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Crew social calling is a growing but still under exploited market. Several challenges exist today that prevent the market from being fully exploited, such as:
The project will develop a low cost integrated hardware solution which is easy to install on vessels. Compression techniques will be employed to minimise the bandwidth required to carry voice channels over the satellite link. Modification of the UMTS system management protocol will be required to reduce the amount of data required to operate the PICO cell over a satellite link to reduce the operational cost to an acceptable level.
An affordable crew calling solution will be produced which is capable of delivering voice and SMS while at sea at competitive rates. Crew morale is significantly improved when they can communicate with friends and family which results in improved operational efficiency for the ship owner and improved crew retention.
The system will use the next generation maritime Inmarsat terminal, Fleet Broad Band, running over the BGAN network. A low cost UMTS PICO cell base station will be integrated with the terminal to provide an affordable easy to install solution for ship owners and operators.
The product will utilise Inmarsat?s Fleetbroadband system and will be launched once global coverage has been achieved in 2008.
The system design phase is complete. A baseline design review has been held. EMS is currently updating documentation following the Baseline Design Review.