At a time when access to news from reputable sources is more important than ever, GTMaritime is introducing a fully-customisable news distribution service for vessel owners and operators helping them keep their crews up-to-date on events unfolding in their home countries as well as offering a selection of lighter content to help maintain morale.
Specifically designed for the marine environment, GTNews4Crew can be configured according to the nationalities and interests of a vessel’s crew. News channels can be selected based on language preferences to ensure articles delivered to vessels are both relevant and relatable. News is available in 20 languages, including those of the major seafarer nations, such as Indian, Filipino, and Russian.
Mike McNally, Global Commercial Director at GTMaritime explains, “A multilingual, locally-sourced solution was essential to avoid ‘foreign hotel TV’ syndrome, where you end up watching domestic broadcasts in the typically futile hope something from home will crop up and, if it does, then trying to piece the story together from any captions, footage, or listening beneath over-dubs. It invariably leaves you none the wiser.”
Another priority was accessibility. Today, most seafarers bring their own devices aboard to keep themselves entertained when off-duty. Once news articles have been downloaded to the onboard GTNews4Crew server, they can be viewed from personal laptops, tablets, smartphones by pointing them to the ship’s internal network.
McNally continues, “This allows crew to catch-up on happenings at home or the progress of their favourite sports team anytime and anywhere, whether as a talking point with their colleagues over a meal, or at the end of the day from the privacy of their cabin.”
Furthermore, because the news content is hosted locally, crew are not faced with the dilemma of whether or not to use their calling cards or allocated internet quota to keep abreast of rapidly developing events in their home countries, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. This means they are less likely to be worried by rumours or misinformation spread over social media.
GTNews4Crew is easy to deploy, with ready-made packages and scripts for all major computer operating systems and versions. Once up and running, content options can be managed on a vessel-by-vessel or fleetwide basis via a simple-to-use dashboard.
For ships with limited connectivity, GTNews4Crew also features granular control over how much and how often fresh news content is distributed in order to keep download sizes manageable. In the case of severe bandwidth constraints, the delivery of any images accompanying articles can be switched off.
McNally adds, “By default GTNews4Crew compresses each package of news before it is sent out and you would be surprised at how much can be squeezed into a few megabytes. But we understand broadband availability still varies significantly from fleet to fleet and from ship to ship.”
A basic version of GTNews4Crew will be provided as standard to all GTMail4Crew subscription customers. GTMaritime are also providing all customers with a trial of the basic version of GTNews4Crew for an initial 2-month period after which they can upgrade to the full version, continue enjoying the basic version by subscribing to GTMail4Crew, or end their trial.