Martin Kits van Heyningen, President and CEO
Today’s global maritime companies require increasingly agile, secure, high-speed/high-volume data connections that are easily accessible from all regions of the world. Neither very high frequency (VHF) wireless connectivity from ground-based masts nor the legacy L-band satellites are able to fulfill the present maritime connectivity needs. While wireless networks have limited range (slightly over 20 nautical miles), satellite communications are extremely expensive and can have unavoidable latency (almost half a second).
In an effort to drive away these disadvantages, today, many satellite service providers have began adopting very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite technology. But because of its highly complex implementation journey—from design to installation through to everyday operations—it is not a widely accepted maritime connectivity standard.
Making a breakthrough amid these adversities is a new category of satellite communications offering, mini-VSAT broadband—created by mobile technology innovator KVH Industries [NASDAQ:KVHI]. Designed specifically for mobile maritime applications, mini-VSAT Broadband is a robust, dual-band service covering the globe. KVH designs, manufactures, manages, and supports all the aspects of this satellite communication system, providing a complete end-to-end solution. Thus, KVH not only makes the implementation of the solution a lot simpler but also creates greater opportunities for its refinement, innovation, and flexibility.
“Five years ago, we looked at the marine satellite communications market and saw that it was a compromise that didn’t give mariners everything they needed. If they wanted global coverage and small antennas, they were stuck with older technology, slow data speeds, and expensive airtime. If they wanted good data speed and affordable airtime, they were stuck with regional coverage and huge expensive antennas. We created mini-VSAT Broadband because we knew there had to be a better way. That was our vision. Everything in one system—global, fast, affordable, small, reliable. No compromises. And now we’re the market share leader in maritime VSAT,” says Martin Kits van Heyningen, president and CEO of KVH Industries.
Innovation Backed by a Rich Legacy
KVH also lets the crew access daily news updates, watch their favorite movies, and get the thrill of sports coverage through its entertainment content service, KVH Link
From the very first day, KVH’s name has been synonymous with innovation. The company started its journey by introducing the world’s first commercial digital fluxgate compass for sailboats in 1982. The company has been pushing the marine-electronics technology envelope ever since. At present, KVH is a market leader in maritime VSAT, providing connectivity and content services globally. The company is also a premier manufacturer of high-performance sensors and integrated inertial systems for defense and commercial applications.
And when it comes to next-generation maritime satellite communications services, not only did KVH create the mini-VSAT Broadband network from the ground up, they also created a new breed of onboard terminals with advanced antenna technology and fully integrated below deck units—under the brand name TracPhone. With patented ArcLight spread spectrum technology, the TracPhone antennas are extremely compact (from 39 cm to 1.2 m) and offer outstanding coverage and speed. Moreover, KVH’s high-efficiency RingFire antenna design and dielectric feed rod technology ensure that TracPhone antennas have great performance even in poor weather.
Helping Mariners Make Smart Decisions about Connectivity
KVH’s connectivity solutions feature a layered, global network that offers coverage and speed to meet operational and crew communication requirements, as well as smart data tools for transparency and control, comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, and embedded IoT functionality. In addition, KVH’s maritime connectivity solutions are offered via a flexible Communication as a Service (CaaS) model— AgilePlans. As the pace of maritime digitalization keeps accelerating, KVH is certain that commercial vessels of all sizes can take advantage of its all-inclusive, no CAPEX, and no-commitment connectivity solution that AgilePlans delivers to bring fast and reliable maritime connectivity onboard.
bring fast and reliable maritime connectivity onboard. More importantly, all KVH maritime VSAT systems, whether deployed as part of AgilePlans or individually, are equipped with IoT capabilities to increase efficiency and improve uptime.
Designed specifically for mobile maritime applicati ons, mini-VSAT Broadband is a robust, dualband service covering the globe
The addition of the IoT facet helps meet both operational and crew connectivity needs as well as a marine company’s remote support requirements, including IoT data delivery and remote troubleshooting and service calls via chat, voice, and video.
Recently, the company also launched its IoT Connectivity as a Service—KVH Watch. KVH Watch provides actionable solutions for critical IoT needs via 24/7/365 machine-tomachine, cyber-secured connectivity for onboard equipment. At the same time, it is also able to perform on-demand highspeed interventions for remote support sessions.
Improving Marine Crew’s Morale
A happy, well-trained, and hardworking marine crew is vital to maintaining efficient operations. Oftentimes, the barrier to seafarers’ wellbeing is attributed to poor maritime connectivity. That’s why KVH is invested in offering the finest crew wellbeing services. The company has a range of options and flexible packages to aid seafarers to connect with family and friends via affordable calls and emails. KVH also lets the crew access daily news updates, watch their favorite movies, and get the thrill of sports coverage through its entertainment content service, KVH Link.
While these services indeed keep the seafarers motivated, KVH also understands the amount of stress the crew onboard can face due to its unique working conditions. Even the maritime industry at large is raising awareness around the importance of seafarers’ mental wellbeing. Keeping in line with these trends, KVH offers several services and initiatives that provide ideas and techniques to help the crew socialize onboard. Moreover, to support seafarers’ mental wellbeing, last year, KVH also launched a new service wherein mariners on any vessel can use KVH VSAT service to make free VoIP calls to International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network’s (ISWAN) confidential 24-hour SeafarerHelp hotline number.