Written by Morten Lind-Olsen, CEO | 30 July 2019
In our digitally transformed business world, data is said to be the new oil. This holds true for the maritime industry, as well. A modern ship generates a large amount of data that can be shared among various supply chain stakeholders, leading to collaborative decision making that benefits each one of them and the industry as a whole.
Just like oil, data needs to be extracted. Shipboard IoT systems and sensor equipment provide the data, but in order for ship owners and managers to glean insights and value from it, the data needs to make it ashore, in a secure environment. Distributing data across fleet or ship groups is vital.
In the IoT-enabled push to integrate vessels into shore networks, the ship-to-shore data transfer is a link that is often underestimated.
By leveraging the full potential of available data for more effective operations and decision-making, shipping will make a giant leap into the future. Getting the data safely from ship to land has become a crucial – yet relatively overlooked – part of the process.
Only a few years back, ship connectivity was quite a novelty. Due to bandwidth limitations in satellite technology, there has traditionally not been too many digital interactions between ships at sea and the terrestrial world. This is now changing rapidly, as new technologies allow more bandwidth at sea.
Available and affordable broadband at sea opens up a new world of opportunities for shipping. Initially, onboard internet was driven by crew welfare needs. Today, business-driven processes are the main drivers for more bandwidth.
Companies in the maritime sector have realised that ship connectivity can be leveraged for improved business and vessel performance. Stakeholders across the logistics and transport chain are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that data is gold.
However, data in itself isn’t enough. It needs to be analysed and put together in a manner that benefits the industry. For this reason, standards need to be created for the data, so that it can be made available on the shore side in the most value-enhancing way.
Using digital solutions in your shipping operations gives you a myriad of advantages and benefits that all sharpen your competitive edge. As we touch upon in a previous blog article, smart use of ICT gives you the best possible business flow, by connecting your ships at sea with shore-based operations, maintenance service providers, customer support centres, fleet/transportation partners, port operations, and authorities.
By implementing a flexible maritime ICT strategy and platform, ship owners and managers are looking for significant added value in the following business processes:
For the shipping industry to realise the full potential of digital technology, it needs a long-term ICT strategy – one that includes the ships and the IT competence on board. Establishing such a strategy is not something that can be done on a 12-month budget, though. Data generation, collection and its ability to be analysed are connected to a broader picture, a comprehensive digital strategy involving both owners and managers.
So where do we currently stand?
The ‘C’ level attention has raised, and a lot of the key players have established digital regimes and initiatives. IMO regulations and ISO standards for IoT and sensors on board have changed the mindset. Chief IT Officer (CIO) and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) are becoming common positions in top management groups globally, and this, too, contributes to changing mindsets.
However, there is still a conflict between the demand for consolidated data and standardised infrastructure on the one hand, and a cost savings approach on the other.
Using ICT and incorporating fleet data into your decision-making processes helps you stay nautical miles ahead of your competitors. As Internet connectivity has become the norm in commercial shipping, the focus now is to establish an agnostic digital platform on board. This is the most important next step in order to bring ship and shore closer together.
Morten Lind-Olsen has been the CEO for Dualog since 1998, and he brings decades of international experience from the communications and software industry. Morten holds a degree in IT and Communications from the Arctic University, and he is renowned for his customer-driven leadership. Through technological innovations at sea, Morten and Dualog have constantly been aiming to bring ship and shore closer. The Dualog Digital Platform at Sea is currently on board more than 3,000 ships worldwide, and Dualog has been a key contributor to the process of digitalisation within shipping.