....its crew Wi-Fi service on 40 ships in the Schulte fleet. The contract will see Globecomm install wireless data communications systems on ships managed by Schulte’s in-house technical manager Ocean Shipmanagement. Globecomm launched its Crew Wi-Fi service 2011 to provide a cost effective and low maintenance means of providing email and SMS access to crews via their own personal laptops and smartphones. Globecomm had previously provided its conventional crew email service to Thomas Schulte on five ships through a third party provider. The service was very popular among the crew for its flexibility and the ability to connect with shore at predictable cost.
In summer 2011, a trial of the Crew Wi-Fi system was held on three Thomas Schulte ships. Following the success of the trial – during which more than 500 messages and voice calls were exchanged per ship per month – Ocean Shipmanagement decided to outfit all its managed fleet with the Wi-Fi solution. To power the crew calling service, airtime provider Iridium will install its OpenPort system and provide two hardwired phone lines in the crew and officers mess and one commercial wireless phone for the master which allows him to remain in contact whether he is on the bridge or the ship’s office.
Globecomm Maritime is in the process of rolling out more than 100 Crew Wi-Fi installations to German-controlled vessels. The installation for Reederei Thomas Schulte routes bandwidth from an Iridium OpenPort terminal to the se@COMM terminal and broadcasts a signal via wireless repeaters to the crew and officer mess rooms. The wireless access point allows for the connection of multiple computers without the need to run extra cable. With the use of an extendable antenna unit the connections can bridge multiple decks and compartments without sacrificing bulkhead (watertight) integrity.
Globecomm Crew Wi-Fi Checklist
- Fully-featured bi-directional, unlimited email service with rich text messages and attachments Text can include emoticons, coloured and animated text
- Crew communications are kept completely separate and distinct from ship’s business Crew do not need access to any ship’s equipment or computer network
- No separate software installation requirements – hardware requirement is a compatible plug and play Wi-Fi router
- Completely administration-free for both shore office and the ship Crew can set up and top up their own accounts using their own credit cards
- Crew can send/receive photos using se@IMAGE, if installed, to reduce cost
- Low cost - crew emails rarely cost more than $0 08 per message so $10 can give a crew member 125 emails – message cc's are free
- Crew are not charged Inmarsat minimum volumes and increments
- se@COMM's unique billing formula enables Telaurus to charge the crew a simple, low price per message
- Crew can also send SMS messages from their own smartphone, laptop or any Wi-Fi enabled device
- SMS replies are routed directly and automatically back to the originator on their own laptop or smartphone thus by-passing the satellite terminal
- With delivery gateways in key seafaring countries (including three in the Philippines alone) Globecomm offers very low-cost SMS for friends and family who want to send messages to the ship