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Ship-wide cloud for cruise and ferry vessels

Maritime Communications Partner (MCP) today announced the launch of VAVE, a digital platform that creates a ship-wide cloud on board cruise or ferry ships.

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VAVE (Value Added Voyage Experience) utilises a vessel’s GSM signal and Wi-Fi network to create an ‘onboard cloud’ that all mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.) can be part of. Users can then access a range of services – such as free messaging (if desired) over Wi-Fi, or onboard retail/booking systems – while shipowners can target individual handsets with personalised messages.

The launch follows an eight-month technical trial on the Corsica Sardinia vessel Mega Express Five.

MCP, a subsidiary of Telenor, says that it expects the first commercial contract to be announced soon, with senior vice president of Business Innovation, Ole Kristian Sivertsen, calling VAVE “a complete game changer for the industry.”

“At sea handsets go into hibernation. VAVE reawakens their potential by providing the same sort of connectivity on sea as on land, only with a package that is customised for the unique environment of every individual vessel,” he said.

Developed in partnership with iES Italia and exclusively licensed to MCP, the system utilises GSM and Wi-Fi to create a vessel-wide network driven by a VAVE delivery and platform engine. Passengers and crew can access the platform on large screen public TVs, in-cabin screens, and all personal mobile devices. VAVE is available on Apple and Android devices, as well as through web browsers.

MCP says that the cloud created by VAVE’s onboard server solution allows content to reside locally, thus limiting VSAT costs.

Services include: accessing on-demand entertainment, VoIP messaging and calling, location-based services (to allow passengers to find their way around, or take advantage of special offers nearby), connections to onboard social networks to make new friends, booking tables, trips or treats, using social media, and so on. Selected services either charged on a usage basis, or available free

“The benefits for the shipowner are even more compelling,” said Mr Sivertsen.

“MCP’s CellAtSea mobile network identifies every phone on board. This means that shipowners can use VAVE to send tailor-made marketing messages to individuals. It opens up a channel of one-to-one communication to engage with guests and enhance their enjoyment, while increasing revenues, enriching the overall brand experience, and boosting loyalty.”

MCP, which has more than 160 vessels signed to its CellAtSea network, tested VAVE onboard Mega Express Five, the 1,800 pax Corsica Sardinia ferry that sails routes between Nice in continental France and Bastia in Corsica.

“The potential is enormous,” said Mr Sivertsen.

“VAVE enables today’s devices in a way that is currently unheard of at sea.”

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