CCP Capital Strategies LLC (“CCP”), a private equity investment firm, today announced that a newly formed CCP affiliate has acquired 100 percent of the stock of Wireless Maritime Services, LLC (“WMS”) from AT&T and Anuvu. Formed in 2005 and headquartered in Miramar, Florida, WMS provides maritime cellular networks enabling secure, high-performance connectivity at sea. WMS’ existing management team will continue to lead to the business, which will now operate as an independent platform.
“This transaction is an important milestone for WMS and we’re excited to partner with CCP to continue to deliver and innovate our best-in-class wireless offerings. Our focus will remain on our customers, employees and partners as we commence this new and exciting phase for WMS,” said Pramod Arora, WMS President & CEO.
“We’ve been close to the WMS story since 2006 when the company pioneered the maritime cellular market and we’re thrilled to partner with this team as the business transitions to be an independent platform,” said David Collier, CCP’s Managing Partner. “WMS’ market leadership positions it well to address a rapidly expanding opportunity for specialized wireless connectivity solutions.”
Moore & Van Allen and Morgan, Lewis and Bockius served as legal counsel to CCP. Drake Star Partners served as the exclusive financial advisor to AT&T and Anuvu. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and Wiley Rein LLP served as legal counsel to AT&T. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel to Anuvu. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About CCP Capital Strategies
CCP Capital is a private equity investment firm focused on companies operating in specialty communications, aerospace and government services. The firm specializes in working with founder-operators and in executing seamless divestitures to build best-in-class middle market companies. CCP has offices in Greenwich, CT and Atlanta, GA.
WMS is a leading provider of maritime cellular networks, supporting the cruise, ferry, yacht and shipping industries worldwide. As award winning technology leaders, WMS enables digital transformation shaping the future of maritime by connecting people, data, and things through an exceptional wireless network experience. The company is headquartered in Miramar, FL with additional operations in Atlanta, GA.
Maritime communications have changed significantly over the past 20 years, and with it, so have the opportunities available for offering new services to passengers.
“After Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) was founded in 2004, cellular connectivity became widespread very quickly,” says Pramod Arora, president and CEO of the communications technology provider. “Cellular roaming soon became part of every ocean-going vessel and wi-fi came along with it.”
According to Arora, this superfast growth was prompted by changing attitudes towards the technology. “In the mid-2000s, mobile connectivity was still in its infancy on cruise ships, and for vacationers it was even seen as a distraction rather than a potential benefit,” he explains. “I remember some cruise lines even promoting the idea of not using devices because it would prevent guests from being able to enjoy their vacation.
The cold chain mission is quite simple - manage temperature and environmental conditions of perishable products from the point of origin, through distribution, to the consumer, ensuring maximum cargo quality and safety. Perishable cargo’s end-to-end journey can have up to ten hand-off points from farm to table where small temperature deviations along the way can have a cumulative effect on quality. When containerized perishable cargo is at sea, systems that enhance the crew member’s situational awareness for managing temperature deviations, with minimal response time, are required to sustain quality and safety.
Improving Situational Awareness and Response Time Maintains Perishable Quality and Safety
Situational awareness is comprehending events within an environment and projecting future possible outcomes to determine likely responses - it is an acute awareness of events in your surroundings. Achieving situational awareness relies on your ability to see, understand and analyze the world around you in the context of what you are trying to do. Situational awareness has been recognized as a critical, yet often elusive, foundation for successful decision-making across a broad range of scenarios, many of which involve the protection of human life and property. For example, when driving a car, you look in the rear-view mirror and notice the person behind you paying more attention to their phone than the road. Your awareness of the situation will dictate your current and future actions. Inadequate situational awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.
The medical community often cites the “golden hour” as the crucial time for administering treatment to a critically injured patient to prevent irreversible damage. For perishables at sea, where it is normal for crew members to manually inspect refrigerated containers, temperature deviations can persist for hours before intervention. One study found that temperature variability for foods during distribution can be as high as 10° C which can be a leading contributor to the often-cited United Nations estimate of one-third of food waste from farm to fork. With ninety percent of goods transported by sea, equipping shipping lines with tools that enable ideal situational awareness and faster response from crew members will help maintain perishable quality and safety.
