P&O Maritime Logistics enables IoT on offshore vessels with Aruba Solutions
P&O Maritime Logistics (formerly Topaz Energy and Marine), a leading provider of marine solutions with a focus on offshore energy and port services and logistics, has updated its wired and wireless infrastructure with technology from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. In addition to campus edge switches and Aruba Central, a cloud-based management and monitoring solution, P&O Maritime Logistics has also deployed industry-leading Aruba Wi-Fi access points. This network overhaul has resulted in simplified management of network policies and procedures across its offices and 110 offshore vessels. In addition to realizing full project return on investment (ROI) in 12 months, the project has also enabled the P&O Maritime Logistics IT team to develop mobility apps that enhance crew productivity.
Headquartered in Dubai, P&O Maritime Logistics provides a wide portfolio of services to its customers, such as offshore and port services and integrated logistics. The company operates a large fleet and has a presence on all seven continents.
With the company on a robust growth trajectory, Kris Vedat, Head of IT at P&O Maritime Logistics was aware that its network needed an overhaul. “As our operations expanded, we found it difficult to manage the disparate set of solutions from multiple vendors that comprised our network. Upgrade cycles, troubleshooting and support were complex. It also meant that we were unable to apply any standard sets of policies and procedures,” he said.
After standardizing the network on Aruba, the benefits seen by the company were numerous. What particularly impressed Vedat was Aruba Central. “A unified cloud-based management platform that could enable us to efficiently and effectively manage our wired and wireless environments was exactly what my team needed,” he said.
With Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP), Aruba Central allowed configurations and policies to be centrally applied, which helped overcome challenges of IT resource limitations and short deployment windows.
P&O Maritime Logistics’ vessels are typically out at sea for three to six months at a time, and in some cases, even up to a year, making Wi-Fi essential to crew welfare. Elaborating on this, Vedat said, “Email and other communication services play a vital role in keeping up crew morale. The reliability of Aruba’s high speed and secure wireless solution is thus highly valued.”
Vedat and his team are using mobility as a driver of multiple digital initiatives, increasingly making Wi-Fi a business-critical medium. The wireless platform supports the introduction of several purpose-built apps, designed to reduce manual tasks and enhance crew productivity.
The company's Planned Maintenance System is an example of such an application. Whereas this was previously desktop based, requiring crew to shuttle back and forth to update activities and issue work orders, today Vedat and his team have been able to take advantage of the Wi-Fi coverage available across all decks. This approach has significantly increased staff productivity and improved their workplace experience, saving the company time and money, while enhancing user satisfaction.
Looking to the future, Vedat sees potential to maximise his company’s utilisation of Aruba Central. In particular, he is keen to take advantage of the platform’s powerful bandwidth and traffic management features. This will be particularly important for prioritising performance for critical applications, devices and user profiles, since bandwidth is a special resource for vessels at sea.
Aruba User Experience Insight (UXI) is another solution that the company is evaluating. This provides mobile user application service assurance and rapid troubleshooting through easy to deploy sensors that continuously perform user-centric application testing.
For Vedat and his team, standardising P&O Maritime Logistics’ network architecture on Aruba’s industry leading solutions has proved to be a resounding success, delivering on all their expectations, while eliminating network complexity and reducing management overheads.
"The appeal of Aruba for us is its cloud-based network management solution, which provides ZTP. It helps us to cut infrastructure configuration, eliminate manual intervention and speed up deployment,” said Vedat.
“We save considerable man-hours each week thanks to automation and significantly simpler management, made possible by Aruba Central. In the 12 months since initial deployment, we have already achieved full return on investment,” he concluded.