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Orange Business Services joins EU initiative to develop the first cloud-based ERP ship management platform

March 13, 2014, Hamburg and Paris

Orange Business Services has joined a European Union-sponsored initiative to play a key role in the development of new business intelligence and IT standards that are set to improve management tools used by the shipping industry. A key goal is to help shipping companies take complex decisions on the basis of valid, up-to-date information across all ship management lifecycle processes. This will not only make it easier to manage vessels, but also seamlessly integrate them into a company’s corporate infrastructure thereby facilitating real-time business decisions, enabling cost savings, and improving safety and crew welfare.

As part of the EIS (“Exzellenzinitiative Schiffsmanagement”) initiative, Orange Business Services will be the sole provider for ship-to-shore, vessel-based and land-based communication infrastructure. As part of this project, Orange will implement a cloud-based satellite solution on several vessels run by COLUMBIA Ship Management, one of the four largest ship managers worldwide. The initiative includes the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the City of Hamburg, Germany, one of the most influential maritime centers of the world and home to the second largest container port in Europe. The project will also strengthen the city of Hamburg’s competency in specialized maritime IT systems.

The solution provided by Orange comprises the communication hardware of the vessels, the onshore data center as well as the design and development of traffic optimization tools. The integration of satellite communications with Business VPN, a fully managed IP-based VPN service, with private access to cloud services will enable COLUMBIA Ship Management to benefit from a high-performance, secure solution without relying on the Internet.

“Communication at sea constitutes specific challenges and was historically a source of problems in terms of cost, performance and support. With the help of Orange Business Services, we want to utilize this project to test and design solutions that help the industry take a giant leap forward and set new standards in maritime IT. With this initiative, we want to build a remotely managed, integrated communication and application infrastructure onboard that intelligently connects the vessel to the office at the lowest possible cost. We are very proud to be a key driver of this project,” said Timothy Scheller, project manager at COLUMBIA Ship Management.

“With the new cloud-based platform in this project, we can demonstrate how improved communication between vessels and their management will streamline business tools and decisions,” said Michel Verbist, Head of International Business Development, Satellite at Orange Business Services. “Real-time ship-to-shore communication can provide a competitive advantage for both large and small shipping companies around the world. We look forward to providing innovative cloud solutions for other players in the maritime sector in the months to come.”

Orange Business Services has a strong track record in the shipping and maritime industries, providing a wide range of services – from satellite communications systems to telepresence, and now cloud solutions – to 8 of the top 10 container shipping companies in the world.

Along with Orange Business Services, the five subprojects of EIS will be implemented by partners such as DNV/GL Group, evidanza AG, Humance Maritime Services GmbH, MarDynamics and Portal Systems. The consortium of partners plans to establish joint sales activities and agreements in order to conduct joint research and development activities from Hamburg. 

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