[SatNews] The data includes forecasts with wind, wave, visibility, and currents with tidal stream data, and will be updated up to four times per day to help ships optimize voyage planning and safety.
KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) announced today that Applied Weather Technology, Inc., (AWT) has become the WEATHERlink launch partner for KVH’s IP-MobileCast content delivery service. KVH will use IP-MobileCast, a breakthrough service utilizing multicasting technology, to deliver AWT’s high-resolution weather and ocean data to ships at sea for a low fixed monthly fee. AWT is a marine industry leader in weather forecasting and ship routing. The AWT data, which includes forecasts with wind, wave, visibility, and currents with tidal stream data, will be updated up to four times per day to help ships optimize voyage planning and safety.
The IP-MobileCast service will support AWT’s recent new release, BonVoyage System 7 (BVS 7), a powerful onboard voyage optimization system. With more than 5,000 ships already under contract, AWT is the voyage optimization software market leader. KVH’s content delivery service will also provide AWT’s frequent, detailed port vicinity forecasts as well as pirate attack information and rogue wave forecasts.
“Voyage planning and optimization are of paramount importance for mariners’ safety and also to meet new MARPOL regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions from ships,” says Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH chief executive officer. “Due to these new regulations, shipping companies are facing new challenges, both with requirements to travel at slower speeds to reduce emissions, and with requirements for use of high-cost bunker in many coastal regions. AWT’s weather data and voyage planning services affordably delivered with IP-MobileCast will be of great value to help ship officers optimize their voyage plans.”
The WEATHERlink content delivery is scheduled to begin beta testing this month and to be commercially available by September. All installed KVH TracPhone V-IP series satellite communications systems will support this new content after a free over-the-air software upgrade. The IP-MobileCast service has been live since May, delivering a wide range of news and entertainment content, such as daily digital newspapers, television news, sports updates, music, new-release blockbuster movies, and TV shows and series, via KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network.
“IP-MobileCast’s WEATHERlink gives our customers the autonomy to make informed decisions at sea, to optimize passage planning, and to take the ship’s current operating factors into consideration,” says Richard Brown, AWT vice president for products and services. “We’re enabling BVS 7 to automatically open incoming weather data files in the background so that they’re ready to go and the user can get to work immediately. Not only will we use IP-MobileCast to deliver wind, sea state, and currents with tidal stream data, we’ll also use it for future BVS software versions.”
The IP-MobileCast service utilizes multicasting technology to deliver large amounts of content to many ships at once, overcoming the prohibitively high satellite communications costs typically charged to deliver files for individual use. The new service (patent pending) is notable for technological advancements that enable the content to be delivered over the top of KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network, while also ensuring that the multicasting transmission does not affect the vessel’s mini-VSAT Broadband onboard data speed.
KVH’s strategy for adding more operations content for IP-MobileCast delivery is to establish partnerships with leading applications providers in the maritime industry. Other types of operations content that are planned for IP-MobileCast delivery include weekly electronic chart database updates from Jeppesen, KVH’s CHARTlink launch collaborator.
“AWT is staffed by former ship officers, meteorologists working 24/7, and software developers codifying their knowledge into optimizers that handle real-world complications such as emission control areas and traffic separation schemes,” says Robert Hopkins, Jr., KVH director of IP-MobileCast services. “They’re an incubator for developing new ways to improve fuel efficiency, which is the most important operational problem facing ship owners today.”