Stable Solutions | BSS ICT Groep



Jacco Batavier
Managing Director

"You can arrange things with BIT. 'I know that it is customary to fill out a ticket, but it is 8 pm and I have to have this solved right now. I'll fill out the ticket tomorrow.' Such flexibility is there, when it is needed."

BSS ICT Groep provides the full support of ICT surroundings for SMEs and discerns itself by combining a highly structured organisation with a degree of flexibility that, as a rule, is only found in small businesses. A particular specialisation is the ICT service for luxury river cruise ships.

Every ship must be online at all times

"In 2006 we received a request to provide a network for the MS Amadagio, a five-star river cruise ship of AMA Waterways. Now we manage onboard ICT for several shipping companies with a total of 42 cruise ships going between Amsterdam and Budapest. The well-known MS de Zonnebloem is also amongst our clientele. We are responsible for everything connected to an ethernet cable: from the film system in the guest's cabin up to the computer operated beer tap in the lounge. All this is monitored 24/7 from our office in Budapest. Every ship must be online at all times, not just for our resource management, but also for the passenger's internet access.

For guests in the five-star-plus segment, internet is a necessity. It is mainly about wealthy retired Americans wanting to have the trip of a lifetime. A day without internet would definitely be followed by insurance claims. Mr and Mrs each bring an iPad and an iPhone, and when their children or grandchildren come along, a MacBook and a Playstation comes as well. With eighty cabins per ship, this requires the bandwidth of a typical office building on the shore; 10 Mbit/s is the minimum.

Internet without hitches

We have spend a lot of time on developing a stable solution for that. The essence is that the onboard internet does not come from the ship itself, but from BIT. A ship is always connected to the UMTS network of at least two, but preferably three or four, independent providers. There is always a minimum of four active SIM cards. All these active lines lead to BIT, where we go online. That enables the lines to be stacked to get the required bandwidth. Furthermore we can centralise a number of other things, like content, filtering, email filtering, consolidating POS systems and the management of the onboard Wi-Fi access points. We also use special video compression software to optimise the use of the radio connection. The goal is to provide the passenger with an internet experience similar to what they have at home. In the USA, for example, it is normal that the weekly games of the local football clubs are aired on TV on Saturdays. The guests have to be able to watch these on board as well, without hitches.

Flexible as we need them to be

BSS has chosen BIT because they have the same mentality as we do. The charm of BSS is that we can be as flexible for our clients as a business with only four or five employees, but that we have the structure and organisation of a much bigger IT company. BIT is the same. Everything is a lot stricter with them than with our previous provider. They allowed a lot more, but later with BIT we learned that there are very good reasons for some things not to be allowed. We have adjusted to that, but if they are as flexible as we need them to be.

An example? In the initial phase, we have misjudged the bandwidth we would need. The moment you offer more bandwidth on board, it is used up really quickly then. The misjudgement resulted in the choice for a capacity that was too low for the central firewalls, so that had to be changed as well. When it turned out there was a delivery time for that, but we did not have the time to wait for it. BIT solved that for us by taking the necessary license from their internal stock, which was meant for their own systems. That is only possible in small, flexible businesses. It would be possible with us. And it is possible at BIT."

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