futurenautics Issue 2. January 2014 | Quarterly
the maritime future
the cloud Minefield or Mindset?
PLUS : Sentient Ship | Cyborg Crew | Shipistics | Business e-volution future January 2014
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10 | Feature: The Cloud
16 | Clouded Judgement
Cloud is technology's third wave, reflecting the values and requirements of our new customers, and it will enable shipping's 'big idea'.
06 The cloud -
Technology first brings transparency, and then enables the big idea. Where will it come from?
Xeneta is delivering transparency and disrupting shipping. Their CEO Patrik Olstad Berglund is our first Futurenaut
Maritime Technology Showcase
HTS blasts off, and the web is getting wet.
The Cyborg Crew
Fit for Purpose?
With crew medical costs increasing markedly, responsibility falls to the ship operator. But could new technology change that?
32 32 | The Cost of Everything
The Futurenaut Interview
24 20 | The Futurenaut Interview
Key reports, books, and newsbites
Connectivity, computing, community, commerce, communication, collaboration, creativity, and competitiveness, or crisis?
The Cost of Everything
Creating customers, value, and investment, the influence of technology-adoption in shipping is rapidly moving centre stage. January 2014
48 | A Matter of Life or Death Or something more serious?
28 | Fit for Purpose?
Seek and ye shall find
It's not in the technology that the answers lie, but in what it enables us to see.
38 53 | Gadgets
Editor K.D. Adamson firstname.lastname@example.org For editorial, advertising and events enquiries please contact T: +44 (0) 20 7 125 0090 F: +44 (0) 20 7 125 0193 email@example.com www.futurenautics.com Digital and print subscriptions available. For more information visit www.futurenautics.com/subscribe Published by ÂŠFuturenautics Ltd. Suite 4b, 43 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 5FJ, UK
The cloud mirrors key elements of the Millennial philosophy. We must grasp what they'll do with it
None so deaf as those who will not hear
Far more ships than we realise could already talk to us, if we just decide to listen.
A matter of life or death. Or something more serious?
New players and new competition: and that's just in maritime training.
From 3D printers and a virus-sensing smartphone, to drones. This is cool. Very cool.
Publisher Roger Adamson firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Cyborg Integrity
What was the last piece of technology which made you say "Wow!"
What's in store from Futurenautics in April.
For some of you it probably means a new form of IT outsourcing. For others it holds new possibilities in the way that services are structured, scaled and charged. For still more it's just another buzzword, but there's a reason why we've chosen to focus on the cloud for our first issue of 2014. The cloud is the third wave of major IT disruption, from the PC through the internet. It has the power to change institutions, organisations and practices. But speaking to people on the cutting edge of cloud technologies both within and outside shipping and maritime, two overriding messages emerge. The first is that cloud technologies are not in themselves a competitive advantage. The technology can only help you identify and enable the advantage, it does not represent one on its own. Globally, cloud technologies are enabling trends such as BYOD and ATAWAD, and form the basis for the new 'sharing economy' and collaborative consumption—a trend which TIME Magazine identifies as one of ten which will change the world. The characteristics of cloud-based services—of access rather than ownership, sharing and partnering via the seamless use of technology— are a reflection of the uniquely different characteristics of the Millennial generation. Which brings me to the second key message: if you're going to really capitalise on the cloud then you need to understand from the outset that it is more than technology, it is a mindset. Cloud is developing as a response to technologically enable the way that Millennials want to live in the world. And for any leader in any industry challenged to build a business fit for the future, predicting how customers will want to use and interact with its services in that future is vital. There is a two-phase effect of digital technologies upon industries: the first is transparency, and it's inevitably followed by the 'big idea'. Read our 'Clouded Judgement' article to understand why. Shipping is currently in the transparency phase. From Xeneta, crowdsourcing container rates, to VesselsValue automating vessel valuation, this phase is illuminating huge inefficiencies in the industry. The big idea that goes on to monetise this could come from anywhere, but two
editor’s note things are certain: it will have its genesis in a deep understanding of the Millennial customer mindset, and it will be enabled by cloud technology. Regardless of where the big idea comes from, and what it looks like, grasping the cloud mindset is essential for our leaders, if only because of what it is preparing the ground for—Big Data. Reading our interviews with two leading
into its technology-enabled future, and we welcome each and every individual, organisation or publication who helps us to do so. Sharing, collaboration and free access are the hallmarks of the Millennial generation, and the cloud. They also underpin our philosophy. We believe that editorial of the quality we aspire to should be available to anyone who
“When value creation per ship from use of the cloud, and analytics could reach $1m, no shipping leader can afford to ignore it. This issue will tell you everything you need to know.”
