In the last edition of our Digital Magazine, Bart van Hattem talks how to avoid AV and IT issues when the owner arrives.
Crew life on board a superyacht is sometimes very intense. Just before an owner arrives, lots of things need to happen. Checking all of the AV and IT on board is one of them.
But why is it always that one hour before guests go onboard the AV and IT system is playing up? It’s really frustrating that when the pressure to perform is at its peak, the systems most valued by clients are not performing. Suddenly the WiFi is weak, TV coverage is limited and the UI is not working. How can this be?
Knowing what is available at your destination
Coverage for bandwidth and TV are not the same in all locations. Some areas have similar content, but some areas have very different channels on offer. Likewise, access to bandwidth can differ considerably. So if an owner or guest has specific preferences, it’s advised to check what is available and how to provide access for the yacht. This will help avoid surprises that everyone wants to avoid.
Where can you find this information easily?
1 | The easiest way is to call an expert, like our 24/7 service team. They have an excellent grasp of the available options for any given area and can recommend which provider to use. They know what channels are available by location, and where you can watch e.g. the champions league or specific news channels. Even streaming options might be relevant for certain areas.
2 | Check if another vessel has been there before and what they learned. Chances are that the crew on another yacht can provide you with recommendations. Marine traffic pages can show you other yachts in the area. If you know someone on one of those yachts, check in with them for advice and tips.
3 | Alternatively, you can check websites of different suppliers in the area yourself and see what is available.
Checking in advance puts you in a better position to prepare and inform the owner and guests what they can expect at their destination.
Keep the ‘engine’ running
Like an engine that hasn’t been in use for a while, an AV system might act a bit ‘cold’ when in use again. Small changes, surprise updates, are just some of the many things which can be the cause of this. These are the kinds of surprises that you don’t want when an owner is about to go on board. It is better to have the system in use all the time, even when guests are not on board.
Tips to keep a system in active use, without guests on board
1 | Turn on the whole system! Don’t be afraid to have all systems up and running. The AV system should be able to handle this. This is also the best starting point to fine tune the system and finds small improvements that can have a big impact.
2 | Test all the parts of the system in all of the areas and rooms. You can set up a weekly schedule at specific times for different rooms and decks to spread the work, and enable you to test without the pressure of the owner being onboard.
3 | Have crew use the system. E.g. when stewardesses are cleaning or preparing guest rooms, let them use the AV system. They can turn on the TV, listen to music, play with the controls. It doesn’t have to take much time, as long as everything is used and tested. This will quickly reveal issues with the most used parts of the AV system.
4 | Schedule regular checks of the system with a professional team, like our service team. They can check for updates, inconsistencies, IP address changes, etc. This way, the people that develop these systems can ensure your system is working flawlessly, so you can focus on keeping it that way.
By regularly using the system, you will discover glitches quickly, before the owner and their guests arrive, to ensure smooth operation on board.
What to do during a layup?
During a layup, it’s the perfect moment to do some proper maintenance to the AV and IT. What are the best things to do?
1 | Don’t touch it! Although counterintuitive, this is sometimes the best thing you can do. When you are not familiar with the system or parts of it, you might end up causing more harm than improving anything. It’s like the classic saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
2 | If you are comfortable with your AV & IT system and familiar with how it works, this is an excellent time to update software, e.g. anti-virus, office programs or operating systems. Use the time you have available to check if everything works as expected.
3 | When you are comfortable enough to know the AV and IT needs upgrading, but are not sure what the impact could be, involve an expert. Repairing errors, especially last minute, can incur a lot of cost to the yacht. Involving an expert to do most of the upgrading for you, ensures all systems work as expected and saves a lot of money for last minute repairs.
We’ve helped many yachts with all sorts of problems. The above is our best advice to avoid the most common problems ETO’s might encounter.
We hope you find it helpful. If you are ever in need of advice or help, don’t hesitate to call us!
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