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Satnews Daily
October 17th, 2016

A VoIP Comms Bridge At Sea

At sea, comms bandwidth that is provided via 2G/EDGE or narrowband satellite is drastically squeezed, due to the nature of VoIP apps.

To offset this challenge, Skybridge, a maritime mobile network provider, has debuted their VoiSea, an advanced VoIP app that allows users to access free voice and HD video calls as well as other messages at sea as well as other remote locations, all the while maintaining minimal bandwidth consumption.

Existing messaging apps have been designed with land users in mind, where fast 4G cellular networks are readily available. However, at sea, vessel IT managers are often faced with no choice but to disallow the use of certain apps due to the sheer amount of bandwidth they consume. VoiSea gives users the option to switch to a low-bandwidth version which reduces consumption to as low as 8 kbps, yet still enables the user to communicate through fast messages and calls.  This innovative option is especially useful for users on board ferries, cruise liners, ships and also aircraft, where bandwidth constraints exist.

VoiSea also offers great flexibility. Should a user wish to call a number not supported by the app, they may purchase credit directly through the App Store or Google Play and can take advantage of the lowest calling rates in the industry. This eliminates the administrative burden upon IT managers and shipowners as there is no requirement to handle SIM cards for mobile phones, no activation codes for top-ups or to provide prepaid cards or vouchers for sale on board. In addition, VoiSea may also be used as a means of internal ship communications, reducing the need for traditional DECT phones.

Crew members will also benefit greatly from VoiSea as it offers a low-cost alternative to roaming services. Should the Wi-Fi service on board become congested, they may simply use their low bandwidth messaging application. If the crew member leaves to work on another vessel, they simply take their account with them. VoiSea also offers additional significant advantages, including extension of phone battery life as the app is very light on resources; fast photo and location sharing; highest level of security and privacy; free incoming calls whilst abroad and VoiSea callback for use when there is almost no Internet connection.

According to Constantin Simeonidis, the President and CEO Skybridge, VoiSea was developed for maritime users and has taken into consideration the specific challenges that ship owners face when dealing with restricted bandwidth on board. This new app completes the firm's core maritime cellular service offering. Given the massive rise in data demand, VoiSea will bridge the considerable gap that exists in cellular coverage today.