Senior maritime consultant Joshua Flood reflects on his experience as a panel discussion moderator at Superyacht Investor 2022, which took place in London earlier this month.
The “new novelty” of returning to in person events has not yet worn off, and it’s been great to catch up with old faces, and put new faces to new names, over the past few months. The Superyacht Investor event caters to the overall superyacht ecosystem. This year’s edition focused primarily on impact of the Russian “special operations” in the Ukraine, the boom in superyacht purchases after the pandemic, crewing challenges, the broker/buyer/shipbuilder dynamic, insurance and of course connectivity for your home at home on the high seas.
I was privileged to have representatives from OceanWeb, Inmarsat, Intellian, Isotropics and MIMO Connect participate in my session. Over the course of 45 minutes, we delved into how expectations have changed within the leisure boat market, how solutions have evolved, and how the systems onboard have become more integrated rather than siloed individual services. Furthermore, I was surprised with revelations about consumption of data per leisure boat. According to Inmarsat, they have seen “some yachts consume almost 2 TB in a single month”. High consumption is typically driven by streaming services, internet browsing and software downloads. On the uplink, among the highest drivers of data consumption are uploads and synchronisation of images/videos to the cloud, and VPN traffic, e.g. videoconferencing. For comparison purposes, across Inmarsat’s 12,000 FX VSAT, average data consumption is approaching 300GB per month.
Furthermore, although noted, and I personally don’t understand this trend, many of the younger superyacht charters/users are going to the Arctic or Antarctic regions to see untouched landscapes. The North West Passage in the Arctic was of particular interest. I wouldn’t leave the Caribbean but I suppose that’s just me.
Unsurprisingly, the audience were interested in the impact of new upcoming LEO constellations on the market, specifically Starlink. Perhaps less predictably, the audience were asking about how autonomous vessels could affect the superyacht market. Will we soon start seeing the need for virtual Captains the same as virtual digital assistants?