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e3 Technology Update 2020

Since I wrote my last article, yet more LEO satellites have been launched into orbit. Elon Musk’s 60 Starlink LEO satellites were launched on 6th January, closely followed by another 60 satellites on 29th January. Then OneWeb, another LEO constellation project, launched another 34 satellites on 6th February!  

These latest satellite launches represent just one small part of the huge constellations of Low Earth Orbit satellites which are currently planned to provide communications throughout the whole world. The intention is to provide, worldwide, the equivalent speed and latency to that of the fibre optic cables which we, in the first world, connect with at home and in the office.

Managing guest expectations by using the relevant communication solutions

This month I am starting a column within my column entitled “Managing Guest Expectations by using the Relevant Communications”.  
Over the next months this will cover: 

• Ensuring guests have good connectivity.

• Ensuring that those onboard the yacht, including owners, guests and crew, are safe. 

• Ensuring guests never miss that important live sports event. 

• Maintaining 100% service for guests. 

We are one the very few independent communications advisors for superyachts, and definitely the one with the most experience. We have a selective range of communication services provided by different service providers to suit the complete cross-section of yacht needs, as every yacht has differing needs, which also change from month to month and year to year.  

We always provide “best advice” to our clients. As we don’t own our service, we are not tied to telling you that one particular service will do everything you want to do when, nine times out of ten, it won’t.  There is no such thing as a ‘one fits all’ service. 

Over the last 24 years we have been the first to install new communication services on yachts, from Fleet 77 to VSAT to FX. We have learned through sheer experience what works and what doesn’t. This year, our new services include a complimentary 800GB per month 4G HYBRID connection and a complimentary HYBRID unlimited Fleet Broadband service!  If you want to know more, contact me.    

How do you ensure your guests have good connectivity?

As everyone is aware, having good connectivity can be as essential as breathing! It’s one of the most important considerations an owner or charter guest takes when owning or chartering the yacht. 

So what do you need to consider?
• First of all, what connectivity are you already promising your guests? What are their expectations? If you don’t know, what do you think they will expect?

• What are the demographics of the guests? How many of them, genders, ages, nationalities, languages, location preferences, data security needs?• How many devices do you allow them to connect with?

• Where is the yacht likely to operate throughout the year, and also just for the period of a particular charter or cruise? Do you plan to cruise off-the-beaten track?

• What do the guests need the connectivity for: This could be business or pleasure, social media browsing, social media posting with photos and videos - are you going somewhere so stunning they will want to send photos to friends? There’s also email, web browsing, communication apps and video conferencing, streaming (Netflix, Amazon, YouTube), streaming sports events – as you can see, there is a lot to take into consideration!

• Do you know how much bandwidth is required for their activities? We can supply a look-up chart. Have you enough bandwidth, and a high enough data allowance? 

• Do you have data limit controls? For example, setting data limits per device/user. Do you have an application blacklist to ban activities such as iPhone software updates?

• What communications equipment do you have on board? What are the connectivity limitations?  These could be technical or budget related. You may have a range of devices and some have a data usage limit whereas others are bandwidth limited. As your data usage increases due to demand, have you considered changing or adding better systems that could potentially be more economical by being more efficient?

• What flexibility do you have with your current airtime contracts? Can you upgrade and downgrade easily for short periods? What notice period do you have to give? Can you suspend the service for a period with no penalty? If you change to a different service can you keep your VoIP telephone numbers. Does the satellite service land in a country that speaks the same language as the guests? Do you have free roaming? Will your 4G service always switch to the strongest signal? Do you have to swap SIMs? Do you have a cyber security policy?

These are just a selection of the many questions to consider.

What is a good approach?

Firstly, the ideal situation is for you to provide your guests with a memorable experience without making it complex, difficult or unusable.
Secondly, you have to define the data limitations and cyber policies you have on the yacht and then manage their expectations by being honest and explaining to them what they can expect, without promising fibre optic connectivity – yet!

Thirdly, for you to define your data limitations, you can either work with the systems you already have installed and just review the airtime solutions i) above, or review how you can improve all your systems, both equipment and airtime g), h) and i) to develop a more efficient solution to handle the operational itineraries, budget and expectations of guests once you have considered all the points above.  This is an area where you can benefit from our advice as an independent communications advisor with our many years of experience.   

Meet Lynn Burbridge, Account Manager Hardware

I’d like to introduce you to Lynn Burbridge. Lynn is originally from Surrey and has been on the island for over 31 years.  In her opinion, Mallorca is perfect!  In the summer, she loves snorkelling as she feels there is something very cathartic being under the water with the complete silence.  In the winter, she loves walking in the mountains and enjoys the best the island has to offer.

Lynn was recently promoted to Account Manager Hardware. She takes care of the quotations, specifications and orders for equipment for our customers and our worldwide partner network.  Lynn works very closely with our Engineering and IT teams to find the best and most suitable solution for each yacht’s specific needs. She looks after our customers to make sure they get the latest and best products at excellent prices.  
Lynn worked closely with our previous Sales Director for eight years, where she built up her knowledge of our product portfolio.  She says, “I’ve always enjoyed working with people and find that building an excellent relationship with both the customer and the team is the key to success in business and its longevity.”

Lynn worked within the superyacht industry before joining e3, so she already had a clear focus and insight into what the superyachts of today expect, especially when it comes to the importance of communications on-board, but also at the same time expecting a high level of customer service. Her motto is, “quality over quantity as you will always remember the outstanding quality of service you received”.

We asked Lynn to tell us one highlight of her 9 years at e3, and she said: “Our very first Inmarsat FX installation back in 2017, which was the first ever on a yacht for Inmarsat.  The owner was as excited about the installation as we were.”   

Lynn is looking forward to seeing what new technology lies ahead, as we all are at e3! 


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