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Videoconferencing for crew

DigiGone, a Florida-based company specialising in encrypted software-based communication, has announced the introduction of a new videoconferencing service specifically designed for crew welfare.

The DigiCrew package enables video services, but also offers audio only and text messages. The system is planned for launch early in 2014.

DigiGone explains that its proprietary signal compression and encryption technology allows it to use less bandwidth to transmit data than mainstream systems. It says that a video transmission uses 90 kbps – less than 10 per cent of what is required with other commercially available video services. Audio-only calls use 12 kbps.

“Now, for the first time, there’s an affordable videoconferencing service for crew, optimised for transmission over narrowband satellite service,” said Michael Dunleavy, president and CEO.

“Imagine the joy of being able to see your wife’s face or blow a kiss to your daughter on her first birthday from thousands of miles away. Making visual communication possible at an affordable price can go a long way to increase crew morale, enhance productivity on the job and improve retention rates.”

The DigiCrew licences cost what the company says is “a few dollars per month” for each crewmember. The software can be downloaded by e-mail and installed on most PCs, laptops, Android smartphones and tablets.

The basic package includes multiple shore licences, allowing crewmembers to set up DigiCrew links with several different locations – for example, one for a spouse, one for parents and one for a sibling or friend. Crewmembers can suspend the monthly service fees when they are not at sea and reactivate licences when they are back at sea.

DigiCrew will be offered to the maritime market through DigiGone value-added resellers (VARs) who will package it with their portfolios of satellite communication products and services. Globecomm, a provider of managed network communication solutions, has signed on as the first DigiCrew VAR. 

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