“Super-yacht clients increasingly see VSAT as a strategic must-have item”

by Staff Reporter | December 15th, 2012

“No internet, according to my clients, equals no clients. Consequently capabilities (rather than costs) become drivers,” says Bertrand Hartman, CEO of OmniAccess S.L., as he outlines the need to offer end-to-end services to the discerning world of the super-yacht industry.

Adding value boosts revenues by allowing you to take a bigger slice of the chain, creates deeper (lasting) relationships, lends a competitive edge and really…nobody has come up with a better alternative yet

With 12 years of experience in providing maritime VSAT services to the luxury super yacht sector, Bertrand Hartman, CEO of OmniAccess S.L., focuses on adding value.

“It creates happy customers and happy customers stick. Adding value boosts revenues by allowing you to take a bigger slice of the chain, creates deeper (lasting) relationships, lends a competitive edge and really…nobody has come up with a better alternative yet.”

To offer value, Hartman believes in providing end-to-end solutions to what he describes as the “demanding zero tolerance super-yacht industry”.

Offering end-to-end services is not a choice

“From designing advanced AV/IT networks and RF/communications solutions, to delivering, configuring and installing the components; we also take care of  commissioning and Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) procedures. We operate the VSAT and secondary services and in addition, provide operational support, maintenance and management.”

Asked as to why he would adopt the end-to-end approach, Hartman gives a simple, straightforward response:  “Because we feel in our segment it’s the only feasible approach.”

While sales gets the business in, support keeps the clients in. And good support requires that you ‘know’ the vessel

He adds, “Marine VSAT is relatively new and the technology is comparatively immature. It is most definitely not an over-the-counter product.

“Significantly, on-board skills are limited coupled with an extreme dependency on working IT networks. This can be a potent mix.”

Stressing that end-to-end service is not a choice but a must, he insists, “While sales gets the business in, support keeps the clients in. And good support requires that you ‘know’ the vessel.”

What clients want

Offering an insight gained from servicing more than 100 of the most discerning clients in the super-yacht sector, Hartman outlines what clients are looking for.

“Clients are typically looking for reliability and plenty of uptime with no problems. Speed of connectivity is critical and they are looking for a hassle-free, one-stop, integrated hardware and service solution. They want end-to-end support if something goes wrong. Lastly, the equipment and technology needs to be simple, easy to use, flexible and transparent – all at a reasonable cost.”

Clients are typically looking for reliability and plenty of uptime with no problems. Speed of connectivity is critical and they are looking for a hassle-free, one-stop, integrated hardware and service solution

There is a need for speed and a growing hunger for bandwidth. Hartman gives the example of a single client with a high speed Ku-band private network, who over a 28-day period of what can be described as “leisure” use consumed a whopping total of 4.5 TB of bandwidth. Hartman stresses that there has been a paradigm shift in the consumer’s lifestyle.

“People’s lifestyles have become increasingly digital. End-users expect to be online all the time including their leisure-time. Yachts and boutique leisure cruises compete with shore-side offerings like resorts etc. where fast and free internet is the norm.

“Rather than seeing internet as a cost-centre (or revenue-generator), our clients increasingly see VSAT as a strategic “have to have” item. No internet, according to them equals no clients. Consequently capabilities (rather than costs) become drivers.”

Bandwidth demands are absolutely going through the roof, according to Hartman.

“ The industry (maritime VSAT operators, satellite operators, systems integrators and network manufacturers) will be expected to deliver with redundant solutions that overcome inclement weather conditions on the vessel or at the teleport and blindspots on the vessel. Days of 1 mbps link keeping 100 passengers happy are over.”

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