Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

1 3 6 INTERV IEW New horizons for connectivity Brent Horwitz of Speedcast tells Elly Yates-Roberts why hybrid networks are a game changer for cruise operators, crew and guests, and how the launch of lower-Earth orbit satellites will take this one step further Connectivity has become an increasingly important part of the cruise experience. According to research by Condor Ferries, 66 per cent of millennials book their trips using smartphones and 97 per cent want to share their travel experiences on social media. With the spending power of this generation estimated at over $200 billion on travel alone, Brent Horwitz, senior vice president of the cruise and ferry segment at communications technology provider Speedcast, believes that cruise lines need to catch up with this desire of onboard connectivity, or risk being left behind. One way to do this is by leveraging the power of satellites. “By integrating satellite technology with land-based networks, we can create hybrid networks that allow us to deliver a more reliable and higher quality global communications solution for our customers,” he explains. “We can be confident that no matter where the cruise ships we’re serving are roaming, there are multiple ways we can deliver connectivity and we can select the best option based on needs and availability.” For onboard guests and crew, these hybrid networks translate into better quality internet service. “This is because devices can automatically switch between the ship’s satellite signal and the available land-based networks to provide the best available connection,” says Horwitz. “A robust, hybrid solution provides passengers and crew with the same internet experience as they’re used to at home while onboard, so they’re able to stream, browse, work, connect with family and more at the speeds to which they’re accustomed.” The benefits also extend to cruise operators. “A hybrid connectivity approach saves them from added capacity costs and bandwidth usage,” he says. “When a ship pulls into port, they can switch to land-based networks and preserve their satellite bandwidth for use the next time the vessel is at sea. While in port and using a land-based network, ship operations and IT teams can also perform important data transfers and transactions at a faster rate than if they were relying solely on the satellite “ A robust, hybrid solution provides passengers and crew with the same internet experience as they’re used to at home”