News Keeping you up to date
6th January 2017

Improving Maritime Crew Communications with Satcom Global Aura VSAT

Did you know that there are approximately 1.6 million seafarers today, and that 69% of those recently surveyed say access to crew communications at sea influences their choice of employer? Statistics show that the crew communications market value exceeded $1.39billion USD last year and although 89% of seafarers understand and feel comfortable using satellite communications technology, there are 78,000 crew who never have access to it.

Only 56% of crew always have access to crew communications, and with crew welfare continually a hot topic, increasing access to quality and real-time communications whilst at sea puts owners in a stronger position to attract and retain the right crew. With seafarers spending on average seven months at sea per year, high speed, always-on connectivity is setting new standards for crew welfare, helping to improve crew health and well being,  keeping them in-touch with what is going on in the world.

A crucial part of retaining talent at sea is to break down the barriers to spending these long periods of time at sea by increasing the crew’s quality of life on-board, and this means supplying crew with the means to stay up to date, and  sustain relationships with loved ones whilst building on their maritime careers. Of those who do have access to communications, half of seafarers state that cost as well as limited bandwidth and poor quality of service are the hurdles to overcome.

A Ku-Band VSAT communications service like Satcom Global Aura can provide a quality and cost effective solution to keeping crew happy and connected with life back on land. Unlimited data available with a range of high speed bandwidth options ensures that there is capacity to meet vessel demands for connectivity on a business level as well as enough to share with crew.

Survey’s have also shown that a large number of crew cite lack of privacy in the bridge as a problem with satcoms currently available to them. Satcom Global Aura provides a premium internet and voice solution which can be accessed via Wi-Fi enabling crew members to connect their own devices, in private.  Vessels no longer need individual PC’s to guarantee privacy and freedom of communications for every crew member, as through one connected PC, multiple users can access the broadband connection on their own smartphone or tablet. According to recent surveys, only 4% of crew don’t take any devices on-board, with the remaining vast majority of crew wanting to access communications via their own laptop connected to WiFi, followed by 57% who take a smartphone and another 40% planning to buy tablet PC for use on-board.

Access to quality voice calling is also important to crew. Only 19% of crew report access to a phone daily with cost also a huge barrier. With Aura VSAT, they can access high quality and low cost crew calling for voice calls to shore enabled by our IPSignature 4 smart box, which is included as part of all Aura packages.

The most in-demand internet services for crew at sea are VoIP and social networking, and Aura’s always-on high-speed data combined with the BYOD environment enables seafarers to keep in touch with their friends and family at any time of day, in any time zone, via instant messenger apps such as WhatsApp as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Crew can also surf the internet to keep up to date with the latest news and sports results, email and even skype video chat without restrictions to ensure they don’t feel out of touch with what’s going on around the world and have to play catch up when they arrive in port.

Video streaming is also a huge advantage to Aura customers; as not only does it enable the chance to video chat with friends and family as well as watch TV, films and sport, but it also contributes towards ensuring their health and safety hundreds of nautical miles from land. In dangerous seas where the security of crew is vital, video surveillance can also be streamed live back to shore saving precious minutes should rescue efforts be required

The ever increasing amount of bandwidth available and falling prices are good news for seafarers, as long as they are on a vessel which has installed a VSAT solution. 

Just ask if you would like more information on Satcom Global Aura VSAT and the benefits to crew welfare.

Thanks to Futurenautics for the statistics taken from their Crew Connectivity Survey, and the International Chamber of Shipping for current seafarer numbers.

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Crew Communications with Aura VSAT
It has been reported that over 77% of crew would choose internet if ship operators offered just one free service, and we live in a world where people expect broadband connectivity to a handheld device."