Inmarsat and Ericsson partner to drive connected ships
The Colombo Express (Image: Wolfgang Meinhart, cc-by-sa-3.0)

Inmarsat and Ericsson have inked a strategic maritime agreement which will see the companies work on developing services and solutions for Internet-connected ships.

In a recent press release, global mobile satellite communications services company Inmarsat and communications provider Ericsson announced the news, saying that the strategic maritime agreement would facilitate the sharing of cargo, logistics and vessel operational data to help streamline the maritime supply chain.

The companies will develop services, solutions and applications to drive industry standards for satellite connectivity and application integration in the maritime industry.

As a first step, Ericsson has signed a distribution contract to offer XpressLink, Inmarsat’s combined L-band and Ku-band VSAT network for the maritime market. XpressLink offers an easy upgrade path to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service, powered by the new Global Xpress constellation, when it becomes available in the coming months. It is intended that the distribution agreement with Ericsson will be extended to Fleet Xpress at that time.

The strategic relationship will also pave the way for integration between Ericsson’s Maritime ICT Cloud and global connectivity delivered over Inmarsat’s satellite communications network, including both Ka and L-band.

Ericsson’s Maritime ICT Cloud is an end-to-end managed cloud solution that connects vessels at sea to shore-based operations including maintenance service providers, customer support centers, fleet/transportation partners, port operations and authorities. Enabled by Inmarsat, the Maritime ICT Cloud will ensure that trucks will spend less idle time at ports, cargo will spend less time in transit, and producers will be better able to plan their shipments.

Ronald Spithout, President Inmarsat Maritime, says: “With Fleet Xpress, the world’s first mobile hybrid Ka/L-band high-speed broadband service, embedded in and enabling world-class solutions from Ericsson, we are re-defining maritime connectivity. This transformational agreement will open up opportunities for vessel operators and managers to capture intelligent data immediately.

“Everyone is talking about ‘Big Data’, but eventually it is the deployment of applications onboard and the end-to-end management of integrated intelligence, that will ultimately change the way the maritime industry operates; making it more efficient, greener and unlocking greater value.”

John Taxgaard, Head of Maritime at Ericsson, says: “Ericsson believes that the Internet of Things has the potential to generate tremendous value for the maritime industry.

“Partnering with the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services is the best means of helping the maritime industry to realize this value. Together with Inmarsat we will jointly develop fully integrated services, solutions and applications, and work toward establishing maritime industry standards for satellite connectivity and application integration.”

Market reports suggest that, by 2020, Internet of Things (“IoT”) in transportation market will be worth around $143.93 billion, with an estimated CAGR of 8.95% during 2014-2020.