A Scottish connectivity and network specialist has launched a maritime and energy division with a new office in England.

Bathgate-based Clarus Networks is opening up in Norwich, due to its proximity to the offshore industry and has plans for a further offices in Aberdeen and Milton Keynes.

The company has doubled its headcount in the last year with revenues increasing by 328 per cent in the same period.

It announced the hire of Paul Coffey, the former CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, earlier this month as part of plans to expand its portfolio, and to support enterprises to understand which technology option is best suited to achieve their goals.

The firm has attributed part of its growth to the fact it became one of only a handful of authorised resellers of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink last year. 

Starlink is a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite system providing high-speed, low-latency broadband internet services. Since SpaceX first launched Starlink satellites in 2019, their connection service has tripled the number of customers to 1.5 million in less than a year, covering over 50 countries. 

Clarus uses Starlink and other wireless connection technologies, like mobile private networks, to bring secure fast connectivity to businesses anywhere, no matter how remote, supporting clients working in energy, construction, healthcare, retail, transport and maritime.

The team has plans to expand further by opening offices in Aberdeen and Milton Keynes at the start of 2024, reflecting the regions as hubs for energy and innovation. 

The new Maritime & Energy Division provides managed wireless networks to connect the office to the ocean for merchant vessels, cruise ships, yachts, ferries and offshore energy. Many maritime operations struggle with outdated communications equipment and slow internet, so Clarus uses wireless low earth orbit satellites to deliver high speed and reliable connections.

Clarus client Hughes Subsea Services installed low earth orbit satellites to overcome communications challenges for offshore vessels. Working with Clarus, their vessel now achieves up to 300x faster internet speeds, increasing the efficiency and productivity. Other Maritime clients include Valaris, P&O Ferries, Stödig Ship Management, Ineos and SSE.

Chris Schonhut, director of maritime & energy, is heading up the new division. Chris joined Clarus in July and is a seasoned professional in the maritime satcom industry, boasting a stellar track record of delivering services on a global scale. Other new hires to the division include two dedicated business development managers and head of delivery, specialising in supporting maritime and energy clients.

Derek Phillips, group managing director at The Clarus Networks Group, said: “With 70% of the world covered in water, we believe that fast, reliable connectivity should be just as accessible in the ocean as in the office. Our new Maritime & Energy Division provides tailored and managed wireless solutions, and Chris is the perfect leader, with years of maritime and advanced connectivity experience. Clarus’ expansion with our first permanent office outside Scotland reflects a high growth period and ambitious targets for the year ahead.” 

Chris Schonhut, director of Maritime & Energy, added: “Joining the Clarus team means working with the most powerful connectivity technology available. I’m already hearing feedback from Maritime clients on the benefits of superfast connection, including crew welfare, improved comms and collaboration, and enhanced reliability. Many clients have been surprised at how easy the installation process has been, reducing downtime. In my new role, I’m excited to be providing specialist support for businesses, unifying connectivity systems to support efficient operations at sea.”

A key piece of technology for at sea connection is Starlink, a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite system providing high-speed, low-latency broadband internet services. Starlink Maritime users can expect download speeds of up to 220 Mbps, allowing for remote working and monitoring, plus video calls back to shore. This transforms operations, improving crew welfare, productivity and vessel management. To cope with conditions at sea, Starlink Maritime has specialised high-performance antennas designed to withstand extreme temperature and weather, ensuring that connectivity can be delivered even in the most remote, challenging environments.

The Clarus team is exhibiting at the Offshore Europe conference 2023 in Aberdeen in September, furthering connections in the region ahead of the opening of the third office next year.