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Maritime IoT Connectivity Is Simplified Using One Global SIM

IoT-SIMs are used on board ships in a similar way to those used in connected vehicles. However, as ships travel between ports on continents all over the globe, connectivity can be complicated and costly. Telenor’s Global Data SIM simplifies this process by ensuring more predictable pricing and reliable connectivity.

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Gerrit Jan Konijnenberg
September 8, 2022

Our world is becoming more and more connected. Just think about the apps we use on our mobile phones, wearables such as fitness trackers, connected vehicles that offer dynamic route planning and even remote software updates. In the maritime vertical, IoT is supporting the digital transformation in operational processes, automated ESG reporting and much more. Digitalisation brings with it exciting possibilities that will certainly continue to shape the future of operations at sea.

Every day, Telenor is connecting millions of IoT devices in various industry segments. Telenor Maritime enables digitalisation on board ships by collecting IoT signals from sensors and devices on board. Third party applications are hosted on an innovative on-board platform that accesses and collects IoT data from all the connected systems on board the ship in one place.

The availability of bandwidth varies as ships travel. A prioritisation service ensures that the most critical IoT data is sent first, and other data can be assigned a lower priority. This is important since not all IoT data will need to be sent on shore instantly.

In some cases, such as on cruise ships, hundreds of onboard IoT signals are collected during the voyage, stored on shore and published on an dashboard. The data is then reviewed to develop insights and actions.

Telenor IoT and Telenor Maritime have developed the Global Data SIM to provide connectivity in coastal areas all over the world. The Global Data SIM is different from typical local IoT SIMs, since those sims are often intended for land-based networks (such as NB-IoT etc.), handling small to medium quantities of data. The Global Data SIM is designed for large volumes of data, worldwide. Many ships are close to the shoreline the majority of the time, and in such cases the Global Data SIM is a better and more cost-effective solution compared to satellite.

The ship operators use the SIM Management Platform to monitor data usage of their vessels. Monthly reports are downloadable, improving the invoicing process for all vessels in a connected fleet. Also,  monthly thresholds can be set to ensure predictable costs.

The Global Data SIM may be used across 6 geographical maritime zones covering 140 countries. Via remote access management, the SIMs may be deactivated in a specific zone if required, explains Gerrit Jan Konijnenberg, a veteran of global mobile connectivity.

Challenges for the Maritime Vertical

There are many different SIM types that may be used in a maritime setting, local pre-paid SIMs and national operator SIMs being the most common.

Each of these SIMs have their own pros and cons, explains Konijnenberg: 

  • Pre-paid cards are low cost, but when used for a whole fleet they are more difficult to manage and costly. Handling internal invoicing and topping-up the prepaid allowance when consumed can take a lot of time.
  • The national operator SIMs are a good option for usage in national waters, for deep-sea fishing, and roaming in neighbouring countries, such as on river cruises. However, they are less suitable for global shipping, as the national operators often have more costly roaming agreements with countries on the other side of the world.

By using a dedicated maritime global data SIM, these challenges are avoided. The Global Data SIM provides global connectivity based on Telenor’s roaming agreements with our own 24/7 NOC and SOC support, explains Konijnenberg.

Complete Solution

Konijnenberg has worked with shipowners for more than a decade. No ships are the same: some vessels have many passengers, some have time-critical data, some are sailing globally, some have satellite connectivity while others don’t. The configuration of both the SIM and antenna needs to be considered. It is important to have a robust SIM with global coverage, without down-throttling the speed. That is why we developed the Global Data SIM, a bill-shock free solution where cost is predictable, managed through a user-friendly interface.

According to Konijnenberg, this is important due to the large volume of data sent from ship to shore.

We deliver the Global Data SIM including the remote management platform as a stand-alone solution. However, we can provide the whole infrastructure, which includes the on board IoT collection device and a hosting platform as well as modems and antenna’s which then also includes the services from our Network Operations Centre.

To sum up: a connected ship that is almost constantly at sea will likely move through both reasonably priced and very expensive networks. This challenge has often been handled by using local SIMs – but that has proven to be a time-consuming and unreliable task because it is easily forgotten, leading to billing-surprises. The Global Data SIM ensures predictable pricing along the coastline of more than 140 countries, across 6 maritime zones, and complete coverage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

So, just like when you drive your connected vehicle across a national border, a captain or fleet manager can now navigate the vessel-connectivity across countries coastlines without worrying about an expensive bill in the future – instead, the Global Data SIM will take care of it!

For additional information contact: 

Gerrit Jan Konijnenberg, Director Strategic and Commercial Development at Telenor Maritime

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