6 Best Practices to Implementing a New SATCOM Solution

Commercial vessels worldwide benefit from improved broadband connectivity.
Commercial vessels worldwide benefit from improved broadband connectivity.

Developing a strong partnership between a commercial maritime operation and its SATCOM provider is the key to fielding a new system for satellite Internet at sea, according to information presented in “Best Practices for Implementing a Maritime SATCOM Solution,” the final segment of KVH’s SATCOM 101 Webinar Series.

“From the initial discussions about exactly what system the customer needs to the final installation and rollout of the system on the vessels, the most important factor for success is a strong partnership,” says Jim Dodez, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning at KVH. “A custom communications system may take longer to specify, purchase, and install due to the additional development time, but it saves money and aggravation in the long run.”

KVH’s experience in fielding nearly 3,000 TracPhone satellite communications systems with its mini-VSAT Broadband service and its history of partnering with leading maritime organizations to roll out successful SATCOM implementations of diverse size and scope provided the basis for the information in the webinar series.

The benefits of improved broadband connectivity at sea include a boost in profitability as the commercial operation takes advantage of efficiencies related to remote diagnostics, crew morale, and faster chart and software updates.

Six best practices to successfully fielding a new maritime SATCOM system:
1) Discuss Requirements
: At this stage, the SACTOM provider and commercial operation thoroughly explore the present and future SATCOM needs that must be addressed in the system.

2) Decide Initial Configuration and Design
: With an understanding of what the operation needs, the SATCOM provider begins designing the system to address all  hardware, network, and IT requirements.

3) Validate the System Design
: Any amount of preconfiguration that the SATCOM provider can do at this stage helps to streamline the system design process.

container ship
Many types of vessels are upgrading their SATCOM systems.

4) Test the System on a Pilot Vessel & Make Modifications
: A good partnership between the SATCOM provider and the commercial operation is crucial during the testing phase. Real-world testing on several vessels that represent the fleet will provide invaluable information to perfect the system design; typical pilots last 30-60 days.

5) Create Final Documentation
: With the lessons learned from the pilot process, the SATCOM provider prepares final documents that include all the supporting material for installing and operating the SATCOM system.

6) Conduct System Rollout on all Vessels
: Key point people from the SATCOM provider and the commercial operation set the schedule and manage the implementation of the system on all the vessels of the fleet.

Included in the webinar were insights from two leading commercial operations, Vroon and V.Ships, about recent successful implementations of KVH SATCOM systems. Vroon has a diversified fleet of approximately 150 vessels, and V.Ships manages a fleet of more than 1,000 vessels with variable owner and crew requirements.

For more information about ensuring a successful implementation, and about other topics covered in all three webinars of the SATCOM 101 series, register to download the presentations.

About Jill Connors 94 Articles
In orbit as Media Relations Manager for KVH Industries, Inc.