shipping data analytics companies—both commercial and technical—this issue, is an education in that respect. When there are predictions that value creation per ship from the use of the cloud, M2M and analytics could reach $1million, no shipping leader can afford to ignore it. This issue will tell you everything you need to know. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all those—and there were a surprisingly large number—who took the time to send an email, or call to express their enthusiasm for Futurenautics, and what we're trying to do. Writing this magazine is not easy— we don't rely on advertorial dressed up as 'opinion pieces', and we don't just recycle press releases. As a result, being described as 'shipping's Economist' was an enormous compliment. It has been equally gratifying to see the number of 'future-themed' articles which are beginning to appear across the spectrum of the maritime press, picking up on our spheres like Sentient Ship and Cyborg Crew. Our mission was not to launch a magazine because we could make a fast buck: our mission is to move shipping and maritime forward
chooses to take an interest in shipping's technology-enabled future. One suspects that part of the reason for shipping's insular attitudes and low global profile is that its news and analysis has always been so expensive to access. That's why Futurenautics will never be behind a paywall: its content will always be free to everyone. To enable that we are delighted to have a range of advertisers who share our enthusiasm for what Futurenautics represents. They are an essential part of the magazine, but for their benefit, and yours, we will always limit advertising to no more than ten pages per issue. However, whilst you can buy advertising, you can't buy coverage. The organisations, technologies and individuals we feature we do so because we genuinely believe we have something important to learn from them. And that's something else which isn't going to change. I hope you find this cloud issue thought-provoking, and useful. I also wish all of you a prosperous and technology-enabled 2014, and a successful Year of the Horse.
Futurenautics recommends REPORT: UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2013 As with all previous issues published since 1968, the Review of Maritime Transport 2013 contains a wealth of analysis and unique data. The Review is the acknowledged United Nations source of statistics and analysis on seaborne trade, the world fleet, freight rates, port traffic, and the latest trends in the legal and regulatory environment for international maritime transport. Read for: the comprehensive executive summary, and keep for reference and statistics useful for internal business purposes and also ideal material for conference presentations. Download at www.unctad.org/ or the Futurenautics website.
REPORT: Danish Maritime Authority/ InterManager Administrative Burdens in the Maritime Sector Seafarers feel they spend too much time on tasks they consider to be an administrative burden according to the findings of a study by the Danish Maritime Authority, supported by InterManager, the international trade association for ship and crew managers. This comprehensive survey of almost 2,000 international seafarers comprising 59 nationalities revealed that a third are annoyed or frustrated by administrative burdens in the maritime sector. These burdens stem from what the seafarers consider to be unnecessary repetition of tasks and demands for too much paperwork and documentation to be handled. Read for: the conclusion that there is a “significant potential to relocate time to more fruitful tasks” to increase efficiency and quality, and scope for developing “work smart, easy-to-use” digital solutions to reduce paperwork and time consuming manual workflows, particularly in relation to port and pre-arrival procedures. Download at www.dma.dk/Policy or from the Futurenautics website.
REPORT: ESRG Bringing The Industrial Internet to the Marine Industry and Ships into the Cloud
BOOK: Navigating the Human Element by Timothy Crowch
Former airline pilot Captain Tim Crowch has become a familiar face at shipping and maritime gatherings over the past couple of years. Crowch lived through the radical non-technical changes that took place in the airline world since the 1980s. Having done so he decided it was time to offer the Mariner Officer a set of practical human factors tools, similar to those that airline crews have benefited from for 30 years; tools that enabled them to improve their standards of performance and their industry’s levels of safety. “Navigating the Human Element” provides an easy-to-read and simple to understand collection of human factors information and practical interpersonal
tools to help Marine Officers in more competently addressing the pressures and challenges confronting them in their modern operating environment. Read for: Easy, conversational style, and use both as a reference book for human element best practice and as an accompanying text to current BRM/MRM training programmes at all levels. Price: €25.00 Buy online at: www.nthe.co/
BOOK: Deep Sea and Foreign Going by Rose George Well-known journalist and author Rose George was the recipient of the Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution late last year for her book “Deep Sea and Foreign Going.” In an exploration of our now largely invisible industry which nonetheless brings us 90% of everything, she variously meets pirate gangs, illegal floating factories, seafarers, dockworkers, tycoons, missionaries, stevedores, ship-spotters, beachcombers, environmentalist and whales. Read for: An understanding of just how the shipping industry looks and feels to the outside world - a crucial element in attracting and recruiting the Millennial generation to shipping and maritime. Buy online: www.rosegeorge.com/
