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Insight article

Hotspot Hello World In Real Time

1 Jan 2023

In the immensity of the oceans, being away from family and friends can be tough. For years, our offshore colleagues have wrestled with the isolation that accompanies life on a vessel, struggling with a conventional internet connection, making them feel disconnected from the rest of the world. However, the evolution of technology has been a good ally in making the distance less painful.

Since Shearwater started rolling out LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite connections in our vessels, our offshore colleagues are experiencing how this technology improves their days at sea.

Solving tasks quickly means less stress and extra time available to do much more. The Duchess recently installed an LEO connection for the crew and the difference is significant. “Everything is so much easier, quicker and less frustrating. Tasks can be completed in a fraction of the time leading to less wasted time and frustration, which means we can focus on other things, making for a much better work environment”, said Philippa Wing, Party Manager.

Besides that, communicating with loved ones while at sea is probably the most exciting aspect of this technology for offshore employees.

“Being able to call home via apps like WhatsApp without the line breaking up all the time makes a massive difference to the crew’s well-being. With the current setup crew can relax when they are off duty, call home, surf the internet, read the news, etc without the fear of using up all the rest of the crew’s bandwidth or getting blocked (which we used to have to do if one device was using all the bandwidth)”.

Philippa Wing, Party Manager, Offshore 

"Happy crew makes for a good trip".

This tool is an amazing gain for the onshore team as well. “We don’t need to send so many people to the vessel to do the processing work anymore. We can access the seismic data onboard our vessels in the same way we access our onshore computer centres, with the same quality”, said Jonathan Pollatos, Onboard Processing Manager.

For Philippa, the data accessibility aspect has had the largest impact. “In theory, we could reduce support vessel runs and the use of external media to ship data. This results in less fuel consumed and waste of HDDs / tapes, as only the final archive needs to be put on disk/tape. It also improves the well-being of the crew, and a happy crew makes for a good trip. It doesn’t matter if you are on one of the Amazon classes (Shearwater’s largest vessels) or one of the Gem classes (smaller), the crew is what makes for a good trip”.

LEO systems are indeed making a huge and positive impact on our crew’s life.  Jon Pollatos added that without LEO connectivity “sometimes colleagues ask me to be onboard one of these vessels for critical activities”, which was quite understandable with the slow interactive latency experience prior to LEO connectivity, but managing these projects will be much easier now! 

Jonathan Pollatos, Onboard Processing Manager, Processing & Imaging.

Today, we have 16 vessels active and half of them have LEO connectivity, with the rest due to be upgraded by the end of the year.

So, we’ll have a 100% LEO connection in all our vessels very soon, around the world, in the oceans, “reading” the seabed. We can be miles away from home, but now, this powerful connection makes us feel closer to our families’ hearts and the whole world.

Look out for future blog updates as we find more benefits to our operations and team from LEO connectivity.