Over the past century the maritime industry has experienced a seismic shift in the way seafaring organisations, crews and passengers communicate. Fortunately, lanterns and flags, were rapidly replaced with the birth of radio and Morse Code, quickly followed by the launch of the first Global Maritime Distress and Safety (GMDS) satellite communication system back in 1992.

Fast forward to the present day where not only has the digital age and satellite communications revolutionised the way the maritime industry operates, it has also helped maritime businesses to focus on improving the ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore end-customer and employee experience.

Whilst the maritime industry now has access to some of the most sophisticated satellite communication systems mankind has developed, many challenges lie ahead. As the global economy grows and sea trade continues to expand, skills shortages, crew welfare, and tighter environmental legislation are top of mind. This is where digital technologies can help streamline operating processes and bring employees together in real-time, regardless of location improving workforce productivity and employee morale.  

The growing trend towards BYOD workplace communication strategies offers the maritime industry a raft of new possibilities, especially when you consider the mobility and wide distribution of its workforce. 

Always on business critical applications and access to big data are important pieces of information that need to be simultaneously distributed to various on-ship and offshore departments and workers but they are often sent via incorrect channels, or often reach their destination too late. So, it will come as no surprise that the FrontM team believes the task of workplace collaboration and real-time communication with colleagues, peers and loved ones, should be given to a unified communication application accessible via a mobile device, that all employees carry, the smartphone, allowing for personal calls and the distribution of business critical information to the right personnel and groups, at the right time.

The maritime industry is embracing digital transformation and is fully primed to take advantage of various technologies. Whether that’s ensuring full cargo loads, tracking the daily catch or, checking staff health, efficiency and crew welfare is key. This principle can now apply to ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship communication, too. For seafaring organisations, a satellite optimised, mobile communication platform increases efficiency and employee morale in several areas:

Digital Workspace: Writing and distributing maintenance plans and alerts for a mobile workforce at sea is complicated, but with a unified, secure and intelligent workspace delivering all of your messages, maintenance alerts and diagnostics in one place, even offline, staying ahead of the curve has never been simpler.  FrontM’s Edge Intelligence software enables the maritime industry to centrally distribute business critical data offline, bringing shore and ship closer together to improve control and reduce operating costs. 

Satcom Calling: Ship to shore Satellite phone calling is expensive, advances have been made, yet many shipping operators and fleets still heavily rely on MSS to provide two-way data communications. FrontM not only connects teams and personnel via a satellite optimised VoIP calls, messaging and email, but the platform also reduces call and data usage and communication charges by as much as fifty percent.

Tracking and Monitoring: Advanced two-way vessel tracking and monitoring via GPS messaging exchange allows you to use the data to track all of your ships for position reporting and geo-fencing.

Automated Workflows: Efficient on and offline automation of workflows helps to reduce connectivity dependency, whilst enabling ship and shore staff to save time, freeing them up to take on more tasks.

Satcom Service Assurance Assistant: No more spending time sifting through automated emails looking for the mornings daily diagnostics report. A fully automated chatbot can answer common questions in real time, helping to identify and remedy problems quickly.