SMSGlobal Ltd., a provider of personal communications for the global maritime industry, today announced that the number of vessels now equipped with its CrewCommCenter has reached 3,000. CrewCommCenter creates an onboard Internet Café, allowing seafarers to stay in touch with family and friends without interfering with the ship's official business communications.
The milestone is doubly significant as SMSGlobal marks its tenth year in the maritime industry. Today, around the globe, more than 120,000 seafarers use CrewCommCenter to exchange approximately 2,200,000 messages with over 1,300,000 friends and loved ones on-shore each month.
“This milestone is a testament to CrewCommCenter and cements it as the crew communications solution of choice,” said Capt. Ivar Thomasli, Chairman SMSGlobal Ltd. “Much has evolved from the simple two-way e-mail and SMS messaging system we started with ten years ago to where we are today – a full-blown Internet Café facility. The entire SMSGlobal team is proud to reach this milestone and we are excited for the developments ahead.”
For ship owners, the significance of crew retention has been growing rapidly the last decade, so much so that crew welfare is now a key focus on the mind of any shipping operator. This is especially true in this age with quicker port turnaround times – more often less than a day – and longer stretches out at sea – sometimes 30 days straight. Crew access to personal communications and the ability to correspond with their loved ones and friends back home is widely acknowledged as the most crucial of all crew welfare initiatives.
In the past, affordability of personal communications has always been a big challenge. Seafarers typically spend at least $100 per month on personal communications, which for some is already a tidy sum. Privacy and confidentiality of personal communications is also an ongoing concern for seafarers.
CrewCommCenter provides the seafarer convenient, affordable, private communications with their loved ones and friends, enabling them to send and receive e-mails and SMS, read news from home, ship manager announcements, converse through low data Instant Messaging and browse the Internet.
At the same time, CrewCommCenter also addresses the shipowners concerns, including cost and usage controls, ship operations security and IT compromises, support, maintenance and administrative hassles and costly initial investments or capital outlays. It allows operators to set limits for sending and receiving messages, establishes fixed monthly charges for each module ensuring that costs are predictable, and provides security by imposing restrictions on access, enabling content control and allowing owners to create white and blacklists.
“While most shipowners are currently providing their crews personal communications access such as e-mail and SMS messaging, many are still concerned with the challenges providing Internet access,” Thomasli said. “SMSGlobal’s success has been anchored on merging the divergent concerns of both the seafarer and the shipowner. And we are continuing to develop and offer new services to further enhance quality of life at sea, such as web-based, client-free interfaces, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) environments, seafarer-focused social networking portals, native iOS or Android apps, online gaming, VOIP, video chatting and personalized content.”
CrewCommCenter offers simple, industry standard protocols and interfaces for system management. Remote configurations improve ease of maintenance and administration is guaranteed. As CrewCommCenter is a software-based solution, there is no need for costly capital outlays for additional hardware.
Thomasli concluded, “Simply stated, CrewCommCenter is well-equipped to address today’s demands for connectivity at sea. It is a dynamic technology that is highly leveraged to meet the growing demands of the continuously evolving ‘connected’ world.”