Astrium Services released an update for its SkyFile Mail software, which provides more user flexibility and cost reductions on regular maintenance in addition to offering more possibilities to “Bring Your Own Device” on board. The new monthly update of SkyFile Mail Anti Virus improves security and features a new automatic notification that prompts the Master to update the Anti Virus software over the air.
User flexibility is improved with SkyFile Mail v8.25 through enhanced I4 device control, which with the addition of JRC and Furuno, is now available for all types of FleetBroadband terminal. This feature allows users to start the FleetBroadband connection and dial in directly from SkyFile Mail, so there is no need to keep the IP session open continuously, which reduces the risk of costly unwanted data usage. I4 device control also offers an SMS notification feature with keyword definition, which initiates automatic dial in. This allows the Master and officers to receive important/urgent messages promptly, without waiting for the next manually activated dial in.
A cost-saving feature of the upgrade is the SkyFile Mail Anti Virus monthly updating, which negates the need for quarterly manual updates that previously required someone to visit the vessel and update the system using solid media every three months. Incremental updates can now be done over the air on receipt of the automatic notification, which, whilst using bandwidth, is far more cost effective than asking the IT manager to come on board and manually update the Anti Virus four times a year.
Also aimed at reducing costs is a new feature that provides greater control of the satellite services SkyFile Mail uses for connectivity. The Master can now set up three different types of connection, for instance FleetBroadband as primary, and Fleet77 and Iridium OpenPort as back-ups. If for a technical reason, the Master has to switch to a back-up solution, SkyFile will alert them that it is not using the primary connection. This new functionality is useful as back-up services are often more costly per MB than primary services, so by knowing exactly what connection the vessel’s email system is using, the Master can avoid unplanned data costs.
Finally, with the growing requirement for seafarers to use their own devices on board, the new version of SkyFile Mail has introduced tablet and smartphone compatibility. Crew and officers can now send and receive email using their SkyFile account over the vessel’s Wi-Fi network, providing much more flexibility for personal and operational communication.