Satellite services provider Inmarsat and Ericsson have signed a strategic maritime agreement intended to facilitate the sharing of cargo, logistics and vessel operational data to help streamline the maritime supply chain.
The two companies will jointly develop services, solutions and applications to drive industry standards for satellite connectivity and application integration in the maritime industry.
As a first step, Ericsson has signed a distribution contract to offer XpressLink, Inmarsat's combined L-band and Ku-band VSAT network for the maritime market. XpressLink offers an easy upgrade path to Inmarsat's Fleet Xpress service, powered by the new Global Xpress constellation, when it becomes available in the coming months. It is intended that the distribution agreement with Ericsson will be extended to Fleet Xpress at that time.
The new strategic relationship will also pave the way for integration between Ericsson's Maritime ICT Cloud and global connectivity delivered over Inmarsat's satellite communications network.
Ericsson's Maritime ICT Cloud is an end-to-end managed cloud solution that connects vessels at sea to shore-based operations including maintenance service providers, customer support centres, fleet/transportation partners, port operations and authorities.
Enabled by Inmarsat, the Maritime ICT Cloud will ensure that trucks will spend less idle time at ports, cargo will spend less time in transit, and producers will be better able to plan their shipments.
The practical application of the strategic cooperation agreement was highlighted with the recent announcement of a contract between Ericsson and U-Ming Marine, a leading shipping company specializing in the transportation of cement, dry commodities and industrial raw materials.
Ericsson will provide U-Ming Marine with end-to-end connected vessel and voyage optimization solutions, including satellite connectivity from Inmarsat.
Ronald Spithout, president Inmarsat Maritime, said: "With Fleet Xpress, the world's first mobile hybrid Ka/L-band high-speed broadband service, embedded in and enabling world-class solutions from Ericsson, we are re-defining maritime connectivity. This transformational agreement will open up opportunities for vessel operators and managers to capture intelligent data immediately.
"Everyone is talking about 'big data', but eventually it is the deployment of applications onboard and the end-to-end management of integrated intelligence, that will ultimately change the way the maritime industry operates; making it more efficient, greener and unlocking greater value. We are happy that the reliability of the Inmarsat constellation of satellites and operational standards are recognized as the best fit in the Ericsson roadmap of integrated services," said Spithout.
John Taxgaard, Head of Maritime at Ericsson, said: "Ericsson believes that the Internet of Things has the potential to generate tremendous value for the maritime industry. Partnering with the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services is the best means of helping the maritime industry to realize this value.
“Together with Inmarsat we will jointly develop fully integrated services, solutions and applications, and work toward establishing maritime industry standards for satellite connectivity and application integration."