KVH FB150 Wins SAIL Magazine Innovation Award

Inmarsat FleetBroadband 150 has won SAIL Magazine’s Pittman Innovation Award 2010 in the electronics category. Named in honour of Freeman K. Pittman, SAIL’s technical editor for 14 years, the awards recognise maritime innovation and new technology that makes sailing easier, safer and more enjoyable.

FleetBroadband 150 (FB150) is the newest member of the FleetBroadband family, and is designed specifically for small vessels. It provides high-quality telephone calls, email and internet access at 150kbps, and text messaging — all accessible simultaneously.

According to Tim Bartlett, electronics editor at SAIL, FB150 had the winning edge. Said Bartlett: “Until now, satcom has seemed just too big and too expensive for most recreational users. But FB150 has taken us to the tipping point at which international phone calls are cheaper by satcom than by mobile, the hardware is small enough and light enough to fit on many mainstream boats, and the upfront cost is low enough that you don’t need to be running a business from your boat to justify having it.”

Commenting on winning the electronics category, Kyle Hurst, maritime market manager for Inmarsat, said: “FB150 has taken the sailing sector by storm. With other services, low costs can mean low quality, but our long-term plan for FleetBroadband was to bring the benefits of an optimised IP network into a low-cost package that maintains our high standard. FB150 delivers to small vessels the same quality of service that large merchant fleets expect from Inmarsat.”

The FleetBroadband 150 terminal from KVH, the TracPhone FB150, has just been featured in the SAIL Magazine innovation showcase at Strictly Sail Chicago, the largest indoor boat show in the United States. Jim Dodez, vice president of marketing and strategic planning at KVH Industries, said: “Inmarsat’s new FB150 service brings all of the benefits of internet access, email, and high-quality phone service in an amazingly small and affordable package.

“Inmarsat has even developed an emergency calling facility, so that any vessel in trouble can simply dial ‘505’ on any FleetBroadband phone and immediately be connected with a maritime rescue co-ordination centre.”

FB150 terminals are manufactured by AddValue and Thrane & Thrane, and distributed globally through a network of partners and service providers.

About Inmarsat
Inmarsat plc (LSE: ISAT) is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organisations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. The company’s services are delivered through a global network of more than 500 distribution partners and service providers operating in 180 countries. For the year ended 31 December 2007, Inmarsat plc had total revenue of US$ 576.5 million. More information can be found at www.inmarsat.com

About KVH Industries, Inc.
Middletown, RI-based KVH Industries, Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, KVH Europe A/S, are leading providers of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems, having designed, manufactured, and sold more than 150,000 mobile satellite antennas for applications on vessels, vehicles, and aircraft. KVH’s mission is to connect mobile customers around the globe with the same digital television entertainment, communications, and Internet services that they enjoy in their homes and offices.

By Professional Mariner Staff