State-owned and managed by TT-Line, Spirit of Tasmania I and its sister ship, Spirit of Tasmania II has safely carried passengers across the eleven hour journey from mainland Australia to Tasmania since 2002.
In 2015 Spirit of Tasmania undertook an extensive $31 million refurbishment to continue to provide its passengers with a contemporary and unique travel experience.
Chief Information Officer, Tim Harlow has been central in the process, “With passengers on board for eleven hours we strive to make the on board experience pleasurable and memorable so passengers continue to travel with us.
“Two areas we wanted to look at were passenger communications and passenger entertainment. Prior to the refurbishment we had limited on-board entertainment and all promotions and communications were on printed collateral; a costly and time consuming exercise to manage.”
Spirit of Tasmania looked into a number of options for their on board systems, including traditional airline TV systems and traditional satellite TV solutions, but determined them too costly and not delivering the service and solution they required.
Tim Harlow continued, “We wanted a solution we could manage ourselves, that required little IT support and would be reliable. We looked to the market and found Tripleplay, a digital media platform that appeared to deliver both the media streaming functionality and the digital signage capabilities we needed.
“To have one platform for both services made it an advantageous choice, simple to manage and the quality it delivered has not let us down.”
Tripleplay delivers its Media Portal solution to web browsers on the mobile devices of passengers, allowing them to automatically access eight live TV channels by logging into the on-board WiFi. Channels are streamed using HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) ensuring all devices are capable of receiving the feed, regardless of browser.
“We didn’t want an app based system, we wanted it to be a universal system so all iOS and Android users could access the content without downloading special and specific apps. The browser based TripleChoice Media Portal allows that, meaning by configuring our WiFi network correctly we can intelligently drive passengers to the portal, making it a simple process and ensuring uptake of the service,” continued Harlow.
Both Spirit of Tasmania ships carry 500 passengers on night sailings and up to 1400 passengers on day sailings during peak periods. The solution from Tripleplay can serve all passengers from a single point.
Digital Signage has added a finishing touch to the refurbishment, creating a contemporary ambience with its eye catching graphics, videos and information, making the on board experience more modern and dynamic.
Spirit of Tasmania is a digital signage player-free environment, with TripleSign software and Samsung Smart Signage Platform (SSSP) screens used to provide an advertising medium for key tourism partners and to promote on board services.
With eleven hours of journey time they provide a great platform for exposure for those using them.
Within the hospitality industry it is well known that clearer signage can contribute to both increased consumer spend and increased efficiency at the point of sale, Tim Harlow explains, “Prior to our digital signage, paper menus were placed on the bar, meaning passengers weren’t able to view menu items until they were at the bar itself.
“Through the use of digital menu boards we now provide passengers the opportunity to think about their choices in advance, meaning when they arrive at the point of sale they know what they want, they may choose to order more than what they may have done if making a decision on the spot and their transaction doesn’t take as long as it used to.”
Spirit of Tasmania offers a unique sailing experience from the moment passengers walk on board, with technology now playing its part in ensuring passengers remember their journey for all of the right reasons.
Tim Harlow continues, “We have a range of bars and dining options, two cinemas, live entertainment, kids game zone, tourism information centre, a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and the greatest benefit – passengers can take as much luggage as they can fit in their cars and drive straight on board. By adding the digital screens and the live TV services we have created another unique selling point.”
With a number of options available for Spirit of Tasmania it was important that they chose the right platform and the right solution for passengers.
“Tripleplay had the functionality we needed as standard, straight out of the box, delivering the IPTV, mobile streaming and digital signage. The platform is straight forward, easy to use and requires such a small amount of servicing and support that we can focus on our core responsibilities.
“This is a genuinely innovative platform for this environment, offering a superb quality product at a competitive price and with a much better cost value. I am delighted we chose to work with Tripleplay, in a unique environment like this it is great to be using such an innovative and high quality technology.
“The implementation has been very smooth and reseller FreeNet were also excellent to help us achieve our goals.”