The aim is to demonstrate the benefits of the use of mobile ship-to-shore communication to give shore-based experts the possibility to assist the crew to solve non-routine maintenance and repair problems. In addition to voice and data the transmission will include still and full motion video. Unlimited mobility requires the use of satellite links. The new 'high speed data' service presently being prepared by Inmarsat opens far-reaching opportunities in this area.
The aim of the research was to demonstrate the benefits of using mobile ship to shore communications to give shore based experts the opportunity of assisting the crew to solve nonroutine maintenance and repair problems. In addition to voice and data transmission, communications will include still and full motion video. Unlimited mobility requires the use of satellite links and the new high speed data service presently bing prepared by INMARSAT opens far reaching opportunities in this area. Key issues of the research included:
system integration of appropriate hardware and software modules for a pilot application;
selection and demonstration of realistic scenarios showing the benefits and cost effectiveness of the approach and an assessment of market acceptance.
A first phase devoted to preconceptual investigations resulted in a status quo description and an analysis of pilot application functions. One of the subsystem trials was devoted to a user oriented assessment of the potential for video support to maintenance and repair operations. This was achieved in a closed loop laboratory arrangement, which included high rate video compression. Another was related to acquiring integrated video, (data and voice transmission over Diginet, the integrated services digital network (ISDN) and EVS, even across international borders).
The configuration, the laboratory pretesting, set up and final sea testing of the microwave link between the ship and Stockelsdorf radio tower platform for the terrestrial station was carried out and a further integration of the transmission line between the model head office in Bremen and the ship; and also between Bremen and the model expert location in Helsinki was also completed. A first test of a complete loop including the space segment and the terrestrial line was demonstrated and was able to transmit compressed video in a store and forward mode.
For shipborne tests, a large ferry Railship III has been selected and appropriately equipped. Performance of the pilot application must be limited to that possible using mobile equipment available today. The technical approach is therefore to examine the intended application from two opposite sides:
. Option 1 utilises full transmission capacity at 2 Mbit/s, but has to compromise on mobility as the satellite link is replaced by microwave transmission, covering the ship only when in port and during its initial course out to sea
. Option 2 provides full mobility based on satellite transmission using upgraded Standard A ship earth terminals and a new 'high speed data' service presently operating at 64 kbit/s.
The land based network is basically the same for both options. However, the bandwidth need not be larger than that of the ship-to-shore link. The project will use the most economic of several potentially available options: EBIT service, the European video conferencing service, N-ISDN or Diginet.
Year 92 will be devoted to the set-up and test of the extension of multimedia conferencing to a three-partner configuration - a service going beyond the standard EVS offerings. In addition to further tests in the context of Option 2 system integration, the system will be demonstrated at different European exhibitions.
. System integration of appropriate hardware and software modules for a pilot application giving an adequate representation of the future product.
. Selection and demonstration of realistic scenarios showing the benefits and cost effectiveness of the approach and assessment of market acceptance.
A first project phase devoted to pre-conceptual investigations resulted in two deliverables: D1 giving a status quo description; and D2 an analysis of pilot application functions. On this basis the pilot system concept was established and detailed planning for the execution phase undertaken (deliverable D3).
Results of the preparation and execution of sub-system trials were given in further deliverables: D4.1 Status of the preparation and execution of sub-system investigations, Part 1 and D4.2 Ibid, Part 2. One of the trials was devoted to a user-oriented assessment of the potential for video support to maintenance and repair operations. This was achieved in a closed loop laboratory arrangement, which included high-rate video compression. Another effort was related to acquiring integrated video/data/voice transmission over Diginet, ISDN and EVS, even across international borders.
Deliverable D4.3: Ship-to-Shore 2 Mbit/s Microwave Link describes the configuration, laboratory pre-testing, set-up and final sea-testing of the microwave link between the ship and Stockelsdorf radio tower, platform for the terrestrial station. D4.4: Laboratory System Integration reports on a further integration step of the transmission line between the model head-office in Bremen and the ship; and also between Bremen and the model 'expert' location in Helsinki. For Option II a first test of a complete loop including the space segment and the terrestrial line was demonstrated, transmitting compressed video in a store-and-forward mode.
D4.5: Marketing and User Acceptance Investigation collected views of relevant market participants on the expected benefits of this area of improved mobile communication to ships. The answers are mainly positive, in particular, by the owners of larger and highly sophisticated vessels, oil rigs and exploration platforms. In addition, the consortium produced a video tape describing the system concept and demonstrating elements of a typical maintenance and repair scenario supported by multimedia conferencing.
The pilot application will demonstrate to participants in the shipping business what advantages could be gained by the use of advanced mobile and land-based communications concepts. The investments to be made are moderate. A first generation of this new service addresses the 14000 ships with Standard A satellite terminals which could be upgraded and be used for the benefits of the new concept in the very near future.
In addition, as new light-weight mobile terminals become available, the application may be extended to any remote maintenance activity in remote areas.
EC1Y 1AX London