25 September 2016

13 May 2014

MTN's 'Maestro' - music to owners' ears


MTN Yacht Services has unveiled its new platform for on board connectivity, Maestro. Named thus, according to MD Derik Wagner because a maestro represents “the ultimate in performance”. Maestro is identified as an, ‘Integrated end-to-end communications, content and IT solution delivered as a managed service to optimise bandwidth upwards of 40 per cent, significantly improving operational efficiencies, network performance and the end user experience.’

In an exclusive interview with SuperyachtNews.com ahead of Maestro’s launch, Wagner said that Maestro’s development was triggered by a combination of two factors. Firstly, the three parties – owner and guests, captains and ETOs, and charter and management companies – that connectivity affects directly are demanding more from their service providers; they expect the very best. And secondly, a need to educate the end users has become more pronounced in recent times.

On this latter point, “there has been a huge increase in demand for communications”, Wagner explained. “The price of bandwidth per megabyte is going down, but nowhere near as fast as the demand for data is going up”. In order to balance this he said, maritime VSAT continues to rise in price, and this is why it is so important to optimise the service provision.

In tests conducted on board a 78m superyacht Maestro was able to reduce the amount of data being consumed over a given period of time by 40 per cent. According to Wagner the testing proved that “a lot of the challenges were on board.” “Customers needed help with on board optimisation”, he said.

This help comes in the form of a single, central interface that facilitates the management of multiple LAN connections. The obvious benefit of this, Wagner adds, is that all connections and systems are being projected live so that the parameters for the vessel’s data usage can be managed in real-time, according to metrics such as user identity or requirements for specific locations.

The Maestro hardware proposition is also focused on another age-old problem – on board space. As space “is a very limited commodity” the Maestro server offer a smaller hardware footprint because it offers full redundancy and the option for other service providers to incorporate their own on board applications. The system is also fully scalable to meet increasing demand as the size of the vessel, and the number of guests, rises.

MTN’s turnkey solution begins with a full lifestyle interview, whereby the team garner an understanding for precisely what the bandwidth demands will be. Wagner says that historically budgets have been set arbitrarily and then the client has shopped around for the best deal. This is the wrong way round he says; the demands of the vessel need to be identified and then the appropriate package can be assembled.

Once this is done a site survey and technical interchange is conducted on board to identify what technology needs to be implemented in order to meet these demands. This is then supported by an annual optimisation service that ensures the yacht continues to be able to meet connectivity requirements. And of course, MTN provides full after-sales support around the clock.

“The beauty of Maestro is that we will be able to serve all of our clients through one optimised platform”, Wagner concludes. “Because of this optimisation – both internal costs and the final level of service - it pays for itself. We really expect it to take off.”

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