KVH upgrades IP-MobileCast service for mariners

(MIDDLETOWN, R.I.) — KVH Industries Inc. has updated its IP-MobileCast content delivery service for additional viewing flexibility and expanded content offerings. The new features are being rolled out in stages, with the first round of upgrades automatically delivered via over-the-air software updates for current subscribers. IP-MobileCast was developed by KVH and launched in 2014 as the first and only service to multicast movies, TV shows, daily news and sports, as well as operational data via satellite to vessels at sea. Survey estimates indicate content has been viewed more than 100,000 times by subscribers, setting a benchmark for maritime multicast entertainment.

“The early adopters of IP-MobileCast have been ship owners and managers who understand the benefit of bringing great news, sports, movies, TV entertainment, and operational data to their vessels, and the resulting improvements in crew recruiting and retention, operational efficiency, and competitive advantage,” said Martin Kits van Heyningen, chief executive officer of KVH. “They also appreciate the efficiency of KVH’s content delivery service in removing a huge amount of traffic from the vessels’ networks and in protecting against the impact of the individual crewmember downloading unlicensed videos or accessing streaming audio or video services for their personal entertainment. Forward-thinking enterprises see that IP-MobileCast meets a number of important needs.” 

The first IP-MobileCast enhancement released includes the availability of subtitle languages for movies. This is an important option, given that seafarers hail from the Philippines, India, Eastern Europe, Greece, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and many other countries. Subtitled movies complement IP-MobileCast’s video and print news content, which is available in dozens of languages. These offerings are designed to address the reality of multinational crews on today’s merchant vessels and charter yachts.

Another IP-MobileCast upgrade already completed is the release of an enhanced viewing experience, including more accessible menus and program guides on the vessels’ set-top boxes, making it easier for viewers to find and select the content they want. As a further convenience to seafarers, selected news content is available via the IP-MobileCast app for Android and iOS, so crewmembers can read news delivered directly to their smartphone or tablet. In addition, an update will soon make all IP-MobileCast content viewable on virtually any device onboard — from the ship’s common-area computer or television to smartphones, tablets and laptops.

“IP-MobileCast provides crew with a great viewing experience on just about any device — similar to what ‘digital natives’ have come to expect at home,” said Robert Hopkins Jr., KVH’s director for IP-MobileCast services. “Feedback from shipowners and operators speaks to the excitement the service is generating, where our subscribers tell us they go from disbelief that multicast content delivery is technically feasible to high praise for the quality of the results.”

KVH’s expertise in identifying desirable content stems in part from the years of experience that the U.K.-based KVH Media Group has had in producing news and in licensing movie, TV, and sports content. On IP-MobileCast, the content is available under the brand names NEWSlink, MOVIElink, TVlink, and SPORTSlink.

To further meet the maritime industry’s needs, KVH has joined with leading maritime partners to deliver critically important operations content such as weather data, updated global chart databases, and training programs via IP-MobileCast to vessels at sea. Multicast delivery of this content, which previously could only be provided to vessels in port via physical delivery of CDs or DVDs, is transformational in both affordability and timeliness.

IP-MobileCast is part of KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband maritime communications solution, which encompasses global connectivity, onboard satellite communications hardware, entertainment and operations content, and content delivery.

By Professional Mariner Staff