Detecting Temperature Deviations via Manual Inspection is Inefficient
Centralized Monitoring of Containers Onboard Vessels Improves Situational Awareness
Wireless Text Alerting of Container Alarms Improves Response Time
WMS’ Mixed Fleet Capabilities Enable Interoperability at Sea
According to one study, about sixty percent of temperature-controlled cargo losses can be attributed to a combination of incorrect temperature settings, reefer equipment breakdown, failure to plug in the reefer and reefer damage. Ensuring seafarers are equipped with the tools to minimize temperature-affecting issues is critical to accomplishing the mission of managing perishable product quality and safety at sea.
At Wireless Maritime Services, we have partnered with leading telematics providers, and Druid Software, to deliver a wireless Internet of Things (IoT) vessel network enabling container visibility, efficiency and operational remote control at sea. We are committed to empower seafarers with capabilities for more efficient, easier and safer container vessel operations.
Faster response times to temperature deviations on containers at sea is achievable with wireless IoT networks capable of proactively alerting crew members. Additionally, choosing the right solution provider capable of supporting mixed fleets accelerates digitizing maritime transportation at sea.
Druid’s RAEMIS Software Orchestrates Roaming at Sea and Port Automation
Global mobile IoT applications suffer from gaps, such as vessels at sea, in coverage where IoT devices can no longer be monitored. Druid’s IoT Reach solution deployed by WMS, lights up these gaps with coverage for IoT devices. IoT reach can operate in licensed or unlicensed spectrum depending on the specific use case. It acts as an inbound roaming network for IoT devices and provides a real time management interface to identify the IoT devices present on its radio resources.
Some sample vertical markets for IoT reach include Maritime Container tracking, telemetry for Utilities, mining, Gas fields, pipelines.
Cargo handling is a highly automated business, the use of unmanned container handling equipment is becoming necessary for shipping companies to maintain competitiveness. The deployment of unmanned vehicles requires large amounts of data to cope with the positioning application, vehicle control and cargo data. Druid’s private cellular 4G & 5G RaemisTM platform provides dedicated secure coverage, low latency and ease of management and expansion which is critical for this type of solution. Two customer references in the segment we can share are our LTE Rotterdam Port deployment running for over 6 years now, and more recently in 2021, the Port of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) has been chosen as the winner of the 2021 Seatrade Cruise Product of the Year Award for advances made in cruise ship wireless networks. WMS has accomplished an industry-first deploying the most 4G LTE cellular networks across their fleet of 160+ cruise ships. This advancement provides guests and crew members faster data connection speeds at sea using WMS' Cellular at Sea service from their mobile devices.
Pramod Arora, President & CEO for WMS said, “We take pride in the investments we have made in our network over several years to differentiate WMS from our competition, and our employees have executed to deliver this technology to our cruise customers better than anyone else in the industry. This award is an acknowledgement of our commitment to provide the best network on cruise ships, and to the hard work of WMS team.”
Ian McGhie, Vice President of Engineering and Operations for WMS added, "We are extremely honored to be chosen by our cruise industry peers for this highly-coveted award. These advances create efficiencies and positions cruise lines for future capabilities while simultaneously improving the passenger experience. Specifically, 4G LTE uses less satellite bandwidth, improves data speeds, utilizes less space onboard and is future-ready for 5G."
Deploying a More Efficient Wireless Network
LTE is built specifically to support data versus 2G/3G technologies that were adapted to support data. This crucial change in design greatly improves how data packets handle transmissions from a device, through the LTE network, over satellite and back to Earth. In summary, LTE tolerates satellite interference better and continues to deliver data when the connection quality is not ideal. The new LTE components are also more compact than legacy 2G and 3G equipment allowing for an easier path to upgrade in the tight shipboard real estate environment while maintaining power needed for vessel wireless coverage.
