New Features Added to Revamped XChange
Airbus Defense and Space has added new features to its XChange communications management platform with the release of version 3.1 at SMM 2014. Headlining the new version is a unique system that provides Universal Remote Access to any device connected to on board networks or the IT network itself and new functionality that builds on the recently released BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) solution for XChange.
Universal Remote Access as a new option for XChange provides secure remote access to computers on board a vessel from anywhere. It meets the growing need from ship-owners, communications equipment manufacturers, satcom service providers and maritime service companies to easily access IT networks on board from shore for maintenance and troubleshooting.
“Though it’s already possible to access computers and networked equipment on a ship remotely, our system is the first to provide Universal Remote Access, meaning equipment vendors can provide support for their systems through XChange rather than implementing proprietary systems. This reduces the number of access points on board, which in turn improves security and bandwidth usage for remote access applications,” said Tore Morten Olsen, Head of Maritime Satcoms, Airbus Defense and Space.
XChange Universal Remote Access differs from standard remote access solutions, which are designed for specific terminals or protocols and require their own IP address. The new system is a universal, single tool to control any device onboard. It supports all protocol formats and is completely carrier independent, working on all connectivity types from VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) to Inmarsat FleetBroadband and Iridium OpenPort or even non-satcom connectivity.
In addition XChange version 3.1 includes a new functionality that automates and hence reduces action required for managing and allocating crew credit. XChange’s new user admin and credit management functionality frees the Captain or Master on board from time consuming admin tasks: They just need to configure the monthly amount of data allowance per crew member, which is then renewed automatically – month after month as long as they are on board. The new version also makes it easier for crew to use online connectivity/communications credit – while being on board for the first time. When a new crew member comes on board, they can self-register with one click via the XChange interface. After having registered, they can purchase a PIN voucher at the crew kiosk – and go online, either using a Crew PC in the crew room or their own device in the cabin.
Airbus Defense and Space has so far shipped 1200 XChange systems, with more than 80 shipping companies currently using it. Over 70% of vessels with XChange installed use it for switching between satellite terminals on board with a 50:50 split between VSAT and FleetBroadband services. Over 60% of these vessels use XChange as their main router. XChange is a key component of Airbus Defense and Space’s AuroraGlobal portfolio. Launched in March 2014, AuroraGlobal offers the full capabilities of Airbus Defense and Space’s satellite services and infrastructure, offering flexible solutions based on X-, Ka-, Ku-, C and L-bands.