KVH Industries, the mobile technology innovator and connectivity provider, has announced that it is introducing KVH Elite, an unlimited VSAT streaming service that delivers HD-quality, dedicated bandwidth to superyachts in selected geographic regions. The new KVH Elite service will launch in November 2019 from Florida through the Caribbean, including the islands of the eastern Caribbean, with the Mediterranean expected to follow in 2020.

“The yachting market, particularly at the highest level, is seeing an incredible demand for VSAT connectivity,” says Mark Woodhead, KVH’s executive vice president for mobile connectivity. “When you are on a yacht, you expect to be able to stream movies and other entertainment content just like you do at home. Our new KVH Elite unlimited streaming service is one more example of how KVH’s premium VSAT connectivity can enhance the yachting experience.”

KVH Elite enables users onboard to use their various applications for streaming video, music and more on an unlimited basis, in that there are no overages or data limits. The streaming service uses KVH’s VSAT antenna systems – the 60cm diameter TracPhone V7, HTS and the one metre diameter TracPhone V11-HTS – and is designed for ease of use, with over-the-air activation that doesn’t require any hardware changes to the antenna system of its below-deck control unit. Superyachts currently using the V7-HTS or V11-HTS are KVH Elite-ready. KVH Elite relies on KVH’s mini-VAST Broadband HTS network, which utilises Intelsat’s FlexMaritime service to deliver global multi-layered satellite coverage.

KVH’s Elite service taps into two key contemporary superyacht phenomena, namely the increasing desire of owners and charter guests to be adventurous and the increasing demand for connectivity services on board. On the face of it one might be forgiven for thinking that these two phenomena are at odds with each other, given that the desire for adventure suggests a break away from the trappings of the modern world and the requirement for streaming services suggests a diminished connection with the natural environment. Nevertheless, there is still an expectation that wherever a superyacht may be that seamless streaming remains an option. While KHV Elite is initially only being rolled out in the US/Caribbean and the Mediterranean, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

However, more often than not, superyachts are catering for a variety of age groups and interests on each and every cruise, not to mention the fact that adventure is by no means omnipresent at this point in the superyacht market’s evolution, with the vast majority of superyachts still preferring to stick to the oft frequented Mediterranean and Caribbean hubs.

According to the Inmarsat Connectivity Report – produced by The Superyacht Agency in 2018 – TVIP/content streaming was found to be the fifth most demanding use of satcomms on board superyachts. One captain commented: “Although content streaming is listed in fifth place, I can tell you that often customers will come on board and sped two weeks with a screen in front of them watching Netflix or social media, even if they’re surrounded with the most impressive locations and surrounding.”

On day three of The Superyacht Forum 2019, in association with METSTRADE, during the ‘Space/Satellites and Smokescreens’ workshop delegates will explore how the data demands of today’s superyachts, crew and owners is growing annually and the need for high speed connectivity is greater than ever. The workshop is designed to cut through the white noise and explore what the future of data really looks like and what you can expect in years to come.

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