Keeping Ferries Connected

Pulsar Satellite Services for Ferries

See how ferry operators increase revenues, passenger engagement, and crew satisfaction, while decreasing operational costs by digitalizing operations with Pulsar Satellite Services for Ferries. Get the full study and consult with a satellite expert.

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Keeping Ferries Connected

The Benefits of Satellite Ferry Digitalization Overview | Pulsar & Inmarsat

Ferry Digitalization – The Enabling Platform

One in three ferry operators expect digitalization to bring savings of over $10m within 12 months with a suite of enhanced operational efficiencies. Additionally, “Four out of ten ferry operators interviewed mention revenue creation as an investment driver for digital solutions.” according to a recent independent study.

Digitalisation provides the ferry industry with a priceless dual opportunity. Increased deployment of digital solutions can reduce ferry operator costs thanks to a suite of enhanced operational efficiencies. Digital solutions can also assist operators to grow much-needed revenue via an improved passenger experience and boosting ancillary revenues.

These are the findings of a comprehensive worldwide report of ferry operators’ current relationship with digitalisation. This thorough analysis, conducted by JG Maritime Solutions Limited demonstrates the opportunities connectivity offers, but also the challenges the industry faces in realising the full potential of digitalisation.

"Our findings show that digitalisation is the catalyst for all of this," the study reports. "An increased use of connected technologies can create real operational savings. Connectivity also creates an opportunity to enhance – and monetize – the customer experience. It also provides the assurance of security, allowing ferry operators to proactively enhance vessel and passenger safety.

Ferry operators must take full advantage of digitalisation to ensure they become leaner, more agile and more efficient. We hope this report highlights a number of ways ferry operators can benchmark their own digital transformation process against their peers and, moreover, capitalise on these opportunities.

These savings and increased revenue happen across three key business areas:

  • savings due to improved vessel operations
  • savings due to improved recruitment and retention of staff thanks to crew welfare communications
  • additional revenue from passenger sales of digital services

  • Download Ferry Digitalization Study

    Why Pulsar?

    Pulsar is a global satellite communications company, with local offices in key markets across Europe, North and South America, and APAC. Pulsar's long history of providing maritime communications and experience connecting ferries of all sizes makes Pulsar the right partner for digitalization. More than just a data connection, Pulsar puts together:
  • Regional and global satellite connectivity, with hybrid mobile networks expertise
  • Pulsar network with firewall alerts, barring firewalls, and content filtering
  • Value-added services including:
    • XGate, email, weather, file transfer, chat filtering, and vessel tracking
    • Crewcomm – satellite-optimized services for crew welfare
    • PassCess system - passenger-optimized social media and entertainment access
    • High-security service enablement platforms with RedPort X-Series routers
  • Supported with our powerful partnership with global satellite operator Inmarsat
  • How Connectivity Creates Value

    The shipping industry is embracing connected technologies in a wide variety of ways. The value of digitalization varies depending on how a ship operates. When it comes to bulk carriers, the aim of digitalization is to reduce costs associated with each and every journey.

    Ferries are different. Operational efficiencies are key, but maximizing the value from passengers is also critical. Subsequently, ferry operators must balance the connectivity needs of their ships and passengers with the availability and the capability of these digital solutions. Operators rightly demand prioritized digital services for ship operations. They want guaranteed bandwidth availability for priority systems.

    Advances in connectivity and remote data capture are making it possible for connectivity providers to tailor their services more flexibly and cost effectively to a client’s needs.

    This includes unlimited data services and providing a range of data capture services from always-on connectivity to timed solutions that clients may only use a couple of hours a day or even on-demand solutions. Until recently, satellite communications were used primarily for distress, safety and limited operational functions. As the barriers to satellite communication reduce, with modern, flexible and affordable services adopted by tens of thousands of vessels across the globe, this is no longer the case. Satellite services now help become a profit driver for vessels of all sizes.

    Improving Operations and Reducing Operational Costs

    Cost savings are a goal for all ferry operators. This is doubly felt at the moment due to the disruptive effects of the global pandemic. So even when operators can’t control the passenger revenue pipeline, there is a need and a drive to optimise costs and enhance flexibility via digital operations. Continuous and recurring savings arrive through:
    Fuel& Emissions Savings
    Ferry operators recognise that digitalisation can deliver operational efficiencies - even a 1% reduction in fuel costs year-on-year is significant. Furthermore, monitoring, recording and verifying fuel consumption assists in reducing carbon emissions. Cost effective savings are being delivered via new technology, low-carbon fuels, slow steaming, shore power, hybridisation and smarter operational practices.

    Condition Monitoring & Planned Maintenance
    Operators that use digital solutions for condition monitoring can see their planned maintenance records in the cloud. This is giving a clear ROI when vessel outages are prevented. Collecting and analysing this data is also supporting operators’ safety management systems and increasing the efficiency of their operations.

