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January 19, 2012

Maersk Line, Ericsson Partner to Bring Mobile Connectivity to the Oceans

By Meenakshi Shankar, TMCnet Contributor

Shipping company Maersk Line is all set to provide new and efficient ways of communication to its fleet by signing a deal with technology and services provider Ericsson (News - Alert).

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Under the terms of this agreement, Maersk will introduce end-to-end systems integration and deployment of mobile and satellite communication to its entire vessel fleet. Ericsson's integrated maritime mobile and very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite solution will bring extended connectivity to the entire fleet, allowing for new ways of communicating and contributing to efficiency, reliability and cost reduction. It also paves the way for immediate access to remote expertise, resulting in extended access to information and, in turn, improved efficiency in the vessels' daily operations.

“We're proud to be able to connect Maersk Line's fleet with our technology. We believe in a Networked Society, where connectivity will only be the starting point for new ways of innovating, collaborating and socializing. The result will be automated and simplified processes, higher productivity, real-time information allowing quicker, more informed decision making and problem solving,” said Hans Vestberg (News - Alert), president and chief executive officer of Ericsson said in a press release.

The Maersk Line fleet consists of more than 500 container vessels. Over the next two years, Maersk Line said it will outfit 400 of these vessels with Ericsson antennas and GSM base stations. The company is also planning to upgrade the service to the remaining vessels in future.

As part of the agreement, Ericsson will provide seven years of global managed services support, including 24/7 network monitoring and onboard maintenance services in a large number of ports across all major regions.

“We're quite pleased to be the first fleet to be connected with mobile communication technology. We believe it would provide us good opportunities to run our fleet more efficiently.” said Søren Toft, vice president of Maersk Line Operations.

The company is of the opinion that for the shipping industry, mobile communication can provide the opportunity to employ new and efficient ways of addressing fleet management, manage delivery times, improve interaction with vessels, enable proactive issue resolution and prompt information sharing with customers and even improve energy efficiency.

Until now, Maersk Line's high-tech modern container ships have been equipped with satellite connectivity primarily intended to support communication for vital shipboard functions.

In other news, Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) recently announced that it signed a five-year deal to provide infrastructure services to Maersk Line.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration, click here.

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Meenakshi Shankar is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell