Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat is set to launch a new service, Crew Xpress, in a bid to improve seafarer connectivity.
The Crew Xpress package will be offered for crew on Fleet Xpress and includes a Fleet Hotspot-managed Wi-Fi solution, a 60cm Fleet Xpress antenna, as well as a 6GB business-use data package with an antenna offered on lease terms.
It includes an automated billing and a usage revenue recovery scheme to incentivise ship managers to invest in crew connectivity.
Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout said: “We have seen migration by a significant part of our customer base to our full high-speed Fleet Xpress service, but we also recognise crew wellbeing as a separate connectivity imperative.
“There is a group of owners and managers who seek fully managed Wi-Fi connectivity that crew can use on a self-service basis, but whose business data needs do not yet extend to the sensor-driven equipment maintenance or IoT-based route planning enabled by Ka-band.
“Crew Xpress allows those managers to start offering a managed, high-speed crew internet solution, while staying on an allowance plan, with the ability to migrate at any time to the full Fleet Xpress package.”
Crew Xpress is expected to launch commercially in April.
The Crew Xpress Fleet Hotspot portal could be useful for passenger vessels and superyachts or for the contractors on-board offshore support vessels.
It is an improvement to a service initially developed by Inmarsat’s aviation business unit for pilots and cabin crew.