The objective of the EASY feasibility study has been to carry out an analysis of the technical feasibility and commercial viability of "one-stop-shop" services to the high value leisure yachting market mainly but not limited to the Mediterranean Sea, integrating various space assets (Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation). The integrated system and associated services shall provide enhanced services in order to render yachting more reliable, safe and "easy", thereby attracting a wider spectrum of potential users.
Together with traditional chartering, new business lines like yacht brokering, yacht management, manufacturing assistance, luxury and business cruising are emerging asking for the availability of new or innovative services packages on board. These new businesses require a higher grade of liability towards their customers (the passengers), hence forcing the providers to put more emphasis on system and services in order to increase the safety and availability of information during the cruise.
Therefore, on one hand there is an high interest in providing enhanced services to the leisure charter market, and on the other hand, it is expected that the improvement of such services increase the demand for charter and cruising business.
The following schematic overview represents the EASY architectural scenario and give evidence of the involvement of space-based positioning and communication services within the EASY context.
The EASY system is composed by a Service Centre and a set of User Terminals, which are connected through satcom or other WAN communication means (the communication mean will automatically switch with a cost/effectiveness based algorithm) to offer to marine customers an integrated multiservice platform, conceived as a context-based content adaptation platform, able to adapt services content dynamically to the user's context (i.e. location, profile, channel availability, etc).
In particular the Service Centre will be designed and implemented in compliance with the Service Oriented Architecture paradigm, capable to federate, assemble and deploy new services with already available specialized services to offer a bundle of specialized services created specifically for the leisure marine market. The innovative services will be accessible through the User Terminals installed on vessels and enabled by the positioning service offered by a GNSS system.
One of the main benefits is the generation of high performance, low cost "one-stop-shop" services to the high value leisure charter market targeting as users a variety of entities and persons.
The possibility to use a single system for the provision of a variety of services is expected to lower the average cost for the single services making their use attractive to service providers as well as to the vessel crew and passengers.
There exists currently a number of platforms providing different kind of complementary services to the maritime market. There is also a plethora of software products providing solutions targeting diverse needs of the yacht market. Each of them, taken individually, partially covers the areas of interest of the services offered by EASY, however none of them is able to cover all the target services, as a whole. This is the reason why the EASY platform strongly characterize itself from competitors.
This positioning is attractive for the end user community, mainly company providing brokering services, luxury a/o business cruising, yacht management, manufacturing assistance (sometimes the shipyards themselves) to renew their image and enlarge their visibility within Italian and also International market.
The following matrix summarises the benefit each type of end users and stakeholders receive from the EASY services:
Some key issues addressed in the EASY project are:
Lack of convergence between satellite communication channels and W-Lan ones in order to guarantee a seamless coverage.
Channel autoswitching using a convenient choice based on the cost, type of service requested, channel reliability.
GPS augmentation for navigation support in ports and in danger areas.
Worldwide service coverage to overcome negative consequences in terms of overall usability and customer satisfactions, but also in terms of security, since users could rely on services not available in the target area.
The EASY services shall satisfy the needs of different stakeholders and users. They shall improve and make safer the sailing experience of crew and passengers providing access to a broad spectrum of online information and safety services anywhere and anytime.
Charter and broker companies will be able to broaden the scope of their market by allowing less experienced users to enjoy leisure sailing while improving the safety and protection of their assets. Insurance companies like CHARTIS EUROPE S.A. will be able to provide customized services based on the tracking of insured vessels.
Marinas like MARINA DI PESCARA, port authorities and local tourist offices will be able to provide and benefit from the provision of relevant information.
Manufacturers such as the members of Consormare del Golfo will be able to get access to new markets by incorporating the EASY related systems into their new vessels and retrofitting it on existing vessels.
EASY's objective is to carry out an analysis of the technical feasibility and commercial viability of "one-stop-shop" services to the high value leisure yachting market mainly but not limited to the Mediterranean Sea, integrating various space assets (Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation).
The integrated system and associated services shall provide enhanced services in order to render yachting more reliable, safe and "easy", thereby attracting a wider spectrum of potential users.
Three groups of services shall be provided via a service centre:
The EASY architecture is composed of a Service Centre and Onboard Units, communicating via terrestrial and satellite networks. Onboard units are also able to interface with the GNSS system available on board.
Satellite communications integration is needed to extend the service coverage area beyond wireless terrestrial networks allowing service provisioning anywhere and anytime.
Furthermore, satellite navigation integration is required to provide a geo-reference for e-Tourism Services as well as for Navigation Support Services.
EASY Onboard Units enable always-on and ubiquitous connectivity handling various types of terrestrial and satellite communication standards, from narrowband (e.g. Inmarsat, Iridium, GPRS) to broadband (e.g. mini-VSAT, UMTS/HSPA, Wi-Max).
Three groups of services shall be provided via a service centre:
EASY at the Yacht Med Festival:
A project workshop was held at April 29th in Gaeta, at the Yacht Med Festival, that is an important and esteemed event with thousands of visitors related to different sectors of the sea economy: yachting, tourist and trade port facilities, logistics and transports, fishing, training, innovation, etc.
Designed by Latina Chamber of Commerce it is considered the point of reference for a wider network of enterprises, associations and institutions.
EASY Demo Project was presented at the presence of representatives from different private companies and public institutions.