se@COMM delivers plug-and-play solution for fully-featured, low cost crew communications
Telaurus Communications, a Globecomm Maritime company, has unveiled a significant enhancement to its crew email solution, combining the functionality of its se@COMM software suite with readily available wireless network components.
Crew communications – particularly SMS and email services – have developed from being an ‘optional extra’ to an essential service for shipowners and managers serious about crew welfare. Evidence from seafarers suggests that communication with loved ones while at sea not only improves morale and the overall productivity, it can make the difference between crew staying with the fleet or signing off.
But while crew communications packages are proliferating, they come with technical challenges. Crew communications must be kept separate from ship’s business and there is a need to put the connectivity where the crew can use it safely – in the mess or other communal areas.
Telaurus has addressed this need by installing a wireless access point on ships equipped with its se@COMM service to deliver true wireless connectivity to seafarers, accessible via their smartphones or laptop PCs.
Malcolm McMaster, VP Globecomm Maritime and President Telaurus Communications, said:
“The use of PCs onboard ships has been rapidly expanding, and this trend will certainly continue, so using a wireless access point for crew connectivity is a great way to expand the reach of se@COMM. A Wi-Fi solution allows crew to access the system at their leisure and in the comfort of their own accommodation. Even where access cannot be given in personal quarters, an access point can easily be provided in the mess.”
The wireless access point allows for multiple computers to be introduced into almost any environment without the need to run extra cable. With the use of an extendable antenna unit the connections can now bridge multiple compartments without sacrificing bulkhead (watertight) integrity and without interfering with ships’ business.
Geoff Davison, Telaurus’ Product Manager – Value Added Services said:
“We have tested wireless connectivity with a commercially available router, and, other than the installation of a configuration file, the set-up is simply a question of unpacking it and plugging the unit into one of the unused ports of the Telaurus provided se@WALL unit. Once the wireless solution is in place, crew can access emails from their smartphones or laptops simply by connecting to the wireless network.”
Telaurus has successfully completed trials of the Wi-Fi service onboard ships equipped with se@COMM and plans on installing Wi-Fi access points for many of its customers in the coming months.
Telaurus Crew Wi-Fi Checklist
* Fully-featured bi-directional, unlimited email service with rich text messages and attachments. Text can include emoticons, coloured and animated text.
* Crew communications are kept completely separate and distinct from ship’s business. Crew do not need access to any Ship’s equipment or computer network.
* No separate software installation requirements – hardware requirement is a compatible plug and play Wi-Fi router.
* No need to supply a separate crew PC if crew have smartphones or laptops.
* Completely administration-free for both shore office and the ship. Crew can set up and top up their own accounts using their own credit cards.
* Crew can send/receive photos using se@IMAGE, if installed, to reduce cost.
* Low cost - crew emails rarely cost more than $0.08 per message so $10 can give a crew member 125 emails – message cc’s are free.
* Crew are not charged Inmarsat minimum volumes and increments. se@COMM’s unique billing formula enables Telaurus to charge the crew a simple, low price per message.
* Crew can also send SMS messages from their own smartphone, laptop or any Wi-Fi enabled device.
* SMS replies are routed directly and automatically back to the originator on their own laptop or smartphone thus by-passing the satellite terminal.
* With delivery gateways in key seafaring countries (including three in the Philippines alone) Telaurus offers very low-cost SMS for friends and family who want to send messages to the ship.
Source: Globecomm Maritime