Princess Cruises to leverage SES’s mPower satellite-based connectivity

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Carnival Corporation brand Princess Cruises is expanding its partnership with SES to gain early access to its O3b mPower network, becoming the first global cruise ship operator to do so. The satellite-based communications system will augment the Princess MedallionClass experience as it is implemented across the fleet.

SES is enabling global connectivity to Princess Cruises using its hybrid medium earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary (GEO) network. The combination of the globally deployed Princess MedallionClass ships, the Ocean Guest Experience cloud connected platform and SES’s multi-constellation satellite network is intended to create unmatched global wi-fi service levels, as well as ensuring a seamless land/sea digital experience including OceanView TV (OTT, mobile and VOD).

As the innovation partner for Princess MedallionClass, Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation unit is elevating the SES partner relationship through 2023. The premier innovation partner status makes SES a fully integrated development partner of Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation unit, spanning design, creation and delivery for connected guest experience innovations, technical platform development, intelligence and hybrid cloud and edge compute enablement. As a result, Princess MedallionClass, which is enabled by the OceanMedallion and powered by SES, will be the first cruise ships to access SES’s O3b mPower satellite-based communications system. The SES brand will also be incorporated into the OceanMedallion, further symbolising the integrated relationship.

To date, the most significant development of the partnership has been MedallionNet wi-fi, available since 2017.

The expanded partnership recognises SES’s integral role in enabling the Ocean Guest Experience platform with real-time xIoT, edge, cloud and shoreside intelligence synchronisation on Princess MedalllionClass ships. Princess MedallionClass should be fully active on 11 ships by the end of 2020, with a new ship activated every 60 days.

Princess says O3b mPower will ensure that MedallionClass ships are not constrained by traditional bandwidth capacity plans; SES will keep bandwidth ahead of demand with multi-Gbps capacity whenever and wherever needed. The intention is that whether activating a new MedallionClass ship, visualising real-time ship digital clones or powering virtual ship/shore collaboration, bandwidth constraints should never impact innovation team access, speed or engagement fidelity.

Furthermore, dynamic bandwidth deployment on demand – through a fully managed, high-performance ship access point to a shoreside endpoint – will be used to optimise ship itineraries and specialised guest events. Dynamic bandwidth will also enable guest applications such as streaming original content via OceanView, placing a wager on a big game with Ocean SportsBook, playing a massive multiplayer video game, streaming video or checking home security cameras.

“The future is now with real solutions and proven technology delivering real experiences to floating smart cities around the globe, powering a coveted experience,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “SES integration into the Global Experience and Innovation team not only provides world-leading connectivity technology and fuelling OceanMedallion capabilities, but most importantly provides expertise that is passionate about creating amazing experiences through the fusion of creativity, story, connectivity and media across the world. Our first joint creation, MedallionNet, has significantly elevated the cruise experience for our guests and crew, but more importantly stimulated the creation of leading-edge, cloud-based edge compute models that were previously considered impossible.”

“The relentless focus of the Princess Cruises and Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation teams to create personalised, simplified and connected guest experiences inspired us to push the boundaries of the connectivity norm at sea, and set a higher benchmark for connected guest experiences,” said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, the data-centric business unit of SES. “With MedallionNet, we helped deliver a new and holistic model that sets an entirely new standard for cruise ship connectivity around the world. By extending and expanding our premier innovation partner relationship, we are leveraging our unprecedented position in multi-constellation satellite networks and consistently focusing on delivering high performance and pushing the envelope of what’s possible.”

Carnival Corporation’s Ocean Guest Experience platform is powered by the OceanMedallion and enabled by SES. The Medallion is used for keyless stateroom entry, payments, turn-by-turn shipboard wayfinding, shipmate locator and personalised itineraries, plus speeding up embarkation. It also facilitates on-demand services including ordering food, drinks and merchandise, and powers anywhere wagering. MedallionClass vacations are currently available for all guests sailing on six Princess Cruises ships – Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Ruby Princess and Sky Princess.

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After cutting her teeth reporting on best practice for emergency response, Izzy joined the Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International team in November 2007. Over her career she has served as editor of titles covering everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. She took the helm as editor of Business Jet Interiors International and Railway Interiors International in 2011, and with the addition of Cruise Liner Interiors International can now lay claim to covering trains and boats and planes! She is also the editor of Auditoria, a magazine dedicated to the design and operation of performing arts venues. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

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