The New Reality: Flat Panel Antennas


A new era of connectivity was welcomed in at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show as e3 Systems and Kymeta presented working installations of its revolutionary new communications solutions to leading players from across the industry – with many now actively considering flat panels as a refit option and for all new builds.

Owners, agents, captains, shipyards, re-fitters, service providers and the media took the opportunity to join tours to see the technology in action aboard the two superyachts that had successfully trialled the panels over several months across the Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean. Each tour was led by engineers and crew who had supported the installations and monitored the performance of the technology throughout the trials.

The tours took VIPs to see working Kymeta KyWay™ terminals onboard the 65-meter motor yacht White Rose of Drachs moored at Cap d’Ail and the 89-meter sailing yacht, Maltese Falcon, swinging at anchor outside Monaco harbour. Guests were invited to inspect the panels in situ on both yachts and to connect to the internet using their smart phones and tablets. There were also detailed explanations of the Kymeta™ combiners – designed to optimise performance for multi-panel solutions.

A real game changer

e3 and Kymeta engineers together with the captain and crew of each vessel were on hand to provide their own personal account of how the trials progressed and to answer the many questions fielded by those on the tour. The take-out from all those involved in the trials was that they had been a resounding success. A few issues with cabling had been resolved and the panels were undoubtedly fit for purpose.

Ready for Refit

Seeing the panels and installations for the first time, discovering how practical their light weight makes them and actually being able to connect and work with them directly, proved a revelation to many on the tours.

See a Kymeta panel fitted in 30 seconds here

e3 are now in the process of measuring the significant business generated. Roger Horner, MD of e3 explained: “The working terminals made an instant impression and interest from across the industry has been overwhelming. I have already been approached by agents for several well-known superyachts who see this technology as viable and are actively pursuing refit options. A significant number of shipyards have also said they will now offer them as a standard option on all their new builds. To cap it all, one prestigious design group’s response was ‘this changes everything’ – and I totally agree.”

Perhaps the biggest boost for this game-changing technology has come from the captains of the two yachts which were involved with the trials. For a yacht’s captain connectivity is fundamental to the smooth working of his vessel and the effectiveness of this new technology has not been lost on Nikolaos Leontitsis, captain of the Maltese Falcon and Andrew Schofield, captain of the White Rose. Both have now publicly stated that they plan to cut their domes off when the refit opportunity arises.

“Connectivity is critical on the water for both guests and crew. Kymeta panels have significantly improved the communications as well as the internet and on-demand entertainment wherever we sail and whatever the conditions,” explains Leontitsis. “For the yachting industry, flat panels are without doubt the way forward and, as soon as the opportunity arises, we will be removing the domes and going permanently flat. Furthermore, going flat gives a yacht a sleeker look and can improve sailing performance.”


See Maltese Falcon refitted with Kymeta panels 
here

The opportunity for considerable weight advantages is also an important consideration, as Schofield is keen to point out: “We look forward to progressing from the current temporary trial installation to the finalized fully-integrated solution, which will rid the yacht of the current VSAT and TVRO domes. This will remove over five tons of weight from her super structure and provide the yacht with permanent access to the internet.”

See White Rose of Drachs refitted with Kymeta panels here

Good to go

The big question that many in the industry were asking at Monaco is “when will the panels be ready to fit?” And the answer is imminently and e3 is currently taking orders for both single and multi-panel solutions. The single panel solution will be commercially available before the end of this year – this is designed to work across the Mediterranean and from Rhode Island to Trinidad. While multi-panel commercial availability will be Q2 2018, to allow time for the combiner units to move from prototype stage to full commercial production. Both solutions will initially be available with Kymeta KĀLO™ service with other service providers coming online soon.

The first e3 Certified Installation Centres have been appointed in Europe and the US with more to be announced by the end of the year. Leading superyacht facilities Rybovich in West Palm Beach and Port Denianear Valencia both specialise in superyacht refit, repair and maintenance. As a Certified Installation Centre, they provide state-of-the-art facilities, together with e3‘s Kymeta-trained technical staff, to offer fully customised flat panel installations across a wide range of vessels.

All set for Florida…

It’s all systems go once again for e3 with the sales and engineering team out in force at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Following on from its success in Monaco, the leading communications integrator and solutions provider for the marine industry will be on the Aft Deck in the USSA Pavilion at FLIBS and will be demonstrating a single panel installation from a motoryacht in the Fleet Miami fleet at Pier 66, alongside the Show.

Register for a VIP tour here

…and Amsterdam

e3 and Kymeta will also be hosting a booth in the Super Yacht Pavilion at METS this November with a full team on-hand to answer questions and assist clients. In addition, the companies are sponsors of The Superyacht Forum and will be making a main stage presentation followed by daily workshops. Full details at http://www.superyachtnews.com/thesuperyachtforum

The New Reality: Flat Panel Antennas

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