    Further efficiencies include reducing crew costs – especially when digitalisation is facilitating automation of some onboard and in-port processes.

    Efficient Use of Labor
    Personnel costs are streamlined thanks to a reduced need to deploy technicians to diagnose issues onboard. Augmented reality glasses are now being used to view a technical issue and stream it back onshore. Technical input, fault diagnosis and remedial guidance can then be provided from ashore. Additionally, keeping crew morale communications is a key driver in staff retention, particularly with lower-cost and younger labor pools.

    Remote Diagnosis
    Remote diagnosis is reducing the high cost of employing technicians from international locations. It also cuts the time needed to diagnose the fault and carry out repairs.

    Visibility & Asset Management
    Great strides have been made in recent years by increased fleet visibility and by connecting and monitoring devices globally through platforms such as Tracertrak. Greater visibility of stock control means fewer spare parts are required to be held onboard individual ships, with spare parts being shared across a class of the same ships.

    Real-time Data Critical
    Reliable onboard connectivity that is deployed in real-time underpins the most efficient and dependable ROI. Keeping ferries in optimum condition, particularly when they are engaged on multiple voyages daily is challenging, so having access to real-time data is key. The more data ferry operators can access and analyse results in better decisions and performance.

    Risk Factors
    Some operators don’t regard data usage ROI, but they do consider the broader perspective of all risk factors, such as cyber security and situational awareness.

    Download Ferry Digitalization Study

    Digitalizing the Passenger Experience

    Ferry operators understand value in enhancing the passenger experience. Digitalization can expedite customer loyalty;ensure ferry travel is a preferred mode of transport; minimise customer dissatisfaction and in turn lower the cost needed to remedy those complaints.

    Then there is the potential for revenue generation via ancillary services offered to passengers. This covers everything from streamlining the booking process – offering more than just the ferry journey – accommodation, destination services, upgrades, retail and much, much more.

    Monetizing the passenger experience is the ultimate goal.

    Passenger expectations have changed rapidly. These digitally-savvy passengers want always-on connectivity and everything that is associated with that. In turn, operators are looking to innovate and improve expectations on price, sustainability, Wi-Fi, food, onboard shopping, accommodation, booking, check-in and other aspects of the journey.

    Operators understand the value of ensuring a seamless customer journey from booking the original crossing to the journey home. Using customer data better is also a goal as operators look to personalise the passenger experience.

    Onboard connectivity is now seen as a valued strategic point of differentiation. Customer satisfaction and retention is a clear benefit from meeting passenger expectations. The halo effect of consistent, reliable, high quality connectivity can even balance out reputational threats caused by bad weather or a ship’s technical issues.

    Connectivity is also highlighted as supporting crew welfare – with a happier crew, more in touch with home, delivering a better customer experience for passengers.

    Despite operators recognizing the value of connectivity, the vast majority of ferries lack systems that are commonplace in rail and aviation - such as platforms that provide a one-stop shop of digital solutions, including entertainment, travel information and marketing content. There is a clear appreciation among interviewees that digitalization opens up more ways to monetise a captive audience.Alongside some more obvious ways to boost ancillary revenue – from charging for Wi-Fi to supporting and enabling card payments – there are also some opportunities that are, at present, undervalued. It’s apparent that there are some innovative ways to realize this value. Consider the case for revenue acceleration based on the Aviation industry. Some airline passengers now place Wi-Fi access as more important than inflight meals or entertainment when choosing an airline.

    Case Study: Pulsar, Inmarsat & SMSGlobal for a Philippine Ferry Operator

    Working with one of the largest ferry operators in Southeast Asia, Pulsar is currently implementing a complete solution that combines secure high-bandwidth satellite connectivity with a suite of services.

    Vessel operations are improved with streamlined staff communications and data access for satellite email, weather forecasts, optimized navigation and vessel tracking. Business operations are improved by offering onboard point-of-sale at the ferry shop plus onboard access to sales and ticketing information.

    Crew Welfare
    Crew Welfare is improved through a crew communications portal, Communication, media, and information keep crew in touch with the people they love – all with the usage & cost controls that ship owners require. Includes, News, Chat, SMS Text, Games, E-Learning and Training videos, and low-bandwidth games.

    Passenger Services with Pulsar PassCess™
    Passenger services are improved with the creation of a new profit center offering tiered access:

  • Low-cost basic connectivity which gives access to Facebook, Messenger & WhatsApp
  • Instant messaging with chat, pictures & emojis. No audio or video calls, no video or music streaming, and no web browsing.
  • Premium Access - Full Internet access with video/audio calls, streaming of music, multi-media and web browsing.
  • Next Steps

    This summary is just the beginning of your transforming operations and passenger experience through satellite digitalization. To begin to see the benefits:

    1. Speak with a Marine Satellite Expert

    2. Download the Complete Study: The Global Status of Ferry Digitalisation: Uncovering the Passenger and Operational Advantage