Technology Update – Roger Horner of e3 Systems
Spain plays host to the international maritime community for 11 days
The Islander’s Nautifest was a huge success with an excellent party sponsored by e3 on Friday evening. The party then moved on to Barcelona for the MYBA Show, hosted by One Ocean Port Vell, another successful event, then back to Palma for the Palma Superyacht Show. This event has certainly matured and now hosts an eclectic mix of international visitors. Having the Palma Show following on from MYBA created the opportunity for international visitors to move from Barcelona to Palma in a simple hop and to make a visit to two of the best cities in Spain, possibly in Europe!
To cap all this, we were very pleased to sign the exclusive global Distribution Agreement with Kymeta for their flat satellite panels for yachts over 24m on the eve of the Palma Show. We ran a very hasty presentation the following morning that is now showing on www.superyachttechnology.com. We are expanding, appointing new partners around the world and training them up as Kymeta Certified Partners, appointing selected refit yards as Certified Installation Centres, and generally starting a large recruitment campaign. So please spread the word. There will be more detailed news on this next month.
First Kymeta panels set sail on a yacht
In the middle of May, we installed the first Kymeta panel on Prototype yacht A in the Caribbean. This yacht has sailed to St Maarten and Bermuda, then plans to cross to the Med where we will add further panels before she starts summer cruising around the Med. It took a mere ten minutes from powering up to self-acquisition and coming on-line. This technology is fantastic!
A second yacht called Prototype B will be installed in early June in the Med to sail around the Med all summer. One yacht is motor and the other sail. I will provide regular updates in this column over the next few months.
5G will be here sooner than expected
Ericsson, a major player in the 5G arena, publishes a regular mobility report, which looks at the state of the market. Joakim Sorelius, head of 5G and Radio Access Network (RAN) architecture at Ericsson, said that even he found some of the findings of its latest research “quite astonishing.”
“Firstly, there will be more than half a billion 5G subscriptions by 2022. In only a few years, we expect 5G to take off quite quickly.
When looking at development of broadband, Sorelius says 90 percent of subscriptions will be mobile broadband, which basically means that everyone who has a telephone will have a smartphone. He called this “a very strong foundation” for the wireless industry.
Ericsson believes there will be 29 billion connected devices by 2022, of which 18 billion will be related to the Internet of Things (IoT).
When will it actually roll out? In terms of the timeline, Sorelius said Ericsson sees these major deployments happening around the 2020 timeframe. “Standards here will be finalized by mid-2018 (June), and thus there will be some early markets before 2020. But if you talk about major global rollouts, it will be in the 2020 timeframe.” he said.
As people start to use their smartphones to watch content, the bandwidth needed will increase significantly over the next few years. Streaming 4K videos will be a challenge due to the amount of bandwidth required. Sorelius pointed to the fact that one 4K stream requires over 15Mbps, whereas an HD stream is typically 3-4Mbps, and said this is more than an over-loaded 4G network can deliver. With these figures you can quickly come to the conclusion that we need a lot of capacity but then, I have to ask the question, why do we need to watch 4K resolution movies on the small screen of a smartphone?
If 4G was a mobile broadband system then 5G is a system for ALL current connectivity and for all future demands whatever they may be. Ericsson are designing a system that can handle a wide variety of services from low bit rate, low demanding sensors up to very critical applications for industries such as manufacturing and healthcare with enhanced mobile broadband in between.
Look out for augmented reality!
We prefer to watch TV when we want to these days
The satellite broadcast industry is learning to deal with what is now the new “normal” way to watch TV. Over-the-Top (OTT) service use has skyrocketed over the last year. Consumers want to watch what they want, when they want. They want original and plentiful content and they want it at their convenience on the device of their choice.
For the traditional free-to-air and pay TV providers, this is a real disruption to their previously very successful business model. Satellite pay TV has always been a mainstay of the broadcast industry; it is a highly effective means of content delivery. However, the appeal of OTT is becoming very obvious as viewers start to question (and cut back on) their satellite pay TV packages.
This is now proven by statistics. OTT subscriptions doubled in 2016. Smart TV purchases grew and the content viewed on mobile devices and laptops increased.
So just what is so attractive about an OTT package and why are people turning to these services rather than simply sticking with their traditional pay TV packages?
OTT is extremely convenient, immersive and tailored to the viewer in terms of content and advertising. It is entertainment that can be picked up and dropped when the user feels like it — there are no strings. OTT content, such as Amazon and Netflix, is popular and often series-based, which means that viewers binge on a certain show and then go back to their traditional TV provider once they have finished a particular series. Due to this fact, there are very high churn rates and viewers will move from one OTT service provider to another due to different content choice, ease of subscription and ease of leaving the service. So the real challenge for OTT providers is how they go about reducing churn.
The habit of short-term flings with OTT services plays into the hands of the traditional TV operators as viewers tend to have a long-term affair with traditional TV. It will be interesting to see whether today’s ‘millennials’ will stick to multi-screen fragmented viewing, or if when getting older, will adopt their parent’s TV consumption habits.
How many of us have thought there is a lack of value in our pay TV services? How many of us have flicked through hundreds of TV channels only to say, “there’s nothing on”? Content is king, and original content is what OTT providers have in abundance. Satellite TV operators now need to revisit their offerings and ask themselves some serious questions.
Shipping needs modern safety communications that deliver close to 100 per cent reliability. This is a key function for IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee to address when it meets in June. Top of its list is the modernisation of the global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS).
The biggest element of this is to allow other satellite operators to deliver GMDSS services, breaking up the Inmarsat monopoly.
This could open these mandated safety services to Iridium’s L-band constellation but it should also allow Inmarsat to transfer them to its modern satellites and Fleet Broadband service.
The only issue is that any changes are unlikely to come into force before 2020. The IMO is notoriously slow to change, so there’s a chance that the satellites may have got to the end of their working life by then!!!
Roger Horner of e3 Systems
email on firstname.lastname@example.org and website www.e3s.com
Tel: +34 971 404 208