Orange unveils new satellite shipping solution

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Orange Business Services is building a cloud-based satellite solution to aid management of the shipping industry, after the operator joined a new European Union initiative for the sector.

The EU set up the EIS initiative to use new IT products and services to improve the running of the sector, making it easier to manage vessels, make real-time decisions and improve welfare.

Orange will implement its service on several ships run by Columbia Ship Management, one of the four biggest ship managers. The solution uses the communication hardware of the ships, the onshore data centre and newly designed traffic optimisation tools. 

By using satellite communications with business-grade VPN and private access to cloud services, Orange said Columbia will be able to manage its fleet without having to use the internet.

Timothy Scheller, Project Manager at Columbia, commented: "Communication at sea constitutes specific challenges and was historically a source of problems in terms of cost, performance and support. With the help of Orange Business Services, we want to utilize this project to test and design solutions that help the industry take a giant leap forward and set new standards in maritime IT. With this initiative, we want to build a remotely managed, integrated communication and application infrastructure onboard that intelligently connects the vessel to the office at the lowest possible cost."

OBS provides services including satellite communications, telepresence and the cloud, to eight out of the world's 10 biggest shipping companies. 

Michel Verbist, Head of International Business Development, said: “With the new cloud-based platform in this project, we can demonstrate how improved communication between vessels and their management will streamline business tools and decisions. Real-time ship-to-shore communication can provide a competitive advantage for both large and small shipping companies around the world. We look forward to providing innovative cloud solutions for other players in the maritime sector in the months to come.”