Broadband solution for the high seas
October 19, 2005 Wireless communications and technology has become one the fastest growing and most universally adopted service products in history. The global wireless subscriber base passed 2 billion last month and is expected to pass 3 billion in 2010. Yet, with all of the growth, ubiquity and connectivity, one wireless marketplace remains virtually untapped: the open seas. SeaMobile is a new venture launched in 2005 to focus on enabling wireless phones and computers to work at sea. SeaMobile uses scalable, flexible and IP/software based technology to create a user experience that is optimal for private yacht owners, cruise ships, ferries, offshore platforms, container ships and any other sea-going craft. Coverage can include the entire ship or select areas to enable “quiet zones”. The technology enables people to use their own cellular phones and Wi-Fi enabled computers transparently while anywhere at sea with charges for use of the system appearing on customers’ regular monthly bill.
SeaMobile has established more than 200 separate roaming agreements with wireless carriers and systems around the world to establish transparent connectivity for GSM, CDMA and GPRS services. The SeaMobile system is “turned off” within 12 nautical miles of land to avoid interference with land-based wireless carrier networks.
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Making “floating resorts” more competitive, profitable and efficient SeaMobile has recognized that the cruising industry has become a virtual resort at sea now competing directly with land-based resorts for the travel and tourism customers.
SeaMobile service improves the likelihood of some consumers choosing a cruise for the simple fact that they can remain connected. Consider a recent survey conducted by Management Recruiters International of 730 U.S. executives that found 47 percent surveyed wouldn’t use all their vacation time because of job pressures, but would consider using more time if they could keep the work moving ahead in their absence.
By providing a customer with the same access to their phone number and computer anywhere, it allows cruise customers the ability to manage emergencies whether they are sitting by a pool in the middle of the ocean, or at their desk.
SeaMobile can help cruise lines improve their bottom line with incremental revenue from core voice, data and Internet services, custom applications delivered to passenger phones, and superior tracking and reporting for timely revenue-sharing payments.
SeaMobile announced a strategic alliance with global satellite communications CapRock Communications this week to provide a bundled offering of satellite-based broadband communications and mobile wireless services for the cruise line and commercial maritime industries.
The combined service offering provides much more than just wireless phone service. It allows cruise lines and ship captains to deliver new applications directly to the customer through a variety of devices like cell phones, wireless PDAs and laptops. Additionally, it enables passengers and crew to benefit from high-speed broadband services for Internet access and e-mail, including secure corporate data applications for PCs, servers and other devices connected to the ship's onboard wired network.
"SeaMobile is pioneering converged wireless communications in the maritime industry," said CapRock CEO Peter Shaper, "As we continue to expand in vertical markets like maritime, we look for partners that bring high impact value-added services to the customer. SeaMobile has the technical acumen, industry experience and seasoned management team making them the clear leader in the wireless-at-sea market."
SeaMobile President and CEO William D. Marks noted, "CapRock's position as a leader in the remote satellite communications market is invaluable as we tackle one of the last frontiers in wireless - the open seas. This alliance goes far beyond the convenience of wireless phone services on a cruise ship," continued Marks. "This new service is custom tailored to the unique requirements of ocean going vessels and significantly expands the realm of voice and data applications."