Spotlight on digitalisation at Cannes Yachting Festival
The French leisure maritime sector presents a modern, luxurious, and picturesque setting for the Cannes Yachting Festival. Since 1977, this pioneer international boating event brings together 550+ exhibitors and 50,000+ sailing enthusiasts to the bay of Cannes, hosting 100+ sailing boats, monohulls, and multi-hulls. Further strengthening its commitment to the French leisure and sailing sector, IEC Telecom is heading to Vieux Port & Port Canto from September 6th to 11th, 2022.
“We have a long-standing relationship with the French boating ecosystem and a solid physical presence with two offices in France, enabling us to be close to our customers in the thriving leisure maritime industry. This is our seventh time participating at the Cannes Yachting Festival, and with the strong boom in sales and charter transactions, we anticipate tremendous interest in our state-of-the-art satcom solutions that have been specially designed keeping in mind the unique requirements of our leisure maritime customers,” says Gwenaël Lohéac, Managing Director and President – Europe, IEC Telecom Group.
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the leisure maritime sector saw a 25% reduction in revenue. Fortunately, this was short-lived. By early 2021, the concept of leisure time onboard yachts transformed threefold: many boats essentially functioned as offices-at-sea to ensure business continuity for travelling executives, the demand for digital connectivity soared to ensure access to social applications for onboard guests, and the emphasis became stronger towards seafarer well-being and vital communication links for the crew.
Today, yacht owners and their guests expect onboard connectivity to browse the internet, access social media, stream videos, and more – just like they do at home. Leisure time is no longer defined by adventures alone; users expect their digital world to travel along. Moreover, there is a tremendous shift towards embracing digital technologies for business continuity as organisations and many professionals combine vacation activities and remote working, expecting to access to corporate applications while at sea.
On the other hand, the demographics of leisure maritime sector crew are rapidly changing and bringing along a tidal wave of new onboard operational paradigms. Crew connectivity is now a must and recognised as a key factor in recruitment and retention. An increasing number of seafarers state that they check what access they will have onboard before accepting new contracts. With prolonged periods of time at sea, this previously isolated environment is now evolving into a well-connected office-at-sea where the crew receives real-time updates for navigation and port notifications as well as efficient two-way shore-to-ship & ship-to-shore communications. Moreover, this reliable connectivity also caters to the improvement of crew health and well-being as they can stay in touch with their loved ones at home, access smart applications, stream videos, and more.
Due to the bulky size and high cost of VSAT antennas, high-performance broadband connectivity was predominantly limited to superyachts, leaving most of the sector behind the digital curve. The new generation of compact terminals by Intellian, ranging in diametre from 40cm to 60cm, has changed the status quo, delivering the benefits of digitalisation to a much wider range of leisure vessels. This state-of-the-art technology will be available at the IEC Telecom stand at the Cannes Yachting Festival. In addition, the satellite service operator will present its full portfolio of optimised applications, enabling a high-end user experience even over narrow L-band. Advanced software by IEC Telecom saves cost for VSAT users. As such, MSS terminals, like Inmarsat FBB and FleetOne, traditionally used as a back-up line, can now perform as a dependable primary line for small vessels with no room or budget for a VSAT antenna.
As the demand for crew connectivity soars, network management systems, such as IEC Telecom’s OneGate, have become central to onboard communications capabilities. OneGate’s innovative technology enables small boats and superyachts to direct traffic to the most competitive channel, operating seamlessly over GSM and satcom. This helps vessel owners to save expenses as well as delivers full visibility over the onboard network for the captain and the onshore team, which is essential for troubleshooting.
In 2021, the global yacht market was valued at $11 billion and it is expected to reach $15 billion by 2026. With a 4.73% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) expansion expected between 2022 and 2030, the global leisure boat market size is expected to reach $64 billion by 2030. France generates €32 billion in annual revenue from the maritime sector, which employs 120,000+ people. As a top country for manufacturing sailing boats as well as where the most boats are leased at sea, the leisure sector emphasises sustainability and safety measures.
“IEC Telecom is committed to extending the benefits of digitalisation to all customers. We’re geared towards empowering sailing enthusiasts with future-ready affordable satellite communication products to meet their sustainability, safety, fuel consumption, and connectivity priorities while at sea,” shares Mr. Lohéac.
Source: IEC Telecom