By the time you read this, we will know who won the Euros and who won Wimbledon and Team GB will have won many Olympic medals in Tokyo (fingers crossed)! I know a lot of our owners and guests have been enjoying all this live sport on their yachts wherever they have been cruising during the last few weeks.
From black and white TVs to Silicon Wafer Microelectronics
Since 1966, there have been significant advances in technology, to say the least. And none of these would have been possible without the extraordinary development of the miniaturisation of microelectronics. Microelectronics is silicon wafer technology which has resulted in one generation after another of higher power processors, and increasingly smaller memory chips. During the 1970s and 1980s, our PCs became redundant every six months as new higher power processors with larger memory were introduced. I started a software house in 1982, and everything we developed had to be redeveloped continuously in order to take advantage of the latest processing power and memory. From there on, processors were built into every device and designers ran riot with product ideas.
Three decades later, our man-made technology has expanded and penetrated every corner of our lives for good and for bad. It is certainly partly responsible for aggravating but also for helping to combat climate change. It has enabled the faster production of new vaccines. It has changed the way wars are waged. Fifty-two years ago, man remarkably landed on the moon using what now looks like ancient technology, and today several countries are still reaching for the moon. We’re able to land and re-use rockets, and life on Mars is becoming a realistic possibility.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Digital Twin?
A buzz acronym in today’s basket of new technology is AI (Artificial Intelligence) which is not quite as scary as it sounds. AI is simply billions of lines of software code written by man, containing every rule and every instruction developed by all the human experts over the years. When run using today’s supercomputer processors, AI can make decisions, and do super complex jobs incorporating every rule at the same time and can do so much faster than any man could. However, the Intelligence itself is created by man, not the machine, hence the use of the word “Artificial”. Getting machines to think and be creative, now that could get really scary.
Machine Learning is when a computer learns every characteristic of a healthy, fully functioning machine. This could be an electric motor for example, or a propellor. One of the characteristics would be the recording of the vibrations at different speeds. Once the computer has stored every characteristic of a healthy electric motor or propellor this is then called its Digital Twin. This requires the storage of billions of test results in massive, memory vaults.
Once these three components are put together, the AI software can compare the actual characteristics of the electric motor or the propellor when running and continuously compare it to their Digital Twins and pick up any anomaly, and as such predict and warn of a failure before it happens.
Will Elon Musk’s Starlink be the next best satcom solution for yachts?
Some very interesting new technology has been developed by Elon Musk’s Space X and Starlink teams.
Starlink is well ahead in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite deployment race, basically because Elon Musk also owns the space launch company Space X, so he can deploy batches of new satellites when he wants to. There are now 1,500 Starlink satellites operational of the planned 30,000, and connectivity is now available over major parts of Europe after the initial beta service in the USA and Canada. These beta testers have used land-based terminals accessing a cheap, ultra-fast, low latency communications service.
I have a couple of yacht captain friends who have put their name and deposit down for a land based Starlink beta terminal here in Mallorca. They have asked me when they will be able to benefit from this cheap and ultra-fast service on board their yacht. So, here is an update.
A Starlink maritime service will not be available for a few years
There are some major reasons why it will take some time:
- Starlink satellites need to connect to a ground station to connect to the internet and many of these have been installed on land. However, there are none at sea. This means the service can only currently be used on or close to land.
- In order to work at sea, Starlink satellites will need to relay their signal to another satellite until it reaches one that has a direct link with a ground station. This will be achieved by setting up laser links between satellites, but these laser links are estimated to cost multiples of the actual deployed satellites.
- The current Starlink 1 satellites have not been equipped with these laser links and we will have to wait for the full deployment of Starlink 2 satellites in about 5 years.
- All communication connections are more expensive at sea and in remotely populated regions due to less demand. Therefore, the price paid at sea is bound to be much higher than that paid ashore.
- The current land-based beta antenna is being offered at US$500 when the actual cost is around US$2,500. This is a fixed antenna that tracks the orbiting satellites, but it cannot be used on a mobile platform that also pitches, yaws, rolls and is prone to saltwater corrosion. A maritime mobile terminal will cost a lot more.
- All LEO constellations must switch off when they cross the area of the GEO satellites around the equator. This means that the antenna will have to track multiple satellites simultaneously to keep the connection so a very sophisticated maritime antenna will be required, or potentially more than one antenna will be required.
- Starlink will only be able to offer LEO service. A yacht may be better served with a HYBRID service combining LEO, MEO and GEO.
Elon Musk has a reputation for doing things that nobody has done before. He has stated that his only focus with Starlink is not to go bankrupt! At the end of the day the Starlink maritime service and antenna will cost considerably more than the current subsidised beta land version. Watch this space, as I will keep you informed as we get to know more.
Meet Maru Burguete
e3 Systems USA, Office Administration Assistant
I am originally from Mexico City, but I have been living in Florida since 2001. My husband’s company brought us to live here. We only came for 3 years, and we decided this was the place we wanted to raise our family. Now we are a family of four with two teenagers at home. We are now U.S. citizens and even though in 2017 we went back to live in Mexico for one year, we decided to return to this multicultural paradise.
After coming back, I started looking for a job. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, so when my friend Alicia offered me a position as Assistant Administrator for e3 Systems USA, this was a great opportunity for me.
November 4th, 2019 was my first day at e3 Systems and from the first moment I knew this was a different company. I felt so welcomed and I love the workplace environment. Working at e3 Systems USA has been a great opportunity and I feel so blessed every single day.
In e3 Systems you can work as a team, and I can say this has been the success of the company during these 25 years! All the departments work together with a purpose in mind to fulfil the needs of every vessel with excellent service and attitude.
As an Assistant Administrator I try to help to fulfil the mission of e3 Systems and I enjoy the opportunity to interact and assist all the captains and crew members. At the same time, I appreciate all the suppliers who help us to complete our goals. I started helping with TV services and now I am getting involved with Airtime services, this has given me the opportunity to be more in contact with my colleagues in Spain and I love it.
Outside working hours, I love spending time with my family, and if you do not see us at a soccer game where my sons are playing, then we must be at a dinner with friends. I love to travel and although I am not a professional photographer, I try to capture special places and moments. I love to read and study new subjects. My favourite sport is Pilates, and I run twice a week. I love community work and some weekends I help my home church by translating the service from English to Spanish. It is very hard for me to stay still, because I always love to learn new things, but at the same time I’m happy to spend an afternoon at the beach enjoying the beautiful Florida weather. After all we have been through during the last year, more than ever I just do my best to make each day count!
For further info on e3 VSAT and SUPER DATA
+34 971 404 208
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