IT Consequences of new developments central in meeting Platform Broadband@Sea

Autonomous shipping, alternatives for satellite communication and cyber security were the main topics of discussion, during the second meeting of the Platform Broadband@Sea this year. On Wednesday the 30th of November more than thirty participants, eight working for ship-owners / ship-managers, were present. The meeting took place at the premises of Globecomm Europe in Biddinghuizen (The Netherlands). Patrick Visser of Globecomm Europe opened the meeting by introducing Globecomm Europe and discussing the products and services they provide, for the maritime market, governmental market and other industries.

Topics and round table discussions
Ron Vollenga, secretary of the platform, discussed the agenda. During the meeting three presentations of future developments were given, followed by round table discussions of fifteen minutes each. The goal of these discussions was to challenge the platform members of thinking ahead and consider possible IT consequences of these developments.
The topic of autonomous shipping, was introduced by Robert Hekkenberg, TU Delft. Robert represented the Dutch JIP consortium which aims to do desk research and full scale tests in order to get an existing ship remote control. Several knowledge- and industry partners are already involved. During the round table discussions it was clear that bandwidth capacity should not be an issue, when it comes to autonomy. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the costs involved outweigh the advantages. The second presentation was given by Eric Finsaas of KNL Networks. Eric showed their solutions for communication without satellite. For this HF radios form an independent, intelligent autonomous MESH network, with coverage and capacity scaling up with increasing number of users. After the presentation and during the round table discussions many questions were raised on the possibilities the system offers and the costs involved. The ‘hot’ topic of cyber security was presented by Marcel van Oirschot, Fox-IT. Cyber risks are a serious threat for business continuity in every market, the shipping sector included. Whereas most companies invest in prevention only, Marcel expressed the importance of detection, having plans ready when an incident occurs, awareness and training of staff and organizational commitment to address cyber security.  After the round table discussions the representatives of Globecomm Europe showed the platform members their day to day activities and took the group to the teleport.

About the Platform Broadband@Sea
The main goal of the Platform Broadband@Sea, in which 14 ship-owners based in the Netherlands and 14 suppliers participate, is to exchange knowledge and start projects in this field. The overall organization and coordination of the Platform Broadband@Sea is done by Netherlands Maritime Technology, the Dutch association for shipyards, maritime suppliers and service providers.