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Discussing The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show And How Technology Is Changing The Yachting Industry

Global Eagle is a technology company that creates products that allow users to remain connected to internet and streaming services wherever they are in the world (on a yacht traveling the seas or flying on a jet, for example). PRIVA, the new luxury line recently introduced by Global Eagle, will serve ultra-high net worth individuals across their assets—on land at their private villa or island, at sea on their yacht and in the air on board their private jets. 

We sat down with Global Eagle Senior Vice President of Maritime Ole Sivertsen at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to discuss the latest yachting technology industry trends and more. Highlights from our conversation are below. 

Describe your job.

In layman’s terms, I run the maritime business of Global Eagle where PRIVA by Global Eagle is our exclusive luxury boutique line that serves the digital needs of super yacht owners, high net worth individuals, VIP clients and royal families. We make sure that we give them everything that they need in terms of staying connected with mobile devices and being able to use the internet and stream movies. For them, a yacht is very often an extension of their home. This big super yacht, they may own it for 365 days a year, but only use it a couple of days per year. Everything needs to be beyond perfect when they’re there. Internet access and being able to use tools, it's just become so important. We’re all addicted to it. I call it 'no-phone phobia: fear of living in a disconnected world.' 

Is the Global Eagle technology on the yachts different than what people would typically think of as WiFi?

The technology on the boat would typically be WiFi, but you need to connect that WiFi to something when the ship is away from port. We have satellite technology, communicating to satellites 36,000 kilometers into space. We’re sending a single from the satellite to the vessel, and bringing that back to the shore side and connecting that to the public internet and whatever service is needed. Then we can follow the yacht around the world wherever they go and make sure they have the same experience that they would at home. 

What is your favorite new technology being introduced by Global Eagle?  

If we talk about the APET (application performance enhancement technology) that’s getting very technical, but it’s very cool because an internet link is really like a two-way street. You know cars can go up and they can come down. You have these two lanes that you need to stay within and the problem with traffic on the internet is there’s just so much of it, and if you only have two lanes then you come on board with your smartphone and you’ve taken a lot of pictures and movies, and what happens with these devices is the moment they see a WiFi network then all the pictures and movies that you’ve taken start to be uploaded and backed up into the cloud. Beautiful services, but that means that all the traffic lanes fill up. What APET does is it creates a thousand lanes and then you can really use those links for efficiency and create an experience where you can surf the internet or watch a movie seamlessly. 

What's your favorite thing about yachts?

I think all of the big brands out there have their own niche and what I really like about the different brands is their uniqueness because every individual on this planet is a unique human being and each have unique tastes. Even if you take a certain brand, every single thing on that yacht will be tailor-made the way you want it. It’s a fascinating industry.

What makes Global Eagle's technology have an edge over the competition? 

I don’t look too much to the competition, really. For us the most important competition is to continuously compete with ourselves. Our guiding star is that everything we engage in and everything we do for our clients is going to be something that will be focused on enriching their time for the owners when they’re on board, and enrich the time for the captains, the ETO's and the crew members on board. We want to make sure that the enormous pressure that the crews are under for having everything be beyond perfect when the owner comes on board, that we are there to support them and to back them up in any kind of situation. We have spent quite some time and invested a lot in building a specific concierge level service to support them with 24/7 access to the best experts in the industry. The moment someone picks up a phone when you call in, you speak to an expert who can actually solve everything that’s related to that problem for you there and then. That’s very important for us. 

What’s your advice to someone who is attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show for the first time?

It depends what you’re looking for. If you’re coming here to buy a yacht, or if you’re coming here to look at accessories and toys, it would be very different. I would say go through the show guide, visit the pavilion area where you have a lot of variety in what is presented there and then, of course, it’s always beautiful to just walk along dockside and look at all these big yachts, dream a little bit and have some fun.