Leading maritime companies are taking serious steps today to develop and implement a digital strategy, with the goals of greater productivity, reduced downtime and better service to customers.  Digital is about hardware and software, of course – but it is equally about connectivity.  Without it, all the technology in the world is useless in an industry that is constantly on the move.

Five Topics to Discuss with Your Vendor

To ensure you have the connectivity you need to carry out your digital strategy, what questions should you ask the companies vying to provide your connectivity?  These are my suggestions.

Is my connectivity future-proof?

The first question is to what extent the provider can future-proof your connectivity. The most important factor in creating a digital strategy is having a clear understanding of business goals.

This starts with a conversation that demonstrates where customers are on their digital journey and where they want to be.  Connectivity options keep evolving, and that needs to factor into the discussion as well.  Value is the first question when it comes to supporting your strategy; the vital question of price comes later.

Is my connectivity seamless?

Owners need confidence that connectivity will be seamless.  As ships travel from port to near-shore to blue water and back again, they sail in and out of range of cellular, L-band satellite, VSAT.  Each has its own price point and performance suitable to different applications. Vessels need to transition between them automatically and intelligently, taking advantage of the best price-performance available at the time. 

How will you control and manage access aboard ship?

With a digital strategy comes a growing range of applications at sea: voice and internet, news and entertainment, chart updates, operations support and real-time systems monitoring.  Each tends to drive demand for more data.  Your vendor should offer an intelligent network and data management platform that provides control of onboard networks while offering tools that both reduce operating costs and keep crews happy.

How will you implement your technology?

Connectivity is about more than cellular and satellite capacity. It is about boots on the deck and skilled specification, procurement, integration and installation of shipboard systems.  You need a knowledgeable team of experts, backed by global 24/7 support, and a company that actively tests new technologies before recommending them for use.

How will you keep my network secure?

The downside of reliance on digital is the exposure it brings to cyberthreats.  Your vendor should provide cybersecurity as a service: proactive cybersecurity that quickly and dynamically responds to the ever-changing threat profile, with next-generation firewalls and remote monitoring and response.

Powering Big Gains

As the demands you place on connectivity grow, it becomes a key determiner of the success of your digital transformation program. That success begins with a full understanding of where you are going and what matters most to your future.  Technology is a tool that can power big gains in cost, productivity and profitability – but only if all the pieces are in place to deliver value.


Read more about these topics by downloading the full whitepaper, Five Questions Every Shipowner Should Ask Their Maritime Connectivity Provider.