience in offering Fleet Data as integral to Fleet Xpress at no additional cost suggests that, once owners get a taste of what is on offer, they quickly recognise its value and the benefits of using our ecosystem of partners. In the coming months we will continue this in partnership with our wholesale and retail partners."

Inmarsat has also launched a new 'Fleet Data Academy' with existing partners, shipowners and operators to both understand fully and adopt the rapidly growing range of digital applications that are making the maritime industry safer, greener and more efficient.

Inmarsat's fully-funded technology roadmap sees a further seven satellite launches over the next four years, with two in highly elliptical orbit to deliver the world's only commercial Arctic mobile broadband service.

"We believe that reliable, seamless connectivity with a platform such as Fleet Xpress is now more vital than ever and will play a crucial role in the accelerated adoption of digital technology as the world emerges from Covid-19," adds Spithout.

"Our partners and customers can confidently invest in long-term, transformational global digitalisation."

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