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KVH expands content delivery services

ChartCo’s digital navigational charts have been added to the IP-MobileCast portfolio ChartCo’s digital navigational charts have been added to the IP-MobileCast portfolio

KVH has launched YOURlink, a pay-per-video content delivery service that can be used to distribute company-produced videos to all vessels in a fleet, while also introducing a partnership with ChartCo to transmit digital charts and publications to ships under the name CHARTlink. Both services will form part of KVH’s IP-MobileCast content delivery platform.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The YOURlink service will allow corporate videos to be viewed on the ship’s common-area TV and from the seafarers’ own tablets, smartphones, and PCs. Containership manager Seaspan was among the first to try the service, producing a four-minute video to emphasise the company’s safety policies that was then sent to dozens of vessels.

“To get this video out to the ships would have taken at least a month if we had tried to use conventional means. With YOURlink, the delivery was almost immediate,” said David Kramer, director of procurement for Seaspan.

Other types of custom media files KVH expects to be sent via YOURlink include training and procedural videos and corporate updates, with support for all popular media file formats and multilingual subtitles included. Reporting features built into IP-MobileCast enable KVH to inform the ship operator as to vessel delivery status and how many times the video has been played on board.

“As we rolled out our core IP-MobileCast entertainment service over the last three years, we learned that our larger fleet customers were producing their own videos, covering all sorts of practical issues,” said Robert Hopkins Jr, KVH’s director of IP-MobileCast services.

“But they were stumped by the same two problems that IP-MobileCast already solved: delivering the content and showing it on board. YOURlink distributes videos to vessels at sea rapidly, and presents them in our entertainment space, where crew already browse during their off-watch hours.”

To utilise YOURlink, vessels must be equipped with a KVH TracPhone V7-IP or V11-IP antenna system, and have an active mini-VSAT Broadband airtime plan. Some playback options also require an IP-MobileCast Media Server.

There is a pay-per-video cost to send the media file, but there is no impact on the vessel’s monthly data allowance, connection speed, or airtime bill. YOURlink fees are quoted based on user requirements. The service is planned for release during the second half of 2017.

CHARTlink meanwhile will see KVH transmit complete chart data and publications on a weekly basis to subscribing vessels, included at no additional charge to subscribers to the company’s AgilePlans. KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband customers who wish to purchase CHARTlink for ChartCo separately can do so for a fixed monthly fee of US$49 per vessel.

Licenses for access to the encrypted content will be available from ChartCo. The content available includes ChartCo’s proprietary digital products, and, as ChartCo is an authorised ADMIRALTY distributor, all United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) vector charts and e-publications.

“We keep a close track of developments in satellite communications to determine the best solution for getting voyage-dependent content to customers who transit the globe on thousands of vessels,” said Martin Taylor, CEO of ChartCo.

“Our evaluation of IP-MobileCast led us to conclude that it’s a great solution. We’re happy to be working with KVH on this joint initiative and new delivery method, and are confident our customers will appreciate its timeliness, reliability, and low price point.”

In related news, KVH subsidiary Videotel has launched a new eLearning package for marine engineers, covering 12 critical subject areas and containing 100 modules.

Practical Engineering Suite delivers training to a level of competence required by the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW), and is accessible on a variety of platforms, including mobile devices.{/mprestriction}

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