Vizada CEO Outlines Technology Plan to Maximize Maritime Growth
[Satellite News 01-29-10] Vizada will make a major product push in the maritime market this year, with Inmarsat,Iridium and Thuraya as partners targeting ship crew communications, Vizada CEO Erik Ceuppens told Satellite News
“We will soon announce the arrival of a new version of our Universal Card, a private crew communications service. This will allow crew voice, e-mail, as well as Internet communications on the same card,” said Ceuppens.
The launch of a prepaid card is Vizada’s admission that it is looking at the maritime market as its main growth driver, he said. The company expects it will see further penetration attributed to increasing demand from a number of medium- and smaller-sized vessel fleets, which are operating without satellite communications.
“The penetration right now for crew communications today is still less than 50 percent. This means that 50 percent of the ocean-going vessels don’t have a well-established crew communications environment in place. That is clearly an opportunity. There is a lot of focus on crew welfare and also for shipping companies, retaining well-trained crew is increasingly important. There will be more attention on crew communications, and with broadband, you will see a move from voice today to Internet communications in the future,” said Ceuppens.
Vizada is sticking with markets that have helped the company grow during the economic downturn. Ceuppens said Vizada’s performance has even helped the company solidify its relationship with its most valuable partners. “In particular, we have contributed a great deal to Inmarsat revenues. Vizada is focusing its operations on growing markets, and for us this means maritime and government. We have had similar growth to Inmarsat on maritime, which was about 6 percent for 2009. For Vizada, the aeronautical market also spurred growth in 2009 with revenues increasing 50 percent, mainly driven by government customers in the United States.”
While some may be surprised that Vizada is thriving in a market that has trended downward due to the economy’s effects on reduced shipping, Ceuppens emphasized that the world merchant fleet actually grew in 2009 and that the mandatory nature of communications by regulation has created growth opportunities. “Overcapacity was also being absorbed. Old, low-ARPU vessels are being replaced by new, high-ARPU vessels,” said Ceuppens.
Vizada, despite its successful recession-based business model, will continue to develop new technology-based strategies under Ceuppens’ direction to adapt to future conditions. As proof, Ceuppens said the company is looking to develop more maritime- and government-centric IP solutions. “Technology wise, the market is now driven more by IP and network expertise, and we are helping a lot of our customers build solutions that integrate MSS technologies with IP networks. We are very focused on developing IP solutions that will enrich the maritime broadband offering in the future in the areas of business, crew and costs and budget control for shipping companies and are spending significant resources to provide this next generation of services to shipping companies.”