In terms of crew welfare, bandwidth availability to seafarers and cost are important. Most of the bandwidth is used for social media connectivity using applications such as Skype or WhatsApp, says Marpoint co-founder Anastasis Kyrkos.
“More than 90% of internet bandwidth allocated to crew is used by seafarers to connect with family and friends,” he explains. “Typically, the bandwidth available to seafarers does not allow browsing and news downloads from websites due to the large amount of data required.”
To fill this service gap, MarPoint developed Evo News to provide seafarers with access to any webpage offering RSS information feeds on the internet, in any language chosen and with no limits on how many articles can be viewed.
“Crew welfare solutions should aim at balancing the work responsibilities and interests seafarers have outside their daily work routine, such as reading their country’s news,” says Mr Kyrkos.
“Evo News customised RSS package has been specially developed for maritime applications to ensure compatibility with the all websites that currently operate with RSS feeds,” he adds.
This service compresses news articles and updates. These are sent to ships with new stories every six, 12 or 24 hours via a customised web interface created by MarPoint.
“Articles are stored on the vessel’s computer server, rather than downloaded on the spot, reducing the VSAT capacity used to access the articles,” says Mr Kyrkos.
“Crew can view articles on their own devices, including laptops, smartphones and crew PCs, directly from the vessels local network.” This is without using any data or crew internet cards, which are typically needed to download news direct from websites.
“Having customised RSS feeds, shipowners can decide the frequency, category and size of the articles, which includes whether or not to send articles with pictures or text only,” says Mr Kyrkos.
Evo News service is an application downloaded and installed on a vessel’s server or computer from any remote location, requiring no additional hardware. “It is just like downloading an app on your phone – installation and set-up is completed within five minutes,” says Mr Kyrkos.