Namaka Subsea dives into virtual training with StarLeaf

About Namaka Subsea

A global leader in subsea consulting, Namaka Subsea provides training and guidance on deep-sea diving to organisations around the world, with a particular focus on regulation and safety. Most of their work focuses on the oil and gas industry.

For Namaka Subsea, the StarLeaf solution enables:

Daily meetings with teams around the world

Frequent, easy contact with clients

Communication with team members in rural locations, on vessels and oil rigs

Cost-effective virtual training without the need for travel

Challenge

Delivering safety training for subsea operations in oil and gas, nuclear power, salvage and more, Namaka Subsea’s work has always involved a lot of travel. From getting training specialists onto oil rigs or vessels, assembling a group of global clients in one place for a week of teaching, or transporting Namaka Subsea employees from one of their three global locations to another, people were always on the move.

Their work is vital. As Managing Director Lee Duncan explains, ‘Diving systems are considered life support equipment. They keep the divers alive below the surface, so they’re heavily regulated.’ Before the pandemic, Namaka Subsea delivered essential training in person, hiring classrooms in locations around the world for their sessions. When the pandemic began, in-person training became impossible.

Tough travel restrictions

Lee says the problems for Namaka Subsea went further than the need for social distancing. Travel to oil rigs or vessels ‘can now take 20 days. Before, with the right medical documentation and so on, you could turn up at the vessel or the heliport and away you’d go. But now you spend three days in a hotel waiting for test results. Because a lot of our work requires international travel, you have to quarantine for a number of days, usually 10, on arrival then quarantine on your return to the UK as well.’

This means a short equipment check or week-long training course takes far longer and becomes prohibitively expensive. For pandemic-hit oil and gas companies, Lee says ‘spending money on training isn’t a priority for the moment.’ Namaka Subsea urgently needed a way to deliver cost-effective, pandemic-proof virtual training.

Although the team had used video conferencing for internal collaboration in the past, they’d never settled on a single provider. They were looking for reliable, easy-to-use video to support their move towards virtual training.

Solution

Impressed by call quality, ease of use, and the convenience of a StarLeaf room system in their head office in Aberdeen, Namaka Subsea chose StarLeaf to keep their business operating through the pandemic. It’s providing internal collaboration as well as helping deliver virtual training.

Video that works, from anywhere

Lee says, ‘We use StarLeaf for internal meetings every day, including a daily catch-up for all our teams every morning at 9.30.’ This daily sync needs to happen from a variety of locations, and the team love how StarLeaf performs on the move. ‘A lot of the time there’s people in cars, there are people on vessels, people in airports, all sorts. And we don’t have any issues using it when we’re out on sites either. As long as there’s a connection, it works. We have one particular employee who lives in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t get great internet. Using Teams for them is just not possible. They don’t have a good enough connection to get a video feed, but they can still use a StarLeaf voice call to communicate with us.’

Lee says that good performance in tricky bandwidth conditions is something that really makes StarLeaf stand out. ‘Even on some of the poorer connections from our clients in Africa, we still get quite a good connection with them. When we did the same in Teams, we couldn’t even share our screens.’

The team also really appreciate the flexibility and versatility they get from StarLeaf. As Darran Drysdale, Marketing Coordinator, says, ‘integration with Polycom systems and things like that is very seamless. Microsoft Teams limits it. You can’t connect via other devices. But StarLeaf allows you that, which is handy.’

I like that when I’m jumping about to different locations and I can use it very simply. If I’m not in the office, it rings on my phone. Which is a good thing, but sometimes it can ring too much!
Lee Duncan, Managing Director, Namaka Subsea

When it comes to training, StarLeaf provides the video alongside Namaka Subsea’s own custom Learning Management System. Users can work through the courses independently, with the ability to contact Namaka Subsea with a StarLeaf call when they need extra help.

Results

Using StarLeaf for internal collaboration and virtual training has been a big success. Lee says Namaka Subsea’s remote solutions are here to stay: ‘I don’t see us going backwards. I don’t see us having classroom-based training anymore.’

‘Our courses are very specialist. Often, there is not more than one person of the same nationality in a group. There are people from Spain, Trinidad, Asia, around the world.’ Lee says that virtual training delivers massive cost savings for their international client base, as well as for Namaka Subsea. Clients don’t need to travel, find accommodation, etc., and Namaka doesn’t have to send a trainer out or find a location either.

It’s not just cost savings, virtual training saves huge amounts of time too, especially given the current system of quarantine periods for travel. This means Namaka Subsea is in a position to deliver more training without pressure to grow the team. And all these savings have protected Namaka Subsea’s business continuity through an extremely difficult time for their industry.

Lee sees Namaka Subsea and StarLeaf working together for a long time to come. ‘I hope we’ll continue on the relationship into the future, adopting new technologies as StarLeaf and ourselves develop.’

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