This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
To ensure safety at sea, crew members on cruise ships and passenger ferries need to be able to monitor critical operational data, communicate with other shipboard colleagues and share information with shoreside colleagues. Meanwhile, passengers want to be able to communicate with family and friends, stream movies and TV shows, or access e-mail, social media and other internet services during their cruises or ferry journeys. This means that operators must implement a reliable IT infrastructure that incorporates a well-equipped shipboard data center, unified communication systems, wireless local area networks, voice-over-wireless local area networks, monitoring services and more.
German company BSH IT Solutions has been providing these types of solutions and services since 2003 and can help ship operators to plan, develop and implement any IT project at sea. The company offers consulting and project management services, onboard IT hardware and equipment that meets a detailed list of requirements, and 24/7 monitoring services that are hosted in its data centers. Each client is also assigned an experienced project manager who will personally observe the IT infrastructure installation at sea to guarantee the stability of the system. Most importantly, BSH IT Solutions’ team provides ongoing support to its customers post-implementation. Located in north-west Germany, BSH IT Solutions’ staging areas are also in close proximity to several major shipyards, making the company an ideal partner for operators in the shipping industry.
“We have 15 years’ experience and extensive expertise of equipping cruise ships with IT infrastructures,” says Sascha Sambach, CEO of BSH IT Solutions. “We cover the entire process from project management to implementation, and we provide 24/7 support.”
This year, BSH IT Solutions introduced a new product named Cruise OneNet, which offers shipping companies real added value. With Cruise OneNet, all ships can be linked, for example, to BSH’s own data centre to create a common network.
An important benefit is that all administrative activities – for all ships operating via Cruise OneNet – can be carried out via the central management system. Security, which is of great importance, is guaranteed by central support access including two-factor authentication. In addition, Cruise OneNet offers automated failover to protect data and IT systems in the event that functions or providers experience an operational failure. The functions are restored or redirected to other functions or providers. Plus, the central monitoring tool - that evaluates the volume, access and function of services from individual providers - complements the functionality of Cruise OneNet. This shows, for example, which provider has caused which issues.
An example of how Cruise OneNet from BSH IT Solutions can help ship operators is by providing an additional temporary internet connection such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE). Cruise OneNet makes it possible to connect the ship at the pier to an LTE hotspot at a port. Once the ship is connected to the shore, Cruise OneNet will automatically switch between the ship’s and the port’s internet providers depending on which one is providing the fastest service at the time.
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