Before MTN was acquired by EMC Connected, it was already well known as a provider of satellite communication services to the yachting sector. EMC Connected on the other hand had an extremely cost effective land-based communications business that it hoped to amalgamate with MTN. However, in reality the synergies that the two businesses were hoping to achieve were just unattainable given the differences in the markets that each company operated within. SuperyachtNews speaks with Ole-Kristian Siversten, senior vice-president of maritime at Global Eagle, about the changes that have been implemented at MTN, now called Priva, since the company was purchased by Global Eagle, and ascertain how these changes will benefit Priva’s superyacht customer base.
“As EMC Connected acquired MTN they looked towards making sense of the acquisition and introducing the magic word ‘synergies’ into the equation. However, as with most cases the two companies never managed to completely integrate and this is why 80 per cent of all acquisitions never deliver the values that were initially promised to the shareholders,” explains Siversten. “Chief among the reasons for the failure was that the EMC Connected model really didn’t translate into yachting, the two markets speak completely different languages and to succeed in the superyacht market businesses need to be able to relate to their customers.”
To understand the kind of pressure that electro-technical officers (ETOs) and various other crew members find themselves under requires a certain amount of knowledge of the superyacht industry. Presumptions from the public or businesses that don’t work within the yachting market assume that working on board a superyacht is all sunshine and rainbows. However, while payments are substantial, what these entities do not appreciate is that falling under the auspices of some of the world’s most powerful and discerning individuals is as daunting as it is rewarding.
“This whole idea formed an integral part of the rebranding from MTN to Priva by Global Eagle. What we learnt very quickly was that in order to really support and grow this market, we needed to have a boutique style company within the larger business context,” continues Siversten. “The vision and the mission statement – Enrich Time – has been built around this ideal. It comes from looking at the clients; they own the vessels 365 days a year and spend maybe 3 weeks on board in total. But crucially, every second of the time they spend on board must be perfect. We know that every nanosecond matters for an ETO, if the internet is not working and the owner is coming, you need to have direct access to the best person in the industry in order to make sure your back is covered.”
Siversten explains that Priva has now tripled the size of superyacht support team with individuals that have been handpicked and trained to understand the nuances of the yachting market. He highlights that these individuals are obviously technically adept, but also jokes that they are as much psychologists as they are technicians in some instances.
“From a technical perspective, as a satellite communications provider, you would expect us to say that the answer to the communications problem is to buy more bandwidth and spend more money with us,” continues Siversten. “However, we are actually focussing on solutions that make you need less bandwidth, also known as Application Performance Enhancement Technology (APET). The beast of the internet is not the internet itself, it is the multitudes of different applications that all behave in different ways, all of which have a different impact on how you experience that service.”
According to Priva, APET has the ability to improve the quality of the satellite communications service by up to 40 per cent by identifying all traffic (regardless of encryption) and sets priority for upload and download while providing the framework for tiered services. In essence, APET allows the user to prioritise certain applications, such as business critical SaaS applications or owners that are particularly important for enriching the owners time on board, by using a multi-lane system for traffic as opposed to archaic systems that use a single lane and result in bottlenecks.