Written by Kristian Olsen, Product Manager | 12 July 2021
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There are several challenges in maritime IT operations, and one of them is managing large data transfers between the office and vessels (and the other way around). Typically, large files cannot be sent through email due to size limitations or strict spam filters.
This and other pressing data transfer headaches can now be a thing of the past.
Find out how our new Dualog® Drive service can help you handle your fleetwide sync and move tasks securely and efficiently.
What is Dualog® Drive?
Dualog® Drive is a maritime data transfer solution that lets you streamline and automate the collection and distribution of data from any shoreside document center or network folder to a fleet or group of vessels, or from any vessel to shore.
Designed specifically to address maritime IT operations' unique challenges with features optimised for satellite transmissions, Dualog® Drive enables shipping companies to minimise delays and remove manual processes associated with data transfer between shoreside offices and ships at sea, and vice versa.
How does Dualog® Drive work?
The Drive client is installed on all ships and offices. Clients are connected to our cloud, sending and receiving data based on tasks configured. Our cloud service will buffer data for offline clients and immediately start transmitting when clients come online.
Synchronise data: Folders and files are copied from a common source to one or more destinations
One of Dualog® Drive's key features is its ability to synchronise files and folders and automatically distribute them to a large fleet or group of ships. Sync tasks can be easily set up to include either a single file, a folder, or a complete folder structure as the source.
Sources can be specified as local drives, a network drive, or even a cloud storage service like Microsoft® Sharepoint. Changes in the source will automatically be replicated across all destinations. From the Drive dashboard, IT personnel and other stakeholders can easily look into any of your sync folders and ensure they are up-to-date across your fleet.
Move data: Files are transferred (moved) directly between one or more locations
Dualog® Drive makes it simpler to move a single file or a large volume of files from one source to select destinations in an optimal manner.
By using intelligent compression algorithms, such as deduplication, the service can greatly reduce the amount of data you need to transfer. In challenging conditions, the ability to resume file transfers for failed transmissions is a necessity.
Why use Dualog® Drive?
The service's primary purpose is to make maritime data transfers more manageable, more reliable and faster. Installing it takes just a few minutes, and all service configuration happens in the web portal. Configuring new tasks and adding ships to a task is easy. Each unique configuration is automatically replicated to all vessels, and data starts flowing.
Ships can be grouped by fleet, trade area, or file type to be distributed. Ship groups are dynamic, and one ship can be a member of multiple groups.
Smart technology carries the service
Dualog’s services have always been centred around optimising data transfer. With Dualog® Drive’s custom protocol, each client will first check for pending data on the server-side, and only missing parts are sent. Multiple compression methods are used to minimise the amount of data to be transferred. All of this is secured by encryption.
Updating software onboard vessels can be a challenge. Dualog® Drive offers an automatic software update service, over the air (OTA) update. From the portal, you can see when new versions are released, and easily initiate updates. Choosing the upgrade will allow the rest to run automatically, and the upgrade will show up in the portal once it is complete. On the ships, no action is required.
Good information about ongoing and completed transfers is essential. You can quickly see task statuses through the Drive reports. If you need more information, you can drill down. You can also see if ships are online or not.
What are the most common use cases for Dualog® Drive?
For every company implementing Dualog® Drive, we have seen the use cases expand. Synchronising documents from shore, like Health and Safety documents, is very common. Also, Dualog® Drive is used for the distribution of software updates, the collection of IoT data, VDR data, engine reports, and image and video distribution.
Furthermore, our customers use the service for daily reporting, the replication of data from PMS and similar applications, chart updates, certificates, and so on. Dualog® Drive is being used in more and more areas every day as shipping companies keep uncovering the service’s potential.
The maritime sector has been struggling to find good ways of distributing data between onshore offices and vessels at sea. People often end up using time-consuming and expensive methods like email, USB sticks, CDs, DVDs, etc.
Dualog® Drive was designed to eliminate these data distribution bottlenecks. By using the service, you can replace manual, email-based processes and workarounds with automated, integrated and hands-off solutions.
Want to spend less time worrying about data transfer management and bandwidth restrictions and more time optimising and scaling your business?
Now you can try Dualog® Drive free of charge – no risk, and no credit card required.
Written by Kristian Olsen, Product Manager
Kristian Olsen is a member of the Product Management Group at Dualog. A true Dualog old-timer, Kristian has served in several roles at the company, ever since it was founded in 1994. He holds a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Kristian likes to “get in the zone” both onshore and offshore, as he is an avid cross country skier as well as a windsurfer with several national championships under his belt.