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GTMaritime offers customisable news service to support crew welfare

Mike McNally, global commercial director, GTMaritime. Image courtesy of GTMaritime. Mike McNally, global commercial director, GTMaritime. Image courtesy of GTMaritime.

GTMaritime is introducing a fully-customisable news distribution service for vessel owners and operators helping them keep their crews up-to-date on events unfolding in their home countries as well as offering a selection of lighter content to help maintain morale.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} Specifically designed for the marine environment, GTNews4Crew can be configured according to the nationalities and interests of a vessel’s crew. News channels can be selected based on language preferences to ensure articles delivered to vessels are both relevant and relatable. News is available in 20 languages, including those of the major seafarer nations, such as Indian, Filipino, and Russian.

Mike McNally, global commercial director at GTMaritime said: “A multilingual, locally-sourced solution was essential to avoid ‘foreign hotel TV’ syndrome, where you end up watching domestic broadcasts in the typically futile hope something from home will crop up and, if it does, then trying to piece the story together from any captions, footage, or listening beneath over-dubs. It invariably leaves you none the wiser.”

Another priority was accessibility. Today, most seafarers bring their own devices aboard to keep themselves entertained when off-duty. Once news articles have been downloaded to the onboard GTNews4Crew server, they can be viewed from personal laptops, tablets, smartphones by pointing them to the ship’s internal network.

“This allows crew to catch-up on happenings at home or the progress of their favourite sports team anytime and anywhere, whether as a talking point with their colleagues over a meal, or at the end of the day from the privacy of their cabin.”

Furthermore, because the news content is hosted locally, crew are not faced with the dilemma of whether or not to use their calling cards or allocated internet quota to keep abreast of rapidly developing events in their home countries, such as the Covid-19 outbreak. This means they are less likely to be worried by rumours or misinformation spread over social media.

GTNews4Crew is easy to deploy, with ready-made packages and scripts for all major computer operating systems and versions. Once up and running, content options can be managed on a vessel-by-vessel or fleetwide basis via a simple-to-use dashboard.

For ships with limited connectivity, GTNews4Crew also features granular control over how much and how often fresh news content is distributed in order to keep download sizes manageable. In the case of severe bandwidth constraints, the delivery of any images accompanying articles can be switched off.

“By default GTNews4Crew compresses each package of news before it is sent out and you would be surprised at how much can be squeezed into a few megabytes. But we understand broadband availability still varies significantly from fleet to fleet and from ship to ship", added McNally.

A basic version of GTNews4Crew will be provided as standard to all GTMail4Crew subscription customers. GTMaritime are also providing all customers with a trial of the basic version of GTNews4Crew for an initial 2-month period after which they can upgrade to the full version, continue enjoying the basic version by subscribing to GTMail4Crew, or end their trial. {/mprestriction}

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    With the quantity of data shared between vessels and shore-side teams increasing at an accelerating rate, personnel onboard and ashore are having to spend ever more time uploading, downloading and managing file transfers manually. As well as being tedious, such repetitive tasks increase error risks, with the potential for serious financial consequences if the data lost or overwritten is needed to verify compliance.

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    GTReplicate is performance optimised for use in a marine environment. This means it operates across a variety of connectivity platforms, including 3G, 4G, L-band and VSAT, maximising throughput in each case. To further conserve bandwidth, GTReplicate monitors files intelligently, only sending on those that have changed since the last replication.

    Acknowledging the range of specialised software used on ships and the diversity of onboard network configurations between fleets, there are no artificially imposed limits on the type or size of file GTReplicate can handle. It also enables automated bi-directional transfer of selected files, folders, or entire folder structures with multiple mechanisms for maintaining total data integrity. Shore-side email can be used as both replication source and target.

    GTReplicate provides shore-based fleet IT managers with a central cloud-based dashboard for configuring and controlling every aspect of how replication takes place, without having to involve crew. Advanced options include ship-specific task creation as well as pre- and post-transfer processing for maximum flexibility.

    With a nod to an increasing need for stringent security auditing, GTReplicate comes complete with a full suite of notification, journaling and reporting functions as standard, ranging from basic timestamping to granular detail on execution status and files moved. Likewise, it features robust and flexible archiving functionalities.

    Mike McNally, global commercial director at GTMaritime, commented: “Shipowners are now embracing digitalisation as a low-overhead route to improved operational efficiency, but the growing information flow poses challenges for manual processes in ship-to-shore data transfer. GTMaritime created GTReplicate to provide a scalable, secure and highly configurable solution for automating file transfers and averting a data logjam.”

    FastNet is a multi-stream platform designed for today's data demands. Employing a variety of bandwidth management techniques, it optimises, secures and then transfers data packets according to business needs. It will form the core of all GTMaritime products going forward and can be made available to its customers for bespoke digitalisation projects.

     

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