Inmarsat have launched Fleet Xpress, a globally available, high-speed broadband solution for maritime and offshore operators and the first available from a single communications provider.
The service aims to enable ship owners and operators to enhance their business intelligence, improve operational efficiency and vessel performance, and provide a range of high-value, crew welfare benefits. It will also empower third party application providers to enhance their existing services to maritime customers, and to develop new applications ranging from real-time monitoring, remote diagnostics and telemedicine, to security and crew service management tools.
“Fleet Xpress is a ground-breaking new service that will shape communications at sea beyond recognition,” said Ronald Spithout, Inmarsat Maritime President. “Through Fleet Xpress, ship owners and operators can experience unparalleled levels of performance and simplicity. It will provide the guaranteed high-speed connectivity that is essential to support the safest and most efficient vessel operations, anywhere in the world. While, in parallel, it will match the personal connectivity needs of even the most demanding modern seafarer, delivering services previously available only on shore.”
Fleet Xpress, which is based on Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress (GX) satellite constellation, combines the high data speeds of Ka-band with the ultra-reliable FleetBroadband L-band service for unlimited backup. As a fully integrated service, it switches automatically between Ka-band and L-band, ensuring an ‘always on’ guaranteed connection with a committed information rate, backed-up by service level agreements to ensure customers always receive the service for which they are paying.
To take advantage of the new service, vessels will require a 1m or 60cm Global Xpress antenna and terminal, and a FleetBroadband terminal (either FleetBroadband 500 or FleetBroadband 250), that are pre-commissioned on the network to provide quick and easy plug and play deployment.
Inmarsat is working with a number of partners globally to deliver Fleet Xpress into the market, including Network Innovations, Marlink and Singtel.
Additional partners are expected to complete the Fleet Xpress “on-boarding” process in the coming months.
Eric Verheylewegen, Vice President and General Manager, Network Innovations comments: “Fleet Xpress is a game changer for the global maritime community. It is a unique offering as it delivers superior service even in areas that are not covered by traditional VSAT and provides the only truly unlimited L-band backup. We believe that the 60cm antenna will be very popular and the fact that Fleet Xpress voice services are not using your contracted bandwidth makes Fleet Xpress very good value as you can pick your package based solely on your data needs.
“We have put the service to the test in some of the most remote areas of the world and some of the worst possible weather conditions. We are very proud of having contributed to the refinement of the service and are delighted to see Fleet Xpress being launched globally today.”
Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink comments: “At Marlink we have successfully interconnected our HTS-ready network to the GX network. This demonstrates our readiness to deliver end-to-end, managed services to customers that combines seamless GX connectivity with our Value Added Solutions and our XChange service delivery platform”
Fleet Xpress hardware includes a Network Service Device (NSD) to manage bandwidth and traffic flow through Inmarsat-tested antennae and type-approved user terminals, offered by hardware partners Intellian, JRC and Cobham SATCOM.
The Inmarsat Gateway is the user interface for Fleet Xpress and provides service configuration and management functionalities to allow ship owners and managers to maximise the capability of Fleet Xpress. Using Inmarsat Gateway, managers can set access rights for different user groups and effectively control, manage and monitor the service.
Together with the Inmarsat Service Enablement Platform (ISEP), Inmarsat Gateway takes Fleet Xpress beyond simple broadband communications. It allows Inmarsat’s Certified Application Partners to develop and publish innovative, content-rich applications that integrate with the Fleet Xpress service.