Hong Kong: Celebrating its tenth year of operations is SMSGlobal, the company that introduced the first universal two-way SMS text messaging and crew email service for seafarers.
The number of vessels now equipped with SMSGlobal’s CrewCommCenter has reached 3,000. CrewCommCenter creates an onboard internet café, allowing seafarers to stay in touch with family and friends without interfering with the ship's official business communications.
Today, around the globe, more than 120,000 seafarers use CrewCommCenter to exchange approximately 2.2m messages with over 1.3m friends and loved ones onshore each month.
“This milestone is a testament to CrewCommCenter and cements it as the crew communications solution of choice,” says Capt. Ivar Thomasli, chairman of SMSGlobal. “Much has evolved from the simple two-way email and SMS messaging system we started with ten years ago to where we are today – a full-blown internet café facility.”
Speaking to Maritime CEO Thomasli notes how 10 years ago it was very rare that seafarers had direct access to communication at all. The normal way of communicating was by sat phone which was very expensive – still is – and from time to time sending and receiving emails using the captain's PC. No privacy and in most cases the captain has already read the mail before the seafarers receive it.
“In the last 10 years,” says Thomasli, “a large change has taken place and most shipowners realise that to keep their crew happy, communication is a must if you want to retain your crew and officers.”
Looking ahead to the next 10 years Thomasli says that just like the terrestrial communications landscape, competition in the maritime communications industry will be very fierce.
“Innovation, adaptability, dynamism and customer-centeredness are key,” he reckons.
Later this year SMSGlobal launches its seafarer-focused social networking portal Se@MeNow designed to further bridge the communications gap between the seafarer and their loved ones while at the same time, leveraging on current technological trends that make acceptance and take-up of the service much easier.
“The portal is also the springboard to more products, services and content like video chat, online gaming, VoIP, online shopping just to name a few,” explains Thomasli. [03/09/13]