Mobile satcom leader Inmarsat has reached an integrated connectivity agreement with Ålesund, Norway, headquartered Norwind Offshore AS.
Established by owners with a long history of offshore and maritime experience, Norwind supports the development of renewable offshore energy and has three offshore wind service operation vessels (SOVs) on order at Vard. The agreement with Inmarsat covers the connectivity and digitalization needs of all three.
The contract includes an existing platform supply vessel undergoing retrofit to become a SOV, with delivery due in May 2022, and a letter of intent covering two newbuilds.
All three vessels will have Inmarsat’s Fleet LTE. An all-in-one service that offers continuous connectivity, Fleet LTE allows vessels to switch automatically between 4G offshore fiber networks to Fleet Xpress Ka-band service when sailing out of LTE coverage zones and to access FleetBroadband’s L-band coverage for unlimited back-up. The vessels will also have Fleet Data and Fleet Connect to facilitate digitalization onboard and Fleet Hotspot for crew wellbeing.
Under the agreement. Inmarsat will partner with Norwind to create a single cost-effective digital infrastructure onboard to monitor equipment from various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and collect data easily without affecting bandwidth.
The data collected onboard will assist in making data-driven decisions at the touch of a button. In addition, Norwind will be able to benefit from Inmarsat’s Certified Application Providers (CAP) program that hosts a range of applications designed for the maritime industry to reduce fuel emissions, enhance vessel performance and crew welfare as well as save lives at sea.
“Inmarsat’s agreement with Norwind Offshore extends beyond core maritime connectivity services, representing a partnership in which we are working closely with our first offshore wind market customer to fulfill its digitalization objectives,” said Eric Griffin, vice president offshore, Inmarsat Maritime. “Central to this is the single digital infrastructure through which Norwind and its OEMs will gain actionable insights on fuel efficiency, emissions reduction, weather forecasting and more to benefit its vessels’ operational efficiency.”
The integrated solution means Norwind avoids the prohibitive costs of multiple networks or the complications and expense of installing hardware to support individual applications. In addition, through Fleet Hotspot, Norwind can offer high-speed internet access to crew that is independent of operational bandwidth. This provides a more attractive working environment for vessel personnel and meets the expectations of external engineers attending the ship.
“We see Inmarsat as the ideal partner for the offshore wind sector,” said Roy Ove Standal, chief operating officer, Norwind Offshore. “Thanks to our agreement, we now have a clear path to digitalisation which works towards our safety, operational efficiency, sustainability and crew welfare objectives from day one. Fleet LTE allows us to tap into available 4G infrastructure, when such technology is available at the wind parks, thereby minimising the gap between the internet services that can be enjoyed ashore.”
Initially launched in 2020, Fleet LTE is now part of Inmarsat’s far wider investment plans for maritime. These include the ORCHESTRA “dynamic mesh” network that will bring together existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites, including ELERA (L-band) and Global Xpress (Ka-band), with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G into an integrated, high-performance solution designed to offer the lowest average latency and fastest average speeds available in the maritime industries.