I’ve just returned from Bergen, Norway for a customer event and the first Digital Ship event of 2013. They say that Bergen is one of the wettest cities in Europe, and it did not disappoint. It gets just 19 days of sun per year, and unfortunately, one of those finally arrived just as I was on my way out of town!
Despite still-tough economic conditions in many sectors, 2013 is shaping up for the maritime industry to be just as exciting and dynamic as 2012, if not more so! The long-talked about trend for consolidation in the industry finally looks to be gathering speed. As the landscape shifts, many companies which previously bought services from other service providers will need to re-assess their business relationships as former partners become staunch competitors.
Gazing west out from Bergen into the gale-blown North Sea, one quickly sees that the focus is on offshore and specialized services. Whether off the tropical coast of Brazil or the frozen wastes of the North Slope of Alaska, the upstream portion of the oil and gas industry is used to operating in the harshest, most difficult environments. Safety is paramount and maximum uptime critical.
This is a world where C-Band is still valued for its high availability. Losing a wellhead data stream means a semi-submersible rig that gets hired out for $500,000-$750,000/day has to cease operations until all systems can be brought back on line. Add in punitive service-level agreements by multiple users who may be sharing the link, and failure is not an option. Intelsat’s Global C-Band coverage, complementing the rest of the communications network, helps get the job done.
Another trend positively impacting all segments of the maritime sector is the drive for operational efficiencies. There is a lot of talk these days about the value of satellite connectivity rather than the cost. The example above highlights this at the top end of the scale, but even implementing remote IT monitoring can save $5,000-$10,000 for each call-out to a vessel that can be avoided.
Add in things like Citrix access, engine-room monitoring, trim optimization, ECDIS updates and routing information, and even telemedicine, and the 0.3-0.5% of a vessels monthly budget that is spent on communications can be a huge driver towards cost savings in the other 99.5-99.7%.
At Intelsat, we continue to evolve our complementary network of traditional Ku-Band spot beams, mission-specific mobility beams, and the upcoming Intelsat EpicNG spacecraft. Working with our service-provider partners, we will ensure that seafarers and passengers alike always have access to highly reliable, high-performing capacity to meet their needs today, and in the future.