Can you tell us a little bit about Wireless Maritime Services?
Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) provides cellular mobile, wi-fi and internet of things (IoT) services to the maritime market. We are the leading provider of cellular at sea communication serving a majority of the cruise industry on the most prestigious brands in the world. Our cellular services support more than 18 million cruise passengers per year on over 160 vessels.
Wireless Maritime Services is the leader in connectivity. What steps is WMS taking to be sure you’re staying as the top leader in connectivity and ensure the quality of your product?
Wireless Maritime Services pioneered cellular communication at sea 15 years ago and has led the pace of innovation deploying 2G, 3G and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile cellular service at sea. Our competitive advantage is our experience, investment in network, our people & their skills, effective and efficient network design, best-in-class customer support & care processes and our overall superior cellular roaming economics. As experts in RF design, installation and management, we deploy the best network solutions in a maritime environment including cellular, Wi-Fi and IoT services. Our 24/7 network monitoring center and shipboard operations teams maximize network uptime across our fleet for best-in-class performance, and excel at responding to our customers’ needs at every touchpoint. For these reasons, we continue to receive best in the industry, in fact among the best in any industry, customer satisfaction scores.
What do you see as the biggest communications/IT needs that the cruise industry has today and into the future?
The current cruise ship network infrastructure must evolve as the technologies driving communication, operations and guest and crew experiences continue to develop and converge. The networks on today’s cruise ships often consist of wi-fi, cellular and IoT networks that are designed, implemented and managed by several providers using different protocols. Given that several vendors individually manage these disparate ecosystems, this increases hardware costs, satellite backhaul and potential security risks. However, there will soon be a convergence of technologies and providers that will harmonize onboard connectivity to make it more seamless for the end user and make it simpler to implement machine-to-machine use cases. At the same time, it will help cruise lines to maximize returns on investment. One of the most significant developments that will consolidate the cruise ship connectivity is the emergence of 5G technology. It delivers three new capabilities: greater speed (moving more data), lower latency (more responsive), and the ability to connect more devices at once (for IoT sensors and smart devices). 5G technology will be a catalyst in removing the friction in the user experience for a cruise line passenger as they struggle between different connectivity options, user experiences and pricing models. The technology evolution will also help make the emerging IoT ecosystem on cruise ships more seamless and capital efficient. Coupled with emerging low and medium earth orbit satellites, a host of new capabilities will enable cruise lines to enhance guest and crew experiences, improve marine safety and operations, and contribute to the industry’s environmental sustainability efforts. 5G cellular mobile is a game-changer for cruise lines and how they use mobile connectivity onboard their ships, not just for passengers but for every part of their cruise ship operation.