NSSLGlobal surveys show performance beats costs as priority for Satcom users

    25th Apr 2016

    By: Nikolaj Hvegholm

    NSSLGlobal surveys show performance beats costs as priority for Satcom users

    While exhibiting at Digital Ship Hamburg and Digital Ship Copenhagen recently NSSLGlobal ran a series of surveys aimed at followers of @TheDigitalShip’s Twitter account. NSSLGlobal was keen to understand what was most important to maritime professionals in making a purchasing decision regarding satcom systems.

    From the 266 respondents, the results were as follows:


    1. Performance (45%)
    2. Cost (24%)
    3. Global On-Board Service (16%)
    4. Customer Service (15%)


    What do these results tell us?

    Firstly they clearly demonstrate the growing importance of speed and capacity to the modern maritime business. As vessels grow increasingly reliant on IT they are required to gather and process ever growing amounts of data. This could range from engine data to mapping to Big Data related to exploration or drilling.

    To all extents and purposes, as the role of IT and data expands, the systems on board many vessels are now seen as extensions of their land-based IT network. Sourcing satcom systems that can keep up with such demands has to be a priority for such businesses.

    Then there’s the crew: As individuals’ lives are increasingly digitised (from their social interactions to their online banking), their expectations is for digital access everywhere, all the time. Crew members frequently expect speeds at sea similar to land-based broadband. This further pushes up the expectation on performance.

    The fact that our respondents considered cost to be a secondary concern suggests the primacy of performance in today’s market. However, it also indicates the improvement that have been seen in recent years in terms of the value-for-money derived from satcom systems. The fact that VSAT packages, for example, are now available on predictable fixed monthly tariffs makes integration of satcom systems more manageable from a cost point of view. Such tariffs have done a great deal to drive the increasing popularity of VSAT systems.

    What’s more, companies are now better at recognising the financial gains to be derived from satcom systems, (again highlighting why performance is such a key factor for most respondents). Underperforming satcom systems that are not fit for purpose can affect a business’ bottom line, whereas properly-specced equipment can add considerably to a business ability to make profit.

    And why weren’t customer service and ‘global on-board coverage’ considered as important?

    As coverage has improved, and more and more systems are able to fall back to alternate constellations and frequencies as standard to ensure near-universal coverage, the trend towards ‘global’ coverage is starting to be regarded as a ‘given’. I’d argue that now users don’t consider near-global coverage a bonus as much as they consider its absence a failure.

    However, I suspect that the lack of emphasis on customer service is probably misleading. After all, leading customer service is a difficult thing to qualify when buying into a satcom ecosystem. Nonetheless, customers will be only too ready to change suppliers should they call in to address an issue, and receive an unsatisfactory response. This is one of the reasons NSSLGlobal has always prided itself on its 24/7, top-rated customer support services; one of our key tools in our outstanding levels of customer retention.

    Related subjects
    Maritime Communications
    VSAT Broadband
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    Maritime Sector
    NSSLGlobal awarded VSAT Service Provider


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