Page 42: of Marine News Magazine (February 2019)
Dredging & Marine Construction
Round the Clock
Network Innovations and its inland waterways connectivity solution eliminates “dead spot” coverage woes. And, not a moment too soon.
By Joseph Keefe he bane of inland operators – or at least one of many – has always been the dearth of reliable and economical vessel-to-shore communications. Even
T in America’s heartland where cellular coverage is routinely billed as seamless, so-called ‘dead spots’ persist. Sometimes, this happens at the worst possible moment for an opera- tor who has myriad far fung assets on dozens of remote inland waterways. For a long time, satellite service has not been deemed economically feasible for inland operators.
Beyond that, unlike blue water deep sea operators, there was little need to download data or employ software solu- tions in every day operations. Until now.
Spotty cellular coverage – indeed using cellular cover- age as a primary tool – became even more of a problem as the brown water industry caught up to its blue water cousins in terms of modern methods of vessel, operations and safety management. The issue is only likely to become more pronounced as subchapter M requirements continue to impact the more than 5,000 previously uninspected vessels that ply inland waters today. It turns out that soft- ware and better vessel-to-shore communications will play a much bigger role in the coming years. Hence, the tra- ditional (read: good enough, but not quite ideal) cellular solution might just go the way of the inland operator with no safety management plan.
Actually, and according to satellite communications in- tegrator Network Innovations and Dunlap Towing, there is a better way. For its part, Dunlap Towing, a west coast-
February 2019 42 MN