Marine communication involves ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication. Beginning with radio and flags, the industry today uses advanced technologies to communicate. With over 90 per cent of worldwide trade served by the maritime market, vessels at sea rely on broadband connectivity and VSAT technology to stay in touch with operations on land and increase work productivity.
Growing use of VSAT technology
Reports from The Verified Market state that the global maritime VSAT market was valued at $1.92 billion (Dh7.05 billion) in 2017 and is projected to reach $5.19 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 13.3 per cent from 2018 to 2025.
Marine activities continuing to pick up the pace, combined with an increased demand for enriched content from seafarers, crew and passenger has caused a major spike in the growth of VSAT technology.
Autonomous vehicles are beginning to make an appearance in the maritime industry. These vessels can help eliminate human error, reduce crew costs, enable space efficiencies in ship design and use of fuel. Digitalisation is driving great change in maritime, and autonomous ships are a part of that.
In fact, in recognition of the same, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, for example, recently announced a $100 million investment into automated and digital tools for the industry. However, it also remains to be seen how the concept of autonomous vehicles will affect maritime law, including the transportation of goods at sea, chartering of vessels, legal regulations and more.
Adoption of IoT
More and more businesses are today embracing IoT in a bid to help applications and crew traffic run seamlessly across the entire network.
Some examples of what IoT can do are: improve cargo handling based on satellite coverage, reduce administrative costs of regulatory compliance, lower fuel consumption and increase efficiency and safety. A 2018 study states that ship operators plan to spend $2.5 million on IoT-based solutions in the next three years and expect, on average, to achieve IoT-driven cost savings of 14 per cent over the next five years.
It is only natural that the rise in digitalisation will be accompanied by concerns of hostile attacks on the ship’s systems. A technological breach can leave businesses exposed, risk operational downtime, and potential scrutiny by regulators over compliance policies.
It is only natural that the rise in digitalisation will be accompanied by concerns of hostile attacks on the ship’s systems. A technological breach can leave businesses exposed, risk operational downtime, and potential scrutiny by regulators over compliance policies. A 2017 maritime cyber security survey by I.H.S. Fairplay found that 34 per cent of respondents said that their company had experienced a cyber-attack in the previous 12 months. In the future, maritime cyber security will become a top priority.
Remote monitoring is being used increasingly to avoid expensive system shutdowns, which can seriously affect operations. It enables regular reading of data that can then be transmitted back to head offices for analysis and insights. Additionally, we will see the rise of Augmented Reality (AR), which will enable experts to troubleshoot remotely. For example, the European Union (EU) has already funded a €6.5 million project for AR bridge systems designed to improve navigation safety and efficiency on ships.
– The writer is Managing Director, IEC Telecom Middle East & Kazakhstan, and Vice President – Maritime at IEC Telecom Group