Replacement of the wireless communication and messaging system for the Zr. Ms. Zeeland

It’s been 15 years since the IP Company installed a revolutionary wireless communication system for that period in time on four patrol ships and the Joint Support Ship of the Dutch Navy. In 2007, The IP Company received a request from the Ministry of Defense whether it was possible to use software to allow a ship to sail reliably ‘unmanned’ with a small number of crew. ‘Unmanned’ stands for moving a ship with a minimum amount of staff. In the past it took at least 100 crew members to move a ship from A to B but the goal was to cut this number back by half.

Innovative Technology for the year 2007

Our proposal to our partner Rohde & Schwarz was to solve this issue with smartphones and a Wi-Fi network onboard the ship. The IP Company proposed to combine this network with a Platform Management System (PMS) and a Combat Management System (CMS). At the time, Rohde & Schwarz were hesitant at first because they thought the Ministry of Defense would not accept such a progressive proposal. After all, smartphones and Wi-Fi had never been installed on navy vessels before.

We were able at that time to show that a wireless network would be more secure than a fixed network. For the smartphones that were on the market at the time, we made the decision not to use Windows (in 2007 this was the standard), but to opt for Linux/Android operating system.

We were facing the problem that there were no ruggedized Android Smartphones in 2007. To solve this issue, we approached a big German manufacturer and we proposed to them to make an existing windows device suitable for Linux/Android.

To guarantee the security of the Wi-Fi network on the patrol vessel, we first performed several security tests with TNO (The Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research).

Installation on the ship

After managing to solve all the technical challenges, the first ship just came out of the shipyard. We started installing all the networks on board of the first ship.

Installing a Wi-Fi network on a ship of steel came with new challenges. We needed specialists who knew exactly what to do with the access points and the Wi-Fi-controller. It is of great importance to set up the Wi-Fi infrastructure in such a way that it will not interfere with other equipment and will not cause any transmission problems. Now, 15 years later we know exactly how to tackle all these challenges and have the best solutions.

The new improved software of The IP Company 

In the past years we actively improved our existing software and also developed new software. We have developed various new mobile apps to help crew members performing their tasks more efficiently. We have also added a function for Track and Trace of crew members and assets to our software solution.

Our software runs on the latest state of the art safety standards; the systems run in a completely virtualized network environment and are duplicated for optimal redundancy.

Replacement Patrol Vessel Zr. Ms. Zeeland

In the world of technology, the year 2007 seems like another era. Our solutions from back then are still functioning excellent after 15 years but the time has come for new hard- and software that will come with new potential.

This summer we will provide a complete upgrade of the hard- and software on the Zr. Ms. Zeeland. The other ships will follow in 2023.

The IP Company participated in the Netherlands Pavillion

From July 13th til July 15th The IP Company participated in the Netherlands Pavillion at the https://defea.gr/ in Athens. We had meetings withe several Companies. A few of them resulting from the B2B meeting 2 weeks earlier but also a number of sponteneous meetings. Diner at the dutch ambassy and diner on top of the Greek National Opera building. https://www.nationalopera.gr/en/snfcc

The IP company participated in the Hellenic – Netherlands Industry day in Athens

On July 2nd The IP company participated in the Hellenic – Netherlands Industry day in Athens. The industry day was the first event under the umbrella of the Partners in Business Program aimed at the increased collaboration between The Netherlands and Greece.

Jan Christian Dicke explains the role the Netherlands Ministry of Economic affairs

During the morning various presentations were given by the NIDV, their Greek counterparts, the Ministry of Economic affairs and the Greek Defence Procurement Organisation. Also https://www.damen.com/ did give an excellent presentation on their ambitions to involve Greek partners in their offer for the new Greek Frigates. In the Afternoon there were short B2B speeddating sessions. The Ip Company spoke withe several companies and with 5 of them it was decided that a follow up meeting during the DEFEA Exhibition would be benificial.

WCMS for Combat Support Ship

Last Wednesday (September 16, 2020) was the day. The IP Company (IPCO) and Damen Shipyards have signed the contract for the supply of IPCO’s Wireless Communication and Messaging System on board the Royal Netherlands Navy’s new Combat Support Ship (Den Helder).

With the contract, the RNLN will receive a system based on proven technology and standardized to provide commonality across the Dutch naval fleet. The IP Company has delivered the WCMS onboard the RNLN’s Ocean-Going Patrol Vessels of the Holland Class and the Joint Support Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman. This means that the complete CSS system has the same look and feel as the systems present on the other vessels. It also guarantees that new developments on the Holland Class and HNLMS Karel Doorman will be implemented on the CSS as well. This commonality offers not only crew familiarity, but also optimizes training, maintenance and many other processes. 

The IP Company is at the forefront of technology and offers innovative solutions for a truly state-of-the-art secure wireless communications system. The unique feature of our systems are that they convey both voice and data, enabling communication between crew members, both in the administrative and operational domains. 

