Harley Marine Replaces Outdated Technology & Deploys LTE Ruggedized Routers for Maritime Connectivity
Harley Marine, like many maritime companies, required a solution for simple, fast, and reliable network connectivity to ensure daily tasks such as invoice processing, navigation, marine-mapping and more could be completed seamlessly, and that its employees could deliver consistent customer service.
This full-service maritime company chose Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for mobile, delivered through ruggedized LTE routers, to augment VSAT (satellite) and replace outdated technology to securely connect management to the vessels deployed in waterways all over the globe.
Harley Marine is one of the fastest-growing marine transportation businesses and leading providers of marine transportation services. It has grown from one leased tug and barge in Seattle’s Puget Sound into a widely diverse fleet of tugs and barges with diversified marine operations in all major West Coast ports, New York, and the American Gulf. The company’s main priority is to provide safe and efficient marine transportation that is customer service focused. Harley Marine is considered a thought leader in the industry, and deploying Cradlepoint solutions has provided innovative changes to the way they communicate and perform day-to-day business.
With 175 boats and more than 1,000 employees in offices across several cities such as New York, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and remote locations in Alaska, it was vital for Harley Marine to have a reliable communication system that can be remotely managed. It became clear that the solution Harley Marine was using prior to Cradlepoint was no longer viable for the future of the company, as the devices did not have the bandwidth capabilities, ruggedness, or signal strength necessary to ensure day-to-day operations could be completed.
On its vessels, Harley Marine deployed Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for mobile. The service includes routing, a WiFi accept point, content filtering, GPS and telematics integration, WiFi-as-WAN, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via a ruggdized in-vehicle LTE router with 24x7 support and a limited lifetime warranty. Cradlepoints connects all of the on-board technology, including the two computers on each vessel that run the navigation and accounting software.
NetCloud emables Harley Marine’s IT team to fully deploy and manage their Cradlepoint routers from a central location, eliminating the need for a crew to board the vessel.
Powerfully Ruggedized Hardware
The vessels are exposed to the elements as they travel all over the waterways. It is essential that the communications not go down due to inclement weather, vibrations, splash, moisture, and more. The routers are fully ruggedized and purpose-built for mission-critical connectivity in the most challenging environments.
“The ruggedization is extremely important to us,” said Jay Franco, IT manager for Harley Marine. “The routers hold up very well against all the moisture on the boats. With Cradlepoint, the boats don’t lose their connection, so daily activities are not interrupted.”
Reliable Network Uptime
The computers on Harley Marine’s vessels constantly receive software updates, and the Cradlepoint service has been vital in ensuring the completion of those updates. In addition, when mechanics, safety supervisors, and other personnel board the boats, they are able to quickly and securely connect to WiFi to complete their tasks.
“The boats are constantly on the move and they frequently go into areas where there is not a strong enough signal for them to complete job duties,” Franco said. "It was a real headache when the signal was weak, and it was a big problem for our IT team, which would be getting support calls every day. The Cradlepoint solutions improve operations immensely and provide a much steadier connection.”
Time Savings with Remote Management
With Cradlepoint, everyday tasks that used to take weeks to turn around can be completed in a few minutes — and more efficiently than ever before.
When a Harley Marine vessel gets orders for its next job, the team is able to remotely see where all its destinations are, track its time, and access the software on board. Payroll is recorded in real time, so as soon as a job is complete, Harley Marine can immediately send an invoice to the customer, saving them time and ensuring excellent customer service.
“What’s great now is we hear about something immediately and can complete tasks instantly. It used to take weeks to accomplish simple operational tasks. Now, it is all streamlined and everything is in real time and up to date,” Franco said.