Inmarsat's new maritime broadband service, FleetBroadband, will be delivered to the yachts by Stratos mobile satellite services via Thrane & Thrane SAILOR satellite equipment, and will allow an expected global audience of more than 1.8 billion people to follow the race on high definition television (HDTV), radio and the internet.
FleetBroadband, supplemented by Inmarsat Fleet 33 and Inmarsat C services, will not only be used to deliver navigational and weather updates, position reports and course headings, but will also provide the essential safety communications for the crews as they compete in a 37,000 nautical mile race which lasts over nine months.
"The clarity of HDTV is about as close as you can get to the race action without being on a competing yacht. It's what the international broadcasters want, it's essential for raising the profile of the race and the sponsors globally, and it can only be sent by FleetBroadband," said Knut FROSTAD, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race. "By choosing FleetBroadband, we have made this the most connected Volvo Ocean Race in its history".
"It's a huge reassurance for the crews to know that with FleetBroadband they are never alone. Their progress will be closely monitored and their stories will reach the teams, sponsors, spectators, and most importantly for them, their families," said FROSTAD. "We welcome the involvement of Inmarsat, Stratos and Thrane & Thrane - three names that every sailor will know well - as official sponsors of the Volvo Ocean Race, and look forward to a very successful partnership."
Andrew SUKAWATY, Chairman and CEO of Inmarsat, said, "The Volvo Ocean Race reflects Inmarsat's values - global, leading from the front, pushing technology to its limits and always striving for excellence. We're building on the success of our previous sponsorship of the race, and are excited that FleetBroadband will have a global platform to demonstrate its power".
Stratos President and CEO Jim PARM added, "We are fortunate to be part of the team that will enable the Volvo Ocean Race to benefit from an amazing leap forward in maritime communications technology. The performance and reliability of FleetBroadband is far superior to communications services used in past ocean races. We expect it to help bring the excitement and action of this important race to a global audience."
"The Volvo Ocean Race reflects our philosophy of overcoming the challenges of communication in extreme environments, so we are proud that Thrane & Thrane has been chosen once again as the communications equipment provider", said Walther THYGESEN, CEO, Thrane & Thrane A/S. "We will play an important part in the organisation of the race and the safety of the crew and boats. It is the ultimate showcase for SAILOR."
All 39 weekly half-hour TV shows and all nine one-hour summary programmes will be shot in HDTV. It is estimated that 90Gb - the equivalent of 20 DVDs - will be sent from the boats to race headquarters over FleetBroadband. This will be supplemented, as with previous races, by radio interviews, still photographs and text written by the crews - also sent via FleetBroadband and other Inmarsat services.
Launched in November 2007, FleetBroadband provides high-quality voice and broadband data connectivity, accessible simultaneously, through compact domes and below-deck equipment. Inmarsat's first fully IP-based service for maritime use, FleetBroadband supports up to 432kbps of standard IP connectivity, up to 256kbps of guaranteed or 'streaming' IP data, and high-quality voice.
Thrane & Thrane will supply a complete range of SAILOR satellite and radio communication products. Each yacht will be equipped with a FleetBroadband 500, Fleet 33, Inmarsat-C, and additional radio equipment.
Among other value-added services, Volvo Ocean Race crews will have the opportunity to utilize Stratos' popular maritime services AmosConnect and AmosConnect Crew. AmosConnect from Stratos is an easy-to-use, yet highly sophisticated email service that seamlessly integrates email, fax, telex, GSM text, interoffice communication and access for mobile personnel into a single messaging system. AmosConnect Crew is an all-in-one communication solution that enhances crew satisfaction and welfare onboard the vessel.
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvoceanrace.org