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13th June 2016

Maritime Crew Calling with Satcom Global Satellite Solutions

When you are far from home, nothing can compare to a phone call with a loved one – not a tweet, a like, a comment or even a direct message connects family in the way a phone call can, so when at sea the significance of crew calling shouldn’t be underestimated. Even these days where social media and internet based communications prevail, there is still a case for improving access to crew calling. For those who work at sea, to keep in touch with friends and family at home and have quality conversations more frequently and for longer, can improve crew welfare and lead to an increase in on-board productivity as well as better retention rates.

In a world where data connections are deemed as fundamental, access to voice services often get let behind, so we wanted to take a look at the latest crew calling options available to our customers.

The latest addition to Satcom Global’s product portfolio, IPSignature 4, provides cost-effective voice calling to a wide range of vessels from container merchant ships and car carriers, to fishing trawlers, workboats and offshore supply vessels. Working with Inmarsat FleetBroadband, IPSignature 4 brings high quality, low cost business voice as well as the ability for ship managers to create crew calling pins which can either be given or sold to crew. The benefit of this is two-fold enabling crew to speak to their family and friends, whilst potentially generating revenue to recover satellite communications costs. From just one below deck smartbox, IPSignature 4 offers a full suite of crew welfare features including ‘Bring Your Own Device’ technology enabling crew access to web-based services via Wi-Fi hotspots. Crew can now use their own Apple, Android and Windows, tablets, smartphones and laptops, to stay in touch with the latest news, sports and social events.

Inmarsat’s portfolio of voice services includes FleetBroadband Multi-Voice Enhanced which allows up to 9 voice calls to be made simultaneously from a vessel through a single FleetBroadband terminal. Crew calling pins for FleetBroadband are readily available to order from Satcom Global. For smaller vessels, Inmarsat’s Fleet One offers a global voice service for recreational sailors and small fishing boat operators, as well as tailored airtime pricing in key coastal regions to keep costs down. Finally, through Beam Communications Oceana 400 and 800 terminals, the Inmarsat FleetPhone service offers access to up to 5 standard phone lines enabling seafarers to make crystal clear phone calls to terrestrial and mobile networks, as well as other satellite terminals.

Moving away from Inmarsat services to the other market leading provider of crew calling, the Global Iridium OpenPort service provides access to a wide range voice services. Accessed via Iridium Pilot terminals, the service offers three independent voice lines, which can be configured for crew use as well as satisfying the ship's operational communications needs.

For general operational use as today’s seafarers rely heavily on prepaid crew calling, if there is more than one crew member on board a vessel, and the phone line is shared, Iridium GoChat PINs are a great way to facilitate equitable and accountable voice calling.  Iridium GoChat scratch cards offer value, performance and reliability, and are available in 45 minutes and 90 minutes quantities. Available on Iridium Pilot, there are no surcharges regardless of the day or time the call is made and whether it’s a mobile terminated call, and prepaid PINs are conveniently available for electronic distribution to the vessel where crew can purchase them from their ship captain and enjoy worldwide calling for a single low flat rate per minute. Dedicating an Iridium Pilot to crew calling allows existing systems to be used exclusively for ship's business, separating operational communications from crew communications.

Get in touch with us today at j[email protected] to discuss your crew calling needs and find out how we can help you manage your on-board networks more efficiently.

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Crew Calling