Exclusive Interview with netTALK Maritime COO Nicholas Kyriakides

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Image used for representational purposes only (Image Courtesy: netTALK Maritime)

“As the satellite communications networks have caught up to traditional earth-based data networks, our communications tools can be deployed and used on maritime vessels with quality and cost that is on par with land-based solutions,” said Nicholas Kyriakides, COO, netTALK Maritime. Sea News interviewed Kyriakides recently, wherein matters pertaining to communication, technology, and data networks were discussed in detail. Below are the excerpts…

What are the trends in the Satellite communication industry and what Changes you are expecting in the upcoming decade?

Technological features, especially real-time VoIP communications are being developed as satellite constellations are being deployed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

How helpful has technology been over these years to help crew connect with families?

Tech firms, as ourselves with a focus on VoIP communications, have been handicapped by the latency of traditional satellite networks. But as LEO satellites are launched into low orbit, the latency has greatly improved and also the satellite hardware design has improved translating into higher and faster data throughput. The SpaceX deployments has really accelerated the new space race – Satellite Space Race 2.0

As the satellite communications networks have caught up to traditional earth-based data networks, our communications tools can be deployed and used on maritime vessels with quality and cost that is on par with land-based solutions.

Tell us more about ‘mission-critical communications networks’ by netTALK MARITIME?

We have partnered with Inmarsat in Canada through this partnership we provide communications to the Canadian Coast Guard lighthouse installations in remote locations. We also provide passenger and crew communications onboard some of the largest cruise vessels in the world. We are now working with another satellite provider to provide the same for commercial vessels globally.

What is Telehealth technologies and how can it add value to onboard communication?

Our systems provide contact tracing, virtual queuing and the ability to leverage our communications platform to connect passengers and/or crew members to shoreside doctors for virtual check-ups or even triaging health related issues.

What has been the feedback of Passengers on cruise ships about the technology offered by netTALK MARITIME?

Passengers and crew expect the same communication experience as they have while on land so our products have bridged this gap. It is a great experience for everyone from the passengers (they now have great communications options) and the cruise line (they continue to delight their passengers and crew).

How has COVID-19 impacted the entire industry and also your company in particular?

A global shutdown was absolutely unheard of before March of 2020. The cruise industry was surpassing passengers booking and revenue goals. netTALK Maritime grew alongside the cruise industry success. Our cruise business was obviously impaired. Luckly, we were able to work with all of our cruise line partners to develop COVID related technologies with a strict focus on “return to sail”.

Tell us three major challenges that face you because of this pandemic. How do you plan to deal with it?

  1. Team – we had to pivot our development to support infectious disease related technologies. Our team was exceptional in breaking down this learning curve.
  2. Health – we had to keep our team safe at a time when we needed alot rapid development and in-person collaboration as we developed (and launched) new technologies. Words cannot describe how well our team performed (while staying healthy).
  3. Investments – we had to invest heavily, with little planning, in a completely new product offering to help our cruise customers safely return to sail.

What is the future roadmap for netTALK MARITIME?

In the short term, we are reploying updated communications systems on all the vessels as they are preparing for their safe return to cruising.

Medium term we are tweaking some of the systems developed that focused solely on infectious disease related technology – for example, contact tracing systems can be re-deployed for marketing purposes to track passenger flows with heat mapping to improve point of sale opportunities.

Long term – Continue to support the cruise industry and also grow the commercial vessel market.

What’s your message for the cruise industry?

We greatly appreciate the trust our customers have in us. We were all in it together and have all emerged stronger than ever, together.

Sea News Feature, August 4

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News