A data-analytics leader for the US Navy surface fleet, ESRG now monitors a range of vessels from aircraft carriers to container ships via their OstiaEdge platform. General Manager Rob Bradenham is interviewed in this issue, and is also co-author of a whitepaper, “Bringing The Industrial Internet to the Marine Industry and Ships into the Cloud.” The paper provides an in-depth assessment of how and why the industrial internet (internet of all things/M2M) and cloud technologies are relevant to the shipping and maritime industry. Covering the value of the industrial
internet in marine, the opportunity it offers, together with enablers and challenges, the report discusses some key points, including the the importance of skilled data analysts with maritime domain expertise. As you might expect from a former McKinsey executive, Bradenham has produced an authoritative and focussed read, without the heavy sales pitch. Read for: Useful real-world experiences of how data drives visibility, and the importance of open-standards. Download at www.esrgtech.com/company/ESRGcontent/
Global Navigation Solutions is a new kind of maritime services company, working to harness emerging technology and use it to the advantage of the maritime sector. We continually monitor developments and trends in other industries, including the use of smart logistics and big data to bring fresh thinking to the global shipping industry. Our worldwide customer services and strategically placed distribution centres provide our customers with the fastest and most economically priced navigation products and services on the market today. For more details visit www.globalnavigationsolutions.com
See us at these upcoming events LONDON: 11th & 12 February 2014 CONNECTIVITY 2014 Air, Surface, Water Rail LONDON: 26th & 27th March 2014 9TH MARITIME COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT Maximising shipping technologies with human expertise
And reserve your seat now for FuturenauticsLIVE at Posidonia this June.
Join us on Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook
Join the Futurenautics LinkedIn Group for discussions, resources and networking with fellow Futurenauts; add us to your Twitter feed for #shipping, #technology, #bigdata, #nanotech #strategy and a range of other interesting hashtags. Plus remember to check for extended multi-media content on the Futurenautics website January 2014
It’s connectivity and computing, it’s bringing community to commerce, it can deliver communication, collaboration and creativity, and for shipping it could mean the difference between competitiveness, and crisis, it is...
the cloud I
n a dark and musty corner of the Internet which one suspects probably smells of cold pizza and disappointment, there are a bunch of anonymous guys locked in a titanic struggle. They are wrestling to discover a truth which, on the face of it, seems unimportant set against the travails of the world. What occupies these committed individuals and their increasingly irate Q&A forum, is the correct capitalisation of ‘The Cloud’. For the sake of editorial balance we should point out that other capitalisations are available including ‘the Cloud’ and ‘the cloud’. Oh, and capitalisation should possibly have a ‘z’ in it depending upon where you’re reading this. The reason they, and the rest of the world, are having such a hard time deciding how to capitalise the cloud, is because it’s all about context. The cloud is, at a tactical level, about computing resources, but at a strategic level it is about far more. Scalable, flexible and cheaper access to computing resources level commercial playing fields. Cloud architectures built on an ‘outside-in’ ap-
proach (of which more later) fundamentally change the way that businesses can interact with each other, their employees and customers. Mirroring as it does the hopes, beliefs and aspirations of ‘Gen C’ and the Millennials of which they are a constituent part, underpinning trends such as Collaborative Consumption, the cloud can also be viewed as a technological facilitator of a new philosophy. In short, when the cloud has such a broad range of impacts, it’s no wonder punctuators are having difficulty deciding whether it’s the definite article. It is however, the real deal. If you want a definition then the US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s is as good as any. They state that the cloud is, “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” In fact the cloud has been around since the 1960s, the name developed
from the graphical representation of the internet on network diagrams. According to John Hagel, and John Seely Brown, of the Deloitte Center for the Edge, its current manifestation is part of a third wave of technology disruption which started with the personal computer in the 1970s and led to the advent of the publicly accessible internet ten years later. Cloud computing, they believe, could be just as disruptive, transforming institutional architectures and management practices in a range of industries. And its use is growing fast. Gartner say that by 2016 cloud will form the bulk of all new IT spend, and by the end of 2017 nearly half of all large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments. But we’re not there yet. A survey of 300 CIOs and senior IT decision makers by NTT Communications suggests that, in Europe at least, cloud has reached a crossroads. “To use the language from Gartner’s Hype Cycle models for technology, the cloud has passed the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ and is heading into the ‘trough of disillusionment’,” they tell us. The results show that, “adoption of
Image credit © Getty Images
