Digitalization for Small Vessels Made Simple and Accessible with MarineStar E-Lite
Availability of an onboard voice service has become as essential as having life-jackets or a first aid kit. And, as digitalisation spreads across the shipping industry, having access to email services is gaining equal importance in order to receive navigation updates, port notifications and operational instructions.
Now both these vital services – voice and data – are available over one compact antenna with minimal bandwidth requirements, thanks to a partnership development from IEC Telecom and GTMaritime.
MarineStar E-Lite provides voice and data connectivity in a package optimised for smaller vessels. Voice services are delivered over Thuraya’s Marine Star terminal, while email provision comes via IEC Telecom’s OneMailLite application, powered by GTMaritime. This dedicated connectivity solution is equipped with a fleetwide shore-side dashboard, allowing full visibility over performance, threat management and enabling remote changes to system configurations and real-time management of consumption limits. In addition, all files being transferred are compressed up to 95%, saving on airtime costs.
“MarineStar E-Lite is the most affordable solution designed particularly for small vessels. There’s no more need for long-term commitments or heavy airtime plans and no hidden costs either. This package is geared to cover the basic communication requirements and it does it well,” said Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East & CIS at IEC Telecom Group.
By default, MarineStar offers two lines to separate corporate communication and crew welfare. By including an email app, this voice terminal can now serve as a comprehensive communication solution for small and mid-sized vessels as well as a resilient back-up solution for large VSAT-equipped vessels.
“Cargo vessels, tankers and bulk carriers are well prepared to support the rising demand for digitalization for Small Vessels. With VSAT on board, crews have an almost GSM user experience. However, a lot of our customers, especially in Asia and MENA regions, own mid and small-sized vessels that have no room or budget for such a set up. During the pandemic the need for connectivity has become more apparent, particularly for the fishing industry and for offshore support vessels,” explained Mr. Ben Soussia. “The impact of travel restrictions, port closures and other Covid-19 operating requirements meant that the precise coordination of their work became more important than ever, particularly considering the need to decrease crew capacity to ensure social distancing. With reliable e-mail service on board, such precision became achievable”.
Vessel operators need reliability and OneMailLite ensures email is successfully delivered, even if the vessel passes through the area with no signal. The app continues to work offline and automatically resumes data transfer from point of interruption.
This precision also proves its worth in the leisure sector which has experienced an increase in bookings as people use yachts as a safe haven to work or holiday. Reliable voice and data services on board allow vessel owners to remain reachable at all times as well as ensuring improved safety for the crew and guests.
With cyber security an essential consideration, particularly following the implementation of the IMO’s cyber guidelines. The OneMailLite application has been developed in accordance with latest data protection regulations and includes robust security features.
“Attention to cyber security is one of the core principles behind the GTMaritime technology. OneMailLite is end-to-end encrypted. The app is equipped with multiple virus scanners and spam filters to ensure the mail received is safe and relevant. This approach boosts cyber security and helps vessel owners to comply with latest data protection legislation,” outlined Kirstie Williams, Head of Sales from GTMaritime.
“We’ve been working with the IEC Telecom team over the past few months to incorporate our software into their product portfolio to ensure that all vessels, no matter the size, can have a cyber secure and stable maritime optimized solution. We are confident that this partnership will meet the demanding requirements for all IEC customers and their digitalization for small vessels.”