The system is an integrated one, which connects regular desk phones as well as secure wireless handheld devices, all further enhanced with specific functions for naval use, ensuring that information ends up directly at the right people. These people can then be mobilized immediately, increasing efficiency and improving on board safety. Although DSNS has collaborated with The IP Company on previous vessels built for the Royal Netherlands Navy, for which the Defence Materiel Organisation acted as intermediary, the two companies will now work together directly to provide the CSS with a wireless communication suite with proven high reliability. Following the signing of the contract, The IP Company will commence engineering. Equipment supply to the CSS is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2022.

NIVP Meeting

Finally a live meeting. The NIDV Informatie Voorziening Platform (ICT platform from the NIDV) Held its annual meeting at van der Valk in Hoofddorp. Of Course with all Corona rules well observed. We had interesting presentations on The ICT strategy of the Netherlands MoD (MoD CIO Jeroen van der Vlugt), and some in depth presentations on various topics a.o. Multi Party Computation by TNO, Cybercrime by the Police, Cyber safe Behaviour by Hoffman.

Insights Magazine

Today the insights magazine came online. With an interview about the WCMS system that Tjeerd did some weeks ago with Kevin Stouten. And of course a lot of other recognized Netherlands Defence partners. See: Insights

Koninklijke Marine [Royal Netherlands Navy] very enthusiastic

The IP Company leads the way with an innovative system

The new Combat Support Ship (CSS) Zr.Ms. Den Helder, which the Netherlands Navy will be operating in the coming years, will hopefully be equipped with The IP Company’s Wireless Communication and Messaging System (WCMS). The Netherlands Navy uses the communication system on board the Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman and four Holland class patrol ships, and they had good experiences with it.

“The advantage is simple: monitoring incoming fault and maintenance reports is no longer a main task, but a secondary task. As a result, we can work more effectively and free up one or two people on board for tasks and work that are even more important,” says Kevin Stouten, an officer on Zr.Ms.Holland who is responsible for the safety of the systems on board.

The IP Company’s innovative communication system was built into the construction of that ship. After seven years, the experiences are very positive, says Stouten. “In the past, all reports arrived in a control room that was constantly staffed by one or two people. They forwarded reports to crew members manually. Thanks to WCMS, this is no longer necessary. Nowadays, one person is responsible on a daily basis: this crew member logs into the system and receives notifications on a specially-secured smartphone or tablet. In the meantime, he or she is available for other activities. In short, crew members can be deployed much more flexibly.”

Greater safety

In addition to saving on personnel costs, WCMS contributes to greater safety on board. Sensors guarantee that dangerous situations are known at lightning speed. Moreover, the Technical Service has constant insight into maintenance reports so the chance of machines and equipment failing is extremely low. The crew also uses WCMS as a voice communication system. “For example, this is very handy if you work with machines that produce a lot of noise. You can then set up a group chat on the earphones of a headset.”

In the seven years that the Holland class has been working with WCMS, there have been no significant problems, says Stouten. “It is crucial that the Wi-Fi coverage on board is good; and despite all the steel, it is 100 percent.”

Stouten expects that automation on board naval vessels will continue to increase. The IP Company is prepared for this. WCMS is designed in such a way that it is easy to link to existing and new systems.

Navantia meeting

The IP Company attended a meeting with Navantia. In order to strengthen their offer for buildingthe new Netherlands submarines their intention is to make use of Netherlands sub suppliers asmuch as possible. The WCMS system is certainly a candidate for such collaboration if Navantia isselected.

A public private initiative from the Netherlands

The Netherlands is well known for its strong maritime heritage and has a leading position in the development of innovative technology in the Defense and security sector. Within this coalition, private parties, government bodies and knowledge institutions work together with our Malaysian partners to create integrated solutions.

Integrated Security Solutions

This cluster of public-private partnerships complement each other and contribute to the improvement of the Defense and security sector by offering services, products, expertise and training to the highest standards. As one company provides high-tech solutions, the other offers the necessary training.

Innovative Through Collaboration

Using an integrated approach, the cluster is seeking long-term collaborations with Malaysian companies and organisations to create successful and viable business opportunities. This cluster provides expertise and training for optimising business processes while improving local job opportunities and the regional economy.

The Netherlands Defense Approach

The 3D approach, also known as the Netherlands approach applies a coherent security policy using the following three strategies: Development, Diplomacy and Defense. This framework has been successful in international missions and Defense operations which the Netherlands has participated in. Development refers to governmental and nongovernmental (NGO) efforts to build the economic, social and political foundations required for stable communities and societies. Diplomacy refers to communication or negotiation between people to resolve shared problems and address conflicts through political and legal channels.

Partners for International Business

The Coalition for Defense & Security in Malaysia is a public-private partnership and part of the programme ‘Partners for International Business’. The partnership includes the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, which is a government agency with access to a global network of embassies (such as the embassy in Malaysia), consulates and Netherlands Business Support Offices. Together with clusters of Dutch businesses and knowledge institutions, as represented here, the Dutch government is developing a three-year action plan for Malaysia. The coordination of this cluster is held by the NIDV.

Together with Malaysian counterparts, the Netherlands strives to be an open, inventive and inclusive partner in finding solutions to the various challenges in defense and security.