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Driving performance by leveraging superior connectivity

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(l to r) Rob Parkin, Milind Karkhanis, NIkeel Idnani and Bilal Al Habash

As digital developments and consumer technologies continue to grow apace on land, the Digital Age is also driving a new chapter in ship communications and service.  Under the auspices of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) UAE Branch, KVH Videotel hosted a knowledge sharing session for the Middle East maritime fraternity with the leitmotif Ground-breaking multi-channel connectivity – meeting the demands of the modern-day ship manager through innovation.

Opening what has become the must-attend event of the UAE’s maritime calendar, Nikeel Idnani, Honorary Secretary IMarEST UAE branch spoke of the current market where ship owners are navigating in a changing operating environment. On the one hand changing regulations call for increased attention on environmental compliance while on the other, new innovations are surfacing through which ship managers can address regulatory issues, optimize their fleets and reduce operating costs. Nikeel emphasized not being able to manage what is not measured with a primary reference to data which is captured onboard ships through sensors and sent ashore for analysis enabling efficacy of ship operation.

Rob Parkin, Maritime Sales Director for KVH

In the keynote presentation, Rob Parkin, Maritime Sales Director for KVH, explained against a challenging global economic backdrop, ship managers, owners and charterers are embracing new business philosophies, technologies and commercial models to drive better returns, remain competitive and viable.  Optimization of technology and connectivity are critical, and a better understanding and utilization of multiple data channels can play an essential role in driving these efficiencies.  KVH, and other communication service companies, have a duty in helping modern-day ship managers adopt advanced service solutions to improve business performance and future-proof onboard technologies. Towards this end, KVH offers an all-inclusive, no-commitment VSAT connectivity solution delivering everything a fleet needs for better business at sea. Rob highlighted to the attending ship owners that their greatest assets are their crews, not the technology. There exists an increasingly competitive challenge of recruiting and retaining ships staff since younger crew are increasingly ‘digital natives’ with expectation of access to the internet. To differentiate their fleet from competition, ship owners must provide for connectivity to bolster crew morale while still being affordable since as he termed it ‘the dollar drives everything’. Rob informed the 88 delegates that on many vessels, a large portion of broadband data consumption was for crew’s personal use. Connectivity ensures that all crew have access to up-to-date training materials. KVH recently announced it surpassed shipping 8,000 VSAT systems; the company is the market share leader in maritime VSAT by units fielded, according to Euroconsult’s “Prospects for Maritime Satellite Communications 2018.”

Interactive discussions with the audience

Mr. Parkin’s invitation for questions attracted lively participation from the audience. He cleared the fog on Fiber Optic Gyro technology for inertial navigation systems and KVH’s resilience to cyber-attacks, amongst myriad queries raised.

Capt. Milind Karkhanis, Sales Director Middle East, KVH Videotel delivered the closing remarks and a vote of thanks. On behalf of the IMarEST UAE branch, Mr. N. Singh (CEng, CMarEng, FIMarEST) presented a token of appreciation to Rob Parkin.

The evening culminated in further networking, in part assisted by an impressive array of contemporary international cuisine served up by the chic Ramada hotel in Dubai’s upscale Jumeirah neighborhood.

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