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Mobile communications technology and services supplier Ericsson is to offer Inmarsat’s combined L-band and Ku-band VSAT network communications service, XpressLink, to customers operating in the maritime shipping sector.
The two companies have signed an agreement to facilitate the sharing of cargo, logistics and vessel operational data to develop new services that establish and drive standards for satellite communications and application integration among shipping companies.
Providing XpressLink to users at sea will be the first step in this relationship, the two companies said, and also opens up an upgrade path to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service, which will become available in the next few months.
Ericsson and Inmarsat will also begin work on integrating Ericsson’s Maritime ICT Cloud with Inmarsat’s satcomms network, including Ka-band and L-band. The Maritime Cloud is a managed service that connects vessels at sea with land-based operations such as maintenance providers, customer support, road haulage partners and port authorities.
Ericsson said integrating its service with the Inmarsat network would reduce shipping time for cargo, allow producers to better plan shipments and make port operations and onward lorry transport more efficient.
“Everyone is talking about ‘big data’, but eventually it is the deployment of applications on-board and the end-to-end management of integrated intelligence that will ultimately change the way the maritime industry operates, making it more efficient, greener and unlocking greater value. We are happy that the reliability of the Inmarsat constellation of satellites and operational standards are recognised as the best fit in the Ericsson roadmap of integrated services,” said Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout.
John Taxgaard, Ericsson head of maritime, added: “Ericsson believes the internet of things has the potential to generate tremendous value for the maritime industry. Partnering with the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services is the best means of helping the maritime industry to realise this value.
“Together with Inmarsat we will jointly develop fully integrated services, solutions and applications, and work towards establishing maritime industry standards for satellite connectivity and application integration.”
The Swedish supplier has already signed a deal with U-Ming Marine, a Taiwan-based specialist in the transport of cements, dry commodities and industrial raw materials, and will supply the business with an end-to-end connected vessel and voyage optimisation package, which includes Inmarsat connectivity.
Copenhagen-headquartered shipping company Maersk also recently embraced the potential of the internet of things in its operations, and is working with AT&T to introduce temperature monitoring on refrigerated containers, also backed by satellite broadband.