Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

1 3 3 Pramod Arora accepted the Seatrade Cruise Product of the Year Award in 2021 for WMS’s advances in cruise ship wireless networks consumes content in real time, streaming both ways, and cruise lines need to consider these trends to provide the activities that guests want.” For example, e-sports venues could become commonplace on cruise ships with seamless participation by passenger mobile devices. “5G presents a lot of opportunities, so it’s important that we look into making that a reality for passengers through unique products like private LTE/5G, which are dedicated on-premises networks designed to make these exciting use cases possible for the passengers in a secure and reliable manner. In addition, there are many other applications for cruise line staff, onboard commerce and interactions that we are excited about as well.” One way that WMS is helping cruise lines deliver these experiences is through continuing its own technological evolution. While WMS is planning 5G deployments, their 4G LTE solution won the Seatrade Cruise Product of the Year Award in 2021 in recognition of the investments and advances it makes in cruise ship wireless networks. Delivering the experiences that customers want and need cannot be done through a one-size-fits-all approach. “We need to look at it from a customer-centric point of view,” says Arora. “Not everyone wants the same type of connectivity. At WMS, we pride ourselves on helping our customers create an ecosystem where people have a choice that is unencumbered by barriers such as the availability of technology, communication about technology and pricing plans. When guests feel forced to use technology in certain ways based on these barriers, it ultimately erodes cruise brand loyalty and guest satisfaction.” Arora saw the cruising hiatus during Covid-19 as a valuable learning opportunity, not just in managing the business through an unprecedented crisis, but also in working in partnership with customers and suppliers. “Many organisations in the industry needed to carefully maintain their partnerships and focus on collaboration for survival,” he says. “When cruise ships and their crew became stranded at sea and unable to dock, we provided free wi-fi so that they could keep in touch with their family members. We also asked for certain concessions from our customers as we too needed to manage our business in a zero-revenue environment, and most of them partnered with us to ride out the crisis together. “This experience has shown us, and the rest of the world, how important connectivity is. Going forward, we want to ensure that connectivity is as easy to use as possible for cruise passengers, so they can focus on the things that are really important: connecting with family, friends and co-workers. Let connectivity be the least of their decision-making process as they plan a cruise vacation.” CFR “ Having that connectivity with the outside world is now often a key part of enjoying a vacation”