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Ericsson and Inmarsat to help global fleets to run a tighter ship

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Satellite comms providers Inmarsat and equipment maker Ericsson have signed a maritime agreement to jointly develop services to streamline maritime supply chains.

Ericsson has signed a distribution contract to offer XpressLink, Inmarsat’s combined L-band and Ku-band VSAT network for the maritime market. This initial service will be upgradeable to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service, which will be powered by the satellite provider’s new Global Xpress constellation, when the service becomes available.

The partnership will also involve the integration of Ericsson’s Maritime ICT Cloud with Inmarsat’s satellite comms network, including both its Ka and L-band.

The Maritime ICT Cloud connects vessels at sea to shore-based operations across the globe. The goal is to harmonise the work and flow of information between maintenance service providers, customer support centres, fleet and transport partners, port operations and authorities. By extending its reach through the use of Inmarsat’s services, the Maritime ICT Cloud can ensure that trucks waste less time idling at ports, cargo transit times are shortened and that producers can plan shipments more efficiently.

According to Ericsson, a pilot contract with shipping company U-Ming Marine will demonstrate the efficiencies available by cutting wastage in the transport of U-Ming’s cement, dry commodities and industrial raw materials cargoes. Ericsson will provide U-Ming Marine with end to end connected vessel and voyage optimisation systems with Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity.

Fleet Xpress will be the world’s first mobile hybrid Ka/L-band high-speed broadband service, according to Inmarsat Maritime President Ronald Spithout. “We are re-defining maritime connectivity. This will open up opportunities for vessel operators and managers to capture intelligent data immediately,” said Spithout.

Forget big data, in the maritime industry the IoT will be about applications onboard and end-to-end intelligence, he said. “It can change the way the whole industry operates, making it more efficient, greener and unlocking greater value,” said Spithout.

“The Internet of Things can generate tremendous value for the maritime industry,” said John Taxgaard, Head of Maritime at Ericsson, “partnering with top satellite service is the best means of helping.”

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