Smart shipping pioneer wins award

Ronald Spithout Ronald Spithout oversaw the launch of Fleet Xpress and has heavily focused on maritime digitalisation research. Photo: Inmarsat
Industry Database

The SMART4SEA 2021 leadership award has been given to a company president who has made an outstanding contribution to smarter shipping and maritime digitalisation.

Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat Maritime, was presented with the leadership award rewarding smart and sustainable shipping innovation at the SMART4SEA Awards, part of the SAFETY4SEA family of events.

Mr Spithout commented: “I am delighted to accept the 2021 SMART4SEA Leadership Award, which is a significant honour and puts me alongside some very distinguished company. However, this award more truly recognises the major role Inmarsat solutions are playing in the digital transformation of the maritime sector and the dedicated team of professionals behind their delivery, implementation and support.”

Inmarsat innovation

In 2016, Mr Spithout oversaw the launch of Fleet Xpress, the first globally available, high-speed broadband solution for marine operations from a single communications provider. Less than five years later, the solution had been installed on over 10,000 vessels. Fleet Xpress has enabled a comprehensive suite of services for shipping: ‘Fleet Data’ - an end-to-end IoT platform for data collection; ‘Fleet Connect’ – dedicated, independent bandwidth for Certified Application Providers; the cybersecurity solution ‘Fleet Secure’; the crew WiFi portal ‘Fleet Hotspot’, as well as other shipping solutions.

Mr Spithout’s tenure has also seen Inmarsat prioritising original research into maritime digitalisation.  The company commissioned the Trade 2.0 and Welfare 2.0 studies, and the recently published ‘Digitalisation Uncovered: What’s Next for Shipping?’. Mr Spithout is also a driving force behind Inmarsat’s Open Innovation Challenge, which nurtures new technologies and start-ups, aiming to enhance crew safety, health and wellbeing in the maritime and offshore sectors.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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