SES Networks revealed its plans for improving the passenger experience at a presentation held online on December 9, 2022.
SES is working on providing reliable connectivity via satellites and the company’s augmented Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) solution that provides fast, low latency connectivity.
The company is about to launch a new constellation of mPOWER satellites that will further improve the internet on cruise ships.
“The passenger experience in cruising is very correlated to connectivity,” said Greg Martin, vice president of the maritime segment at SES Networks.
“That has been a message received by SES cruise customers as we work directly in the cruise industry with five of the top six cruise operators. We deliver reliable, fast high-bandwidth satellite connectivity which are the key components of that passenger experience.”
Martin, who is responsible for developing connectivity solutions specific to the cruise segment, also added that the reliability of connectivity is also crucial for the passenger experience.
“We’ve recognized that the guests can get the best experience when they have a wholly personalized ability to look at their entire vacation from when they leave home after they book the cruise to the airport to the ship, the embarkation process, on the ship experience and departing the ship and going back. And that comes best with basically staying connected to their friends and family, potentially their work environment and being able to share that loved ones that may not be with them while they’re onboard. And that personalized experience is key to the entire cruise.”
Martin explained that improving the passenger experience is not just about Wi-Fi but a range of smart devices and wearable devices. The purpose is to enable guests to interact with the ships in a seamless process including touch-free purchasing, exchange of information, and being able to locate people on the ship and order food and beverages.
“It goes without saying that providing that experience requires a tremendous amount of connectivity.”
Martin said that delivering the right amount of connectivity to the ships has been challenging but SES Networks has managed to create a solution that supports passengers’ needs for connectivity.
“Delivering fast low latency connectivity, which is what people expect and what people have when they’re off the ship is more challenging. We’ve been able to overcome that with our SES MEO solution and that MEO solution is exclusive in the cruise industry,” he said.
“Our current generation of MEO capabilities, which has been serving the cruise industry for years, is being augmented with 90 percent more capacity with our new 03b mPOWER constellation which launches in December 2022.”
In terms of the future of connectivity, Martin said that cruise lines are moving to a frictionless experience onboard and expanding their connectivity to cover the their out islands and ports.
Martin said that the company is working on launching the latest generation of different bands of connectivity and a whole range of equipment able to support not just the connectivity needs of today but also for the future.
On the future of the cruise experience, Martin said: “What I see is that people are going to demand that all of their personal preferences, wherever they’re located on land, are replicated to the ship so they’re able to have a safe and secure experience but also that their profile and everything about them is implemented on the ship.”
Martin added that in the future, the goal will be for guests to have the same experience no matter where they are, which is a simple, interactive and frictionless experience.
He added that what’s also visible in the cruise experience is a push for a more eco-friendly environment, which has been underway for a number of years in the cruise industry.