Cementing a strong maritime partnership
The relationship between Thuraya and Addvalue Technologies Group of companies in Singapore goes back to the launch of the Thuraya-3 satellite in 2008 - and right up to date with the commercial availability of Thuraya’s latest maritime broadband terminal, Atlas IP.
Addvalue’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer Tan Khai Pang recalls his realisation seven years ago that the launch presented an opportunity to develop a low cost maritime terminal targeted at the huge and underserved market in Asia and China in particular.
“We could see this was a market with huge potential but it lacked a cost competitive, high quality product to serve it properly,” he says. Fast forward to 2015 and Addvalue is again helping Thuraya address an underserved market.
Atlas IP is Thuraya’s second dedicated maritime broadband terminal and it marks a move towards added value in more ways than one.
Designed to complement Thuraya’s first broadband terminal, Orion IP, by offering a fully-featured voice and data product with additional functionality built in, Atlas IP delivers superior performance compared to more highly-priced competitor terminals, but with a higher specification and at a lower cost.
“Our strategy has always been to work closely with mobile satellite operators such as Thuraya to identify market needs and build fit-for-purpose terminals that will sit well with the aspirations of the end users,” says Khai Pang. “Atlas IP is another good example of how Addvalue and Thuraya are able to work together to address unfulfilled needs in the maritime market.”
Atlas supports IP-based broadband communications at sea and coupled with Thuraya’s highly competitive airtime packages, is designed to fulfil multiple applications. Capable of standard data transfer at rates up to 444kbps, asymmetric streaming at 16kbps-384kbps and featuring circuit switched voice, Atlas IP brings exceptional quality of service to maritime users.
In addition to its voice and data capabilities, key features include a built-in firewall, Wi-Fi and a fleet tracking feature based on distance or time with accurate geo fencing. The terminal also has the ability to configure and limit data sessions by time or volume through a multi-lingual web interface. Corporate users wanting to take advantage of specific applications can choose a customization option to have their application embedded on its core module.
The terminal is also designed to support operational efficiency on-board ship through its Port Forwarding feature. This automatically forwards data from shipboard equipment and devices to support M2M reporting routines. In addition, land-based users can connect to the ship’s sensors remotely and receive data without the intervention of the crew.
“The tracking function gives shipmanagers and operators real time access to critical vessel information through a web-based interface, while the geo-fencing function provides a means to demarcate a zone and report any exceptions,” explains Khai Pang. “Circuit switched voice provides a complimentary service in case the data connection is lost and if the vessel is entering risky waters the terminal can automatically engage radio silence and resume transmission when leaving them.”
This combination of features makes Atlas IP the logical choice for maritime users who want to combine a high quality service with functionality that answers current needs and anticipates coming trends.
Atlas can be configured to provide a very cost-effective crew calling service, enabling seafarers to make affordable voice calls or use the internet-based data services that are becoming a core aspect of crew welfare at sea.
With the inexorable advance of the internet-of-things, users can leverage its M2M functionality to support a range of telemetric functions that can help increase the efficiency of vessel operations. Atlas IP is also an ideal terminal to act as a VSAT backup and provide a reliable link when the primary service is unavailable, providing the ship with a means of continuous communications at predictable speed over a reliable L-band connection.
For Khai Pang and Addvalue, Atlas IP is the latest step of an enduring partnership, in which a single-minded approach has paid dividends for maritime users in Asia and beyond.
Addvalue has, he says, always taken a holistic approach in defining its terminal functionalities and features. By understanding the strength of the Thuraya network, Addvalue has been able to build useful applications and user-friendly interface; something that would not be possible without Thuraya’s support.
“In 2008, we went to Thuraya and presented to the management our vision of a product that could help them achieve their goals, leading to the strong partnership that we have today. Through the commercialisation of our visionary voice and narrowband data products, Thuraya has been able to capture a sizeable regional maritime market in East and South East Asia.
“Atlas IP continues that tradition; aligning the strengths of Thuraya and Addvalue in a voice and broadband data product which addresses the varying needs of the maritime market in Asia, where both companies are positioned to serve a market that is even bigger than it was seven years ago!”