A third of operators said that they expected digitalisation to bring savings of over $10 million within 12 months
Mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat has published a new report on attitudes to digitalisation in the ferry industry, drawing on interviews with 10 ferry owners by consultancy JG Maritime Solutions.
The Global Status of Ferry Digitalisation Report – Uncovering the Passenger and Operational Advantage report provides an assessment of the pressures driving ferry digitalisation and how higher-capacity satellite services can help control costs, create revenue and improve the passenger experience.
“Previously, bandwidth limitations meant that the full potential of satellite technology had not been realised in the ferry sector,” says Les Shortall, director of market development for yachting and passenger at Inmarsat. “This report demonstrates there are good reasons for owners to evaluate the flexible and affordable broadband services already serving tens of thousands of vessels worldwide and providing operational and safety benefits such as real-time situational awareness.”
One in three ferry operators said that they expected digitalisation to bring savings of over $10 million within 12 months, while four out of 10 interviewed mentioned revenue creation as an important driver for digital investment. Out of all passenger ship owners contacted, 43 per cent see digitalisation as a means of supporting compliance with regulations and certification, while 18 per cent said that creating new value for customers was their primary reason for pursuing digitalisation.
The report suggests that digitalisation can also help to ensure passenger loyalty by meeting expectations for reliable connectivity. It also proposes that ancillary services enabled by connectivity such as retail offerings, upgrades, and contactless transactions could help to generate additional revenue and passenger safety. On the other hand, technologies such as virtual reality are suggested as being possible enablers of greater efficiency in crew operations.
“Inmarsat knows from its aviation experience that some passengers prioritise wi-fi access over inflight meals or entertainment when choosing airlines,” said Shortall. “Digitalisation can create new revenues but also expedite customer loyalty to help ensure ferries remain a preferred transport option. Robust new satellite technology and the advent of digital platforms can enable ferry operators to become leaner, increase their agility to deliver a safe travel experience and secure the opportunities offered by ancillary revenues.”
The full Global Status of Ferry Digitalisation Report can be downloaded via Inmarsat’s website here.
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