What will the impact of 5G be on maritime operations? It’s a question that a panel of experts gathered to address at Riviera’s Maritime Communications Webinar Week. Our very own Andrew Faiola, Head of Mobility, participated on the July 23 panel that looked at the extent that 5G can and will transform the maritime industry and where vessel operators can integrate the benefits.
ST Engineering iDirect is already positioned at the forefront of satellite’s journey into 5G. If you didn’t know already, our VSAT technology enables communications over satellite and our trusted partners deliver connectivity to thousands of vessels all over the world. The introduction of 5G presents a huge opportunity, and we see satellite as a critical part of the 5G ecosystem.
We’re entering a period known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR. This revolution is driving a digital transformation that, in turn, is leading to a number of industry transformations. 4IR is fundamentally advancing communications and connectivity, rather than technologies. The industry is not necessarily just focused on evolving technology but is working to advance connectivity. The push to connect everyone and everything is forcing convergence of all access technologies into a single, unified network framework, delivering exponentially higher levels of bandwidth and connectivity to individuals and businesses around the world. This sets the stage for satellite access networks to achieve full interoperability within the end-to-end network.
On top of this, the satellite industry itself is undergoing its own transformation with Space 2.0 which is responding to demands for increased capacity and better coverage with innovation in GEO but also huge investment in Non-Geostationary Satellite Orbits (NGSO). The characteristics of the MEO and LEO orbits mean that service providers will have additional flexibility and more capacity, leading to more alternatives. Our opportunity is to provide them with a ground segment solution which can leverage all of these new orbits as well as and allow customers to leverage the technology seamlessly in their networks. Satellite must function as an integrated part of the “network of networks” to leverage new use cases and become a component of the unified access layer.
So, what does all of this mean for the maritime sector?
The move towards 5G and satellite’s integration into the overall ecosystem will bring enormous and wide-ranging benefits for maritime users. Satellite’s geographical coverage is unrivaled and therefore is an essential enabler of connectivity at sea. It will work in tandem with other access technologies such as cellular and Wi-Fi to provide the ideal connectivity medium when it is required. The benefits of this seamless dance between the best connectivity solution available at the time, will mean that vessel operators, crews and passengers will have access to constant connectivity and benefit from improved operational efficiency, communications, monitoring, reduced costs and an improved overall connected experience at sea.
Hear from Andrew, along with his fellow panelists, Paul Jarkiewicz, Operations Director, P&O Maritime Logistics and Gerrit Jan Konijnenberg, Strategic Development, Vodafone Roaming Services on this hot topic.
The webinar is available to view on-demand.