cloud services is largely tactical in nature. IT leaders are wary about placing their strategic ICT platforms – the business engine, if you will – into the cloud.” So is the focus by IT providers on the tactical/delivery side of cloud obscuring the real strategic business implications? Sylvain Quief, Cloud Computing Marketing Director at Orange Business Services, disagrees. “Although a couple of years ago this may have been true—the cloud was looked at from a very technological standpoint—customers today are very educated when it comes to the cloud and the CxOs understand perfectly the implications of using cloud-based solutions, from the CFO looking at the financial side to the legal offices interested in data privacy concerns.” If there is a ‘trough of disillusionment’ presumably Orange would be well placed to see it. The business services arm of Orange S.A., Orange Business Services provides integrated communications solutions and services to global enterprises in cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration. Within the shipping and maritime market they supply
“We are now mixing our personal and professional lives; we are always socially connected; we expect instantaneity; we refuse to use software or business apps that require training. All this is more related to a “mind-set” than an approach to IT, even if ultimately it turns into some IT solutions.” Sylvain Syllvai Sy a n Quief, Qu f, Orange Ora rang nge e both ICT services and VSAT connectivity to vessels, counting four of the world’s top five, and sixteen out of the top twenty container shipping companies as customers, and three of the top five tanker operators. Focussing on their cloud activities under their umbrella ‘Flexible Computing’ range of products Orange is primarily active in IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Computing and Storage solutions are provided in a Public mode, (shared resources accessed via the Internet), in Virtual Private mode (secured shared resources accessed through a VPN), Private mode (a resource pool dedicated to a customer/community), and increasingly, in a Hybrid mode where “a little
bit of everything” is managed through a single pane of glass console. They’re also a strong SaaS (Software as a Service) player with collaboration services such as Unified Communications as a Service with Cisco or Microsoft, Contact Centres deployed in the cloud and even Security as a Service. For Quief the cloud is a business
entire definition of the IT department, and how it chooses the best solutions in real time, based on price, SLAs, regulation, privacy and security concerns etc, is being re-written. The results are enabling businesses to be more efficient than ever. Quief is “profoundly convinced” of the advantages citing three main areas in which businesses can capitalise. Firstly,
Value creation levers & potential value creation using data analytics - From ESRG's whitepaper Bringing The Industrial Internet to Maritime & Ships Into the Cloud
model, a new way of consuming IT made popular by the current investment difficulties faced by businesses, i.e. OPEX rather than CAPEX. “This definition is actually very close to the DNA of a network operator like Orange, who for decades has been investing in bandwidth capacity throughout the world and selling it as a service. We are very proud of that, so it has been very natural for us to extend our playground a little bit, from the network to the cloud.” In terms of the type of companies and customers deploying these varying cloud solutions, that’s difficult to pin down. “With regard to customer segmentation, the cloud again blurs the boundaries,” Quief tells us. “While it is true to say that very small companies tend to adopt SaaS much more than IaaS, larger companies are really using a bit of everything, from public SaaS for full elasticity to private IaaS when they are processing sensitive data, for example.” The belief at Orange is that the cloud represents a very fundamental shift in the way companies are looking at IT. Customers are now expecting “auto-adaptation of their IT infrastructures based on the actual need expressed by their business units/users,” and as a result the
in shortening time-to-market. With implementation phases reduced to days or weeks rather than months, sales and marketing have a better shot at matching market expectations. Secondly, the ability to experiment without high entry costs. The ‘as-a-service’ model enables businesses to test a new market or product without a huge upfront investment. As a result the innovation cycle becomes more agile, and any failure less painful. The third area Quief identifies as the ability of businesses to “positively answer to the new Gen Y and Gen C of employees who are expecting high
nutshell the inside-out approach means you start with the problem, the pain points within the company, and you try to solve them. An ‘outside-in’ approach begins and ends with the customer. The decision is initiated in response to strategic needs that exist outside the company, and the decision-making process focuses on how it will enable an improved customer experience. Whilst outside-in approaches are possible with legacy IT systems, they are far more efficiently deployed via cloud computing, and their adoption is far from theoretical. Already there are many companies beginning to harness the ‘outside-in’ way of thinking, and they are encouraging their customers and supply chain partners to do the same. The NTT Europe study shows over half of CIOs (53%) say launching new services and applications more quickly is a key request. In the transport and logistics sector—our sector— 80% of CIOs confirmed this as their most important business focus. Sitting at the heart of so many transport and logistics chains and relationships, how can shipping respond to and take advantage of the cloud, it’s challenges and it’s opportunities? ESRG, provider of leading-edge data analysis and remote monitoring technology via its OstiaEdge product, produced a whitepaper on the subject last year. “Bringing the industrial internet to the marine industry and ships into the cloud,” puts the opportunity for asset owners, operators and managers to reduce costs, improve fuel efficiency, and increase uptime and reliability at approximately 20 billion dollars today, exceeding 50 billion dollars by 2030. For individual
