Smooth crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania
With its ferries voyaging across Bass Strait between Melbourne and Tasmania each day carrying up to 1,500 passengers and crew per crossing, the Spirit of Tasmania has its work cut out for it keeping passengers fed, watered and entertained.
After all, the crossing can take between nine and eleven hours. Luckily, Spirit of Tasmania’s passengers are well catered to with restaurants, bars, cinemas and kids entertainment options onboard.
But how do you make paying for a coffee or a delicious buffet lunch at sea as quick and easy as it is on land? TT-Line, the company behind the Spirit of Tasmania ferry service, partnered with ATM prover ATM2Go to deliver real-time payment services to ATM machines onboard its ferries.
ATM2Go then turned to Vcomms to provide the link between those onboard ATMs, its switch provider and ATM software back on the mainland. The solution relied on a satellite internet connection, which also provides web surfing to passengers on the Spirit of Tasmania.
Two key challenges
We deployed Vcomms’ COSMOS Network as a Service to offer reliable, fast and secure connectivity from ferry to home base. COSMOS needed to handle two key challenges in servicing Spirit of Tasmania at Sea.
The high latency involved in transferring information via a satellite connection can pose challenges for processing and authenticating payment transactions quickly. The system also had to integrate into Spirit of Tasmania’s onboard network to access the satellite connection providing that crucial communications link.
This is where Vcomms’ VIPER remote units came into their own. The lightweight and compact units were designed with ATMs and financial terminals in mind, so were easily integrated into ATM2Go’s onboard ATMs.
The VIPER remote units are specially designed with communication protocols to deal with the high latency experienced over wireless networks so were up to the job of communicating via satellite.
They also had to have their own static IP addresses to connect to the ship’s network. That was taken care of too. While optimised to handle mobile network connections, the VIPER remote units equipped with two Ethernet ports for easy integration into wired infrastructure too.
With one port connected to the ATM and the other to the Spirit of Tasmania onboard network, the COSMOS Network as a Service went live over the internet connection.
ATM2Go was then able to use Vcomms’ GLIMPSE web console to monitor and control the network from ATMs through to their own systems.
The Vcomms team was able to deliver the COSMOS Network as a Service with very little difference in latency over the satellite connection compared to a 3G mobile network link, satisfying ATM2Go’s needs.
The result is that Spirit of Tasmania customers have quick access to cash and an easy way to pay for their food and beverages onboard using debit and credit cards.
With COSMOS Network as a Service, VIPER remote units and the GLIMPSE web console, Vcomms delivered:
• Highly reliable connectivity over a satellite internet connection
• Industry required transaction security (such as HMAC-SHA and AES)
• Fast transaction times
• A great card holder experience
• ATM visibility at any time even when the ferry is out at sea