Global IT and communications services provider Orange Business Services has launched a new technology to allow shipping firms to integrate their ships into the corporate network and provide Internet access for crew and applications.

Called Maritime Connect, the fully-industrialised single, integrated solutions technology was developed under a European Union initiative dedicated to improve communications on vessels at sea.

The new platform has been developed to support digital transformation in the shipping industry.

Maritime Connect will be used to secure access to enterprise applications via the corporate network, offer better route planning to improve fuel consumption and provide communication with the outside world, tracking and monitoring of ships and cargo and telemedicine for remote care.

Orange Business Services head business development satellite solutions Michel Verbist: "Orange Business Services is uniquely positioned in the maritime market because we are able to integrate many different technologies and networks, both onshore and offshore.

"With the end-to-end integration and satellite connectivity offered by Maritime Connect, vessels on the high seas are now as well connected as terrestrial offices. This enables new ways of working right across the shipping industry."

"With the end-to-end integration and satellite connectivity offered by Maritime Connect, vessels on the high seas are now as well connected as terrestrial offices."

Proved to perform under all weather conditions, Maritime Connect manages voice, video and data in limited bandwidth and can be used on ships equipped with any type of satellite communications systems, including Fleet Broadband, Iridium or VSAT systems (Ku or C band) among others.

The platform is expected to provide the maritime industry with reliable connectivity over diverse communication interfaces and cuts costs at the same time.

The solution is available in three tiered versions, with the basic version providing on-board access to essential communications services like IP Routing, link switching, quality of service (QoS) and server hosting for applications onboard.

The second level adds licences for increased security, WAN optimisation and user accounting, while the premium version provides maximum connectivity for crew and captain with Wi-Fi on board, and 3G / 4G for near-shore operations.