These days, guests and crew alike carry at least as many mobile-connected devices as they have hands. This hyper-connectivity stretches thin the often already low satellite bandwidth on board many yachts to a point where it is barely usable. Without substantial control, the result is that each user – owners, guests and crew alike – may have an unsatisfying experience.
MTN – An EMC Company – solves this problem with its latest version of “Maestro.” The solution, it turns out, isn’t concerned with just adding more bandwidth. But rather Maestro helps clients use their bandwidth more efficiently and more intelligently.
“Maestro is really a system that allows more control of the end-user experience because it optimizes the satellite capacity on board,” says Derik Wagner, senior vice president and president, Yacht Services, MTN. “It allows the onboard personnel to have tools to view what’s going on, to optimize the delivery onboard, and then control it.”
Essentially, Maestro is a system that allows a captain or electronics technical officer (ETO) to see how much bandwidth is available, and control how that bandwidth is being used and allocated. In doing so, Maestro has helped boats improve bandwidth utilization by anywhere from 30-60%, according to Wagner.
Generally speaking, there are multiple sources of bandwidth available to most yachts via wide area networks (WANs) - very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite services; mobile satellite services (MSS); 3G and 4G LTE wireless networks; and Wi-Fi.
Maestro takes all of these connections and ties them together in an integrated and effective manner. The Maestro app allows the yacht’s ETO to see in real-time exactly how much bandwidth is delivered to the yacht and where that bandwidth is being allocated, how it is being used and by whom.
“The idea is that, from a single easy-to-use interface, you can manage your entire onboard communications system,” Wagner says.
When demand is high, the ETO can adjust the network parameters by assigning access and prioritizing applications for specific users and certain applications. In essence, it allows the ETO to funnel bandwidth to owners and guests and, if necessary, away from crewmembers.
“Often times,” Wagner says, “the owner would come on board and say, "I’m paying a lot of money for my bandwidth, so where is it?”
Only after MTN remotely investigated the problem would team members discover that crewmembers were streaming videos and music, which significantly diluted the bandwidth available to guests. Similarly, an ETO can restrict crew access to certain applications, such as video streaming or social media.
MTN designed the whole service to be easy and future-proof – both agile and adaptable to changing technologies. Perhaps most importantly, Maestro accounts for every megabit of usage, allowing clients to get more out of their existing bandwidth.
“We do make it more efficient,” Wagner says. “We’re seeing 30-, 50-, 60% improvement, which means they can do more with each megabit of capacity at a particular price-point. Customers can clearly distinguish us from other providers in three ways: our truly global services, differentiated products and technologies, and unique worldwide customer support.”
While MTN had enviable customer support capabilities prior to EMC's acquisition in July, its services have now increased substantially. The company offers 24/7/365 support, along with technical resources around the world so customers can reach representatives anywhere within 24 hours.
In keeping customer satisfaction in mind, MTN goes to great lengths to deliver the right service to each individual yacht. The MTN team conducts lifestyle interviews with captains, ETOs and owners’ representatives to meet specific needs.
Through MTN Maestro, the company delivers fast and agile mobile networks that adapt to customers’ needs. This ensures achievement of two key missions.
First, the owner gets the bandwidth and connectivity that he wants in order to enhance and enjoy his time on board. Meanwhile, the captain gets the bandwidth he needs to safely manage the yacht. The crew have what they need to conduct their duties, as well as connect with family and friends during off time. By most counts, the company’s dedication has paid off.
“We’re the market leader in mobility solutions, particularly maritime,” Wagner says, noting that nearly half of the top 100 superyachts in the world use MTN services.
“At the end of the day, what the customer wants is a good user experience,” Wagner says. “And that’s all we want. We want the owner who gets on board to have a good experience.”
MTN exhibited at the Monaco Yacht Show in September to preview the newest feature set of Maestro. This includes a completely redesigned user interface, advanced capabilities that further streamline network management and boost content delivery, with a new content and media suite for easy access to hundreds of popular movies on demand as well as worldwide live TV channels.
If you want to learn more about how to address the proliferation of mobile devices, apps and the Internet of Things (IoT) on board, please contact [email protected].
For more information about Maestro please contact [email protected] or call +1 954 538 4000