In 2021, Microcomms and Unmanned Survey Solutions (USS) forged a partnership aimed at revolutionising the marine survey industry using small and efficient unmanned craft. With USS’s ambition to expand into the offshore market, Microcomms provided invaluable expertise in establishing secure communications for their Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs). As a case study, this month we take a look at our relationship with USS, highlighting the cutting-edge solutions we have helped them to find and the impact they have on their competitive edge within the marine survey industry.
As the marine industry sought more efficient and environmentally friendly surveying methods, USS recognised the potential of unmanned vessels. Their Accession Class boat, a modular vessel capable of operating in the offshore environment, aimed to revolutionise marine surveys. However, ensuring reliable communication with these unmanned vessels presented a technological challenge. USS turned to Microcomms for assistance, seeking our expertise in enabling remote control and communication for their ambitious project.
We proposed the use of a WatchGuard Firewall as a means to manage and allocate traffic over a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). This solution allowed for remote control of the unmanned survey vessel using a 4G signal. The WatchGuard Firewall Router not only created a secure VPN link but also offered traffic management and failover options, ensuring reliable connectivity even in areas with varying connection strengths. This innovative approach provided USS with a robust and efficient communication system for their unmanned vessels.
To address the challenges of offshore surveying, Microcomms recommended the StarLink Maritime solution to USS. After extensive testing with onshore models of the land-based RV StarLink, it became clear that it was a worthwhile investment. Integrating the StarLink Maritime solution with the existing WatchGuard setup proved to be the ideal approach for delivering the remote-control requirements needed to survey offshore. This satellite broadband link delivered unparalleled speeds at a competitive price, providing USS with a reliable and high-speed internet connection for their unmanned vessels. With the StarLink Maritime solution, USS could overcome the technological challenges of operating offshore remotely, opening new opportunities for data collection in these locations.
The unmanned survey segment represents the fastest-growing sector in the marine industry. These innovative solutions not only lower costs but also reduce carbon emissions by up to 95% compared to manned vessels. They also reduce risk by removing people from dangerous environments. With a key focus on offshore renewables, USVs play a vital role in the ongoing development of renewable energy. USS’s Accession Class USV has been designed to meet the challenges of working offshore and to collect high quality hydrographic and geophysical data at offshore windfarms, including those areas where the export power cables meet land, often across extensive shallow areas. By utilising USVs, USS contributes to the advancement of the marine industry’s sustainability goals and facilitates the efficient deployment of renewable energy infrastructure.
Recent testing in the Port of Falmouth, under the supervision of the Falmouth Harbourmaster, proved the effectiveness of USS’s unmanned survey solutions. The data collected around Pendennis Point demonstrated the capabilities of their Accession Class USV. Presently, the vessel is working off the north coast of Europe, collecting high resolution bathymetry and imagery data along offshore wind export power cable routes. This mission aims to verify the cables’ location, any exposure above the seabed, identify potential damage, and ultimately report on its structural integrity. With the support of Microcomms’ secure communication infrastructure, USS can successfully execute these missions, contributing to the growth and reliability of the marine survey industry.
The partnership between Microcomms and Unmanned Survey Solutions (USS) has ushered in a new era of innovation and efficiency in the marine survey industry. By providing cutting-edge solutions such as the WatchGuard Firewall Router and the StarLink Maritime satellite broadband link, Microcomms has enabled USS to overcome the challenges of offshore surveying and deliver unprecedented results. As the unmanned survey segment continues to grow, USS’s Accession Class USV, supported by Microcomms’ communication infrastructure, will play a crucial role in reporting on renewable energy sources and promoting sustainable practices in the marine industry. The Microcomms-USS collaboration serves as a shining example of the transformative power of remote survey operations in the offshore environment.
How can we help you?
Whether it’s getting involved with the new construction of a vessel, a refit project or hardware/software upgrades to meet the demands of a modern connected vessel, Microcomms could help you and your business. Get in touch today!
“It was great to have you and your team on site to install the equipment. You did a great job, both in making everything work, but also in handling a very difficult situation with sense of urgency and reassurance. I am impressed.
Your effort is highly appreciated.
, Reckitt Vienna
“Microcomms provide us with fantastic on-site and remote support. Nothing is ever too much trouble and all issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently. They have provided strategic insight into improving our infrastructure as well as maintaining our provision on a daily basis, always ensuring education and pupil's best interests are at the forefront of all actions.”.
Head Teacher, Ludgvan Primary School
“Microcomms epitomizes partnership, collaboration, clarity and support. During our most recent project there were a number of challenges that we needed to overcome in order to deliver our project on time and within budget. Microcomms went above and beyond, expanded their remit and reach for their role of Project Support and Management to assist in finding the best possible solutions and possibilities to ensure our project was delivered. The service and offering was nothing shor”.
Head of IT and D, Reckitt South Africa
“Aaron and his associates were wonderful to work with during all phases of opening up our new office! They were informative and took the time to explain how some of the new technology worked (in “layman’s terms”) with patience and hands on demonstrations. The team followed up with notes afterwards and was very thorough and never failed to address any questions or issues we had even after they departed. Super personable as well, they felt like family before they left! Enjoyed working with them! ”.
Office Coordinator, Reckitt Rogers, AR
“We continue to be impressed by Microcomms’ know how, expertise and professional yet down to earth and pragmatic style. Consultancy projects are well managed and I’d recommend their services to anyone.”.
IT Manager, Coodes Solicitors
“In our sporting hospitality business, customers expect great WiFi as well as fantastic golf. Microcomms have helped us meet our clients high expectations and ensure that visitors coming to Trevose have an all-round excellent experience. The team have worked really hard across all areas and we’re very happy with the service we’ve had.”.
Managing Director, Trevose Golf & Country Club
“There aren’t many Cornwall-based companies that can claim to have hands on experienced providing network connectivity to a Malaysian hut in the middle of a rainforest!”.
ICT Manager, The Eden Project