Inmarsat, a mobile satellite communications manufacturer, has announced that Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat Maritime, has won the SMART4SEA 2021 Leadership Award.

Developed as part of the SAFETY4SEA family of events, the SMART4SEA Awards celebrate “Smart Excellence & Sustainable Shipping”. The SMART4SEA Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have “provided industry leadership and contributed towards smarter shipping throughout [their] career”.

Spithout accepted the award during a SMART4SEA virtual awards ceremony on Feb. 17. His selection recognizes a longstanding contribution to smarter shipping, with special focus on his impact on maritime digitalization since being appointed president of Inmarsat Maritime in 2014.

In 2016, Spithout oversaw the launch of Fleet Xpress, the first globally available, high-speed broadband solution for marine operations from a single communications provider. Less than five years later, the solution had been installed on over 10,000 vessels. Fleet Xpress has enabled the most comprehensive suite of services for shipping: Fleet Data — an end-to-end IoT platform for data collection; Fleet Connect — dedicated, independent bandwidth for certified application providers; the cybersecurity solution Fleet Secure; the crew WiFi portal Fleet Hotspot, as well as a host of other solutions for shipping, according to Inmarsat officials.               

Spithout’s tenure has also seen Inmarsat prioritizing its focus on original research into maritime digitalization. The company commissioned the highly influential Trade 2.0 and Welfare 2.0 studies, and the recently published “Digitalization Uncovered: What’s Next for Shipping”? He is also a driving force behind Inmarsat’s Open Innovation Challenge, which is designed to nurture new technologies and start-ups, aiming to enhance crew safety, health and wellbeing in the maritime and offshore sectors.

“I am delighted to accept the 2021 SMART4SEA Leadership Award, which is a significant honor and puts me alongside some very distinguished company,” Spithout said in a statement announcing the award. “However, this award more truly recognizes the major role Inmarsat solutions are playing in the digital transformation of the maritime sector and the dedicated team of professionals behind their delivery, implementation and support. I would also like to thank the SMART4SEA Awards organizers for their continuing work in encouraging a technologically progressive culture throughout the maritime industry.”