Singapore, 28 April 2008 - Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) announced today the official launch of the OFFICE-AT-SEA suite of satellite solutions to enable vessels to communicate seamlessly and cost-effectively with their headquarters on land.
Solutions include ‘always-on’ unlimited broadband Internet access, email, low-cost Voice over IP (VoIP) calls, GSM onboard and ship surveillance. (See Annex A for a description of all OFFICE-AT-SEA solutions.)
Mr Bill Chang, Singtel’s Executive Vice President of Business, said: “Maritime communication in the past was limited to low-speed, narrowband connectivity, which meant vessels were essentially cut-off from the rest of the world if not for voice, fax and telex. These were also costly, as they were charged on a pay-as-you-use basis.
“OFFICE-AT-SEA solutions overcome these limitations to allow the ship to become a seamless extension of the shore-based office. Maritime customers can now extend their office applications such as corporate email and Intranet as well as Internet access and voice communications to their employees at sea easily and in a secure manner.”
According to the 2007/8 Seafarer Attraction and Retention Survey conducted by Shiptalk Recruitment Ltd and Gilmour Research, crew welfare is critical today to attract and retain talents in the maritime sector. This is especially true for the next generation of seafarers who are better educated and technology-savvy.
A total of 71 percent of seafarers polled indicated that Internet access was the most important facility to have onboard, followed by telephone and email access.
“Our solutions create better lives for seafarers by allowing them to stay in touch with their loved ones while at sea, providing them the same quality of user experience that they enjoy at home,” added Mr Chang.
“With the launch of OFFICE-AT-SEA, Singtel is excited to play an important role in improving the productivity of maritime companies and enhancing their competitive edge. In addition, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to accelerate research and innovation in the industry. As Asia’s leading satellite service provider with seamless coverage over all major shipping routes worldwide, Singtel is the perfect partner for charting new oceans of opportunity.”
Singtel’s suite of OFFICE-AT-SEA services can be viewed at the innovation hub located at the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA).
Summary of Singtel OFFICE-AT-SEA solutions:
OFFICE-AT-SEA offers ‘always-on’ unlimited broadband Internet access up to Mbps speed. This allows seafarers to surf the Internet and access web-based applications.
Economical Voice Calling
Economical Voice-over-IP provides the capability for voice communication over the Internet to other VoIP users or to any GSM mobile phone users or fixed line telephone users. This provides shipping companies with substantial cost savings, as it is an alternative to traditional pay-as-you-use services.
Singtel has also introduced a prepaid card service for use on ships. Calls can be made from specially built onboard telephone kiosks. This service relieves shipping companies of the need to manage the call usage of crew members.
Radio over Satellite
Radio over Satellite provides push-to-talk ‘walkie-talkie’ communications. By enabling connectivity to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), this application will allow mobile workers on large offshore complexes, such as oil rigs, to keep in constant communication with supervisors on land when conducting surveillance or quality control jobs.
GSM at sea
This allows seafarers to stay in touch with others on land or at sea via personal GSM mobile phones. The solution enables cell phone coverage through the installation of ship-borne mobile base stations which link vessels with public networks via the satellite.
Singtel’s OFFICE-AT-SEA e-Surveillance solution is an IP-based maritime surveillance solution that allows shipping companies to remotely monitoring their vessels’ operations from land via the Internet or 3G-enabled mobile phones.
Shipping companies will have peace of mind as the service improves inventory tracking and onboard monitoring. It is invaluable in times of emergency.
This solution allows seafarers to communicate with offices on land through telephone extension numbers. Telephones on the ship become a seamless part of the office terrestrial voice network.