In the transport and logistics sector-our sector- 80% of CIOs confirmed launching new services and applications more quickly is their most important business focus flexibility in the way they work.” With the cloud IT departments can facilitate new usage including virtual workspaces, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and ATAWAD (AnyTime, AnyWhere, AnyDevice). This interaction with employees and also customers and wider groups has traditionally been underpinned by legacy IT systems. Like the businesses they’re supporting most legacy IT systems are based on an ‘inside-out’ approach. In a
ships they calculate potential annual value creation could be as high as $1 million or greater when considering potential fuel savings, optimising maintenance, decreasing downtime and increasing utilisation. So how do you define a ship which is in the cloud? “It’s not that black and white, it’s more of a spectrum,” says Rob Bradenham, General Manager of ESRG. “Different shipping segments are going to prioritise different applications and
uses and will fall out on different points on that spectrum of pure cloud one end and not connected at the other.” Andrew Faiola, Senior Global Accounts Director for Intelsat says, "A wise man recently remarked to me, 'You’ve got to get through the cloud to get to the Cloud'. This comment reinforces the need to make the right decisions for communications technology in shipping, or any other sector where enterprisegrade, mission-critical connectivity is a must-have. I’m a big believer that “Big Data” will help to drive more efficient vessel operations, ultimately lifting profits by reducing downtime, saving on fuel costs, and compliance. Most of this data and processing power will reside in the Cloud. But, even such small things as the ability to reliably multicast an FA Cup final will have a positive impact on things like crew welfare as shipping companies start to come to grips with MLC2006." So how do ship operators view it? “We define the cloud as any applications, storage or services provided by an external company with globally distributed infrastructure,” says Rob Grool, President of Seaspan Ship Management, one of the leading independent containership owners in the world. And where does Grool see the cloud having the most significant impact on the shipping and maritime industry? “On the core business of shipping, the actual ships, there will be minimal impact. One of the core requirements for a cloud solution is a permanent, high quality internet connection. Since a ship at sea only gets internet via satellite, there are inherent physical limitations to the quality of the connection.” Is connectivity the key challenge then? Veson Nautical develop and deliver some of the most advanced, user-friendly, commercial maritime management and trading software solutions on the market. With the announcement late last year of a cloud version of their IMOSLive product, Veson can now offer a fully cloudbased solution. With ERP applications such as theirs consistently reported as a top driver for the fitting of IP satellite systems, how important is the connection? “Highly functional ERP can’t deploy over a slow connection, but some bits work,” says Sean Riley, COO of Veson. So presumably Inmarsat’s Global Xpress
Gartner say that by 2016 cloud will form the bulk of all new IT spend, and by the end of 2017 nearly half of all large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments. and its promised speeds of 50Mbps and satellite-ready Skype apps is a game changer. Not necessarily. “People are surprised what already can be done,” Filip Vanheer, Global Business Development Manager, Maritime Satellite Solutions, at Orange tells us. “It is perfectly feasible today to run Skype over our VSAT connection—given sufficient bandwidth. We have no Fair Use Policy in place that forbids that.” So if the connection speeds are only part of the issue, why is there general agreement that cloud adoption within shipping and maritime is—depending upon whom you speak to—between five and fifteen years behind other comparable industries. Perhaps because it’s more than a model, it’s a mindset. “Cloud is actually only one of the aspects of a global change in our society,” says Sylvain Quief of Orange. “We are now mixing our personal and professional lives; we are always socially connected; we expect instantaneity; we refuse to use software or business apps that require training. All this is more related to a “mind-set” than an approach to IT, even if ultimately it turns into some IT solutions.” But is it a mindset which is rarer in shipping? And if it is, could that be because, in the past ship operators have been exposed to potentially very expensive IT mistakes? Complex, bespoke in-house legacy systems are creaking under the pressure to be more flexible,
and in terms of satellite, the great hopes that many attached to the VSAT systems they invested in haven’t borne the fruit they anticipated. There’s no doubt that as the number of providers in the market increased, the likelihood of operators ending up with systems which didn’t do what they needed them to do, did likewise. But as Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General of InterManager has already pointed out, the operators have to bear a degree of responsibility, for failing to adequately specify what they wanted. The problem of course is that very few of them knew how. “VSAT or Inmarsat, anyone comes to you and asks, what are your priorities, and we would say, ‘communication’,” says
Capt. Kuba Szymanski of InterManager: 'communication' is too broad a priority. Operators must be more specific.
