At an event held in Beaufort House, London, during London International Shipping Week 2015, attended an exclusive preview of KVH’s new Mini VSAT Broadband 2.0 turnkey communications and entertainment system. In an interesting presentation delivered to a full room of maritime managers and journalists, various KVH representatives explained the new offering and the benefits it will afford owners and operators.
“There needs to be a change in how we think about connectivity and content delivery,” began Mobile Broadband’s executive vice president, Brent Bruun. “KVH’s Mini VSAT Broadband 2.0 network is the only complete satellite communications system that helps maritime enterprises meet their complex operational requirements while providing affordable communications and engaging content.” The problem, for which KVH’s solution is necessary, is the expectations of a younger, Internet-weaned generation of crew.

“It’s a digital world,” continued Mike Mitsock, vice president of marketing at KVH. “Younger people expect the internet to be like air,” unwavering and ever-present. Much has been said of crew Internet usage, bandwidth is frequently wasted on the uneconomical, non-mission-critical application of broadband technology. The desire and means to stream media content and contact the mainland in today’s youthful crew is all too strong, however, KVH’s IP-Mobilecast multicasting solution has the ability to go some some way towards deterring extraneous broadband usage.

“With IP-Mobilecast we solve the bandwidth problem by delivering popular, licensed entertainment content via multicasting that doesn’t affect the vessel’s data plan,” explained Nigel Cleave, CEO of KVH’s recently acquired Videotel maritime e-learning service.
KVH provides Newslink, delivering over 1,000,000 digital papers a month in 22 different languages and the daily television newscasts in 13 languages. Sportslink provides sporting events, Movielink  - Hollywood and new movies, TVlink - entire seasons of popular shows and Musiclink - 1000’s of tracks.
IP-Mobilecast also provides updated charts, weather forecasts, voyage optimisation, training, safety legislation and operational practices. Removing the necessity of streaming or individual downloads frees up enormous amounts of bandwidth for operations and communications. Multicasting is able to eliminate around 50 per cent of on board data usage by shifting the standard browsing model over to a more advanced service.

With the Mini VSAT Broadband 2.0 system, “We make the hardware, we provide the network management software…we license the content…and deliver it in a very affordable way, via IP-Mobile Cast,” Mitsock continued. Much of what KVH explained was not entirely new; the network, the hardware and the ability to multicast have been around for some time.
The key features of KVH’s improved offering are new rate plans, a new management platform called My KVH, KVH Onecare year round assistance and the amalgamation of the new and the old. It is this amalgamation that gave birth to the 2.0 mantra, ‘The power of one’.
The launch of the system will bring with it a number of improved rate plans. “The downlink speeds on these new plans are as fast as four megabytes per second, which is new to the industry and compared to some of the earlier rate plans it can be 40 per cent less expensive at a 50 per cent higher speed,” said Mitsock.

“[My KVH] allows us to assign [bandwidth] allotments to crewmembers or classes of crew and then receive alerts if those crew get close to the limits we have set,” he added. When crew near their limits the captain or an alternate operations manager will receive an email or an SMS alert; they are then able to respond accordingly.
“Finally, what’s new in terms of services and support is a new programme that we are calling KVH Onecare. Pre-deployment and pre sale, we begin working with customers to design the network and the application and then we take responsibility for deploying the solution,” concluded Mitsock. KVH will go on board the vessel with the equipment, fit the technology and make sure everything works landside and vessel side – and now KVH will be on hand to offer 24/7, 365 support and maintenance once the sale is completed.
Once the presentation finished delegates were invited to trial the IP-Mobilecast software on tablets dotted around the room. The user interface was intuitive, the range and quality of content was impressive and delegates appeared quite taken by the offering.

If you have enjoyed reading this article, you’ll love our upcoming event, The Superyacht Design Forum, taking place on 25 - 26 June 2019 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The Superyacht Design Forum provides anyone in the superyacht design world with a unique opportunity to explore new thinking and share smarter solutions for the future of superyachts. To find out more or to register, click here.