Improving Guest and Crew Onboard Connectivity
For passengers, LTE is a faster, stronger and more reliable connection. LTE improved data speeds are similar at sea, which passengers have become accustomed to at home, versus 2G and 3G systems. Guests access mobile services on their devices quicker enabling them to share their cruise experience via social media and messaging apps.
Investing in the Future of Maritime Communication at Sea
WMS’ deployment of 4G LTE is future-ready for the next generation of cellular – 5G. The 4G LTE hardware that has been installed onboard WMS' ships can be upgraded to 5G with software without the need to remove, modify or add additional hardware to take onboard connectivity into the future.
Wireless Maritime Services and CommScope’s RUCKUS Collaborate to Deliver Faster, More Reliable Wi-Fi at Sea
MIRAMAR, Fla, USA – Sep. 28, 2021 – Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), the pioneer in wireless networking at sea, and CommScope are collaborating to deliver the connectivity experience users expect at sea. As part of the collaboration, WMS will have access to the advanced benefits of CommScope’s technology and software, including RUCKUS Wi-Fi access points, RUCKUS Analytics and the RUCKUS IoT Suite for maritime customers from cruise ships, cargo ships, ferries and private yachts at sea. With WMS and CommScope, passengers will benefit from superfast Wi-Fi connectivity necessary for video streaming, virtual conference calls, remote working and onboard IoT applications.
Wi-Fi connectivity quality at sea can be slow, unreliable and a frustrating experience due in part to inferior network design or unreliable hardware. With CommScope’s RUCKUS Wi-Fi 6 solutions coupled with WMS’ network design, integration and management expertise, ships can connect more wireless devices with far greater performance, reliability and support.
“Connecting to family, friends and colleagues when at sea is no longer a luxury and could be a differentiator in driving guest and crew loyalty for generations to come. CommScope’s RUCKUS Wi-Fi access points use state-of-the-art innovation that not only enable superfast speeds but cater to consumer demands and remote workplace requirements that have increased over the past year,” said Lee Mabie, Vice President of Strategy, Product Development and Marketing for Wireless Maritime Services.
“WMS are experts at cost-effective wireless design, integration and management. We have delivered more than 160 custom designs for wireless networks in the cruise, ferry, shipping and yacht market for over thirty brands – including some of the largest cruise ships in the world”, continued Mabie. “We look forward to guiding customers on how to design a fast, reliable network underpinned by RUCKUS connectivity.”
How the Maritime industry could benefit from RUCKUS connectivity and WMS’ wireless expertise
For cruise lines, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity will support emerging use cases at sea for real-time IoT technologies that safeguard passengers in the age of COVID. This includes broadcasting muster drill content and enabling passenger check-in at muster stations to avoid large crowd gathering. The connected experience also equips passengers with less contact and more convenience – such as viewing menus and ordering food via mobile devices.
“The shipping industry is using IoT technology to address real world challenges such as food loss during transportation via shipping containers. Efficiency management applications can monitor storage temperature, location, and incidents in near-real time which enables faster response to container issues while mitigating potential food spoilage,” said Bart Giordano, Senior Vice President of Sales for RUCKUS, CommScope. “WMS, who has years of experience in providing IoT networks and applications, will now be able to offer maritime customers RUCKUS software that manages all of these IoT devices on a single pane of glass using advanced, reliable Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.”
The deployment of management applications and Wi-Fi connectivity at sea require industry specific knowledge. WMS’ years of maritime experience combined with relationships with shipyards, ports and industry vendors enables the company to build and test customized, integrated solutions in-house.
For more information about WMS please visit wmsatsea.com.
About Wireless Maritime Services (WMS)
Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) enables digital transformation shaping the future of maritime connecting people, data and things through best in class cellular networks supporting roaming and IoT solutions. WMS also offers Wi-Fi and cellular design, installation and management solutions for multiple industries. WMS has been a pioneer in wireless maritime network and cellular roaming since 2004 leading in radio frequency (RF) engineering for some of the most prestigious maritime brands in the world. WMS is headquartered in Miramar, Florida, USA. Follow WMS on LinkedIn at Wireless Maritime Services (WMS).