Szymanski. “This is an extremely broad term. We needed to specify that, but the shipping industry management side is ignorant. We are ship Masters, we are Chief Engineers; we do not understand it.” It’s an area where analysts see major opportunities developing. As the cloud starts to stitch together more and more
technologies, the introduction of which will fundamentally change business planning. But the CDOs ability to manipulate applications and data depends on having a cloud model for ICT. “It takes a certain attitude to grow from a grocery store to a supermarket, but it requires another attitude to lift that to the level of a supermarket chain. Meaning, the current generation of shipping tycoons absolutely has its merits, but the world has changed and so has the technology,” says Orange’s Vanheer. “The new generation that is taking over control of these companies is much more open towards technology changes than the current ones. But above all, their customers expect new services; they don’t want to lose track of their goods for weeks.” It’s a sobering point. When it comes to satisfying customers, shipping’s performance is far from stellar and with manufacturing gearing up for cyber-
Filip Vanheer: "The current generation of shipping tycoons absolutely has its merits, but the world has changed and so has the technology." complex offerings, possibilities will open up for consultants focussed not on technology and integration, but on deep domain knowledge to help clients adopt the correct mix of services and applications in order to get the maximum value from these platforms. At the moment though, that role is inevitably falling to the providers. “Any good software company serves as a consultant to its clients, balancing the cutting edge of what’s available and the client’s requirements,” says Veson’s Riley. “You can kill an ant with a grenade, but a fly-swatter works just as well. If you’re a good supplier you don’t sell the grenade.” The evidence suggests though, that shipping may need that bomb put under it as a failure to move quickly on this core strategic issue could easily blow up in its face. According to Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge, it “...cannot be left to the chief information officer alone, as it traditionally has. That is because flexible, constantly shifting architecture is set to fuel the business models of tomorrow.” Already some organisations are creating Chief Digital Officer positions to interpret analytics, mobile and social
physical systems and zero-inventory, it is only by deploying ‘outside-in’ approaches that shipping has a chance to stay with them. Filip Vanheer is clear about the potential consequences. “If they don’t adapt, the others who will, will take their place. And here is where cloud comes in, because it is so much easier to create an environment to interact with your customer in a cloud-based solution due to its flexibility. The companies who are open to integrate IT in their business will be best placed to fulfill the customer’s requirements.” It is a warning which applies more widely in maritime than just ship operators and their end customers. Maritime software and equipment suppliers are just as vulnerable to new, innovative technology-centric start ups that will identify and fulfil their customers' needs more seamlessly. In an industry where big has always been better, the traditional economies of scale are diminishing, whilst legacy IT systems and big overheads are a drag on innovation. As the Millennials occupy more and more influential positions, both as leaders and consumers, bringing with them their
desire for sharing, partnership, sustainability, and cutting-edge technology, the cloud will be the basis for the businesses they create, interact with and the way they live their lives. “By 2020, Cloud will have disappeared. It will have disappeared simply because it will be everywhere,” says Sylvain Quief with a smile. “Cloud will be the “default” IT deployment model, and everything that we currently call “legacy” will have been more or less replaced. We are not there yet—still a long journey to go, but the trend is inevitable.” Looking at the three waves of computing disruption, it’s possible to draw a comparison with Stephen Covey’s description of the three stages of human development in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” Covey believed that humans moved from Dependence: the paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us; to Independence: the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves, and finally to Interdependence: the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently. From the personal computer to the cloud, technology has demonstrated an uncannily similar journey. In this context, the cloud is perhaps more of a reflection of a maturing society than it is a technological phenomenon. And perhaps that is the best way for shipping and maritime leaders approach the cloud strategically—as a generational mindset, an adequate grasp of which is essential to the development of an organisation fit for the future. “It is impossible to foresee all the advantages the Cloud can give the shipping industry”, says Lena Göthberg, Secretary-General of the Institute of Shipping Analysis, “but it will definitely give us the power to become a more attractive industry for young people to work in.” Back in that sweaty, emoticon-fuelled corner of the internet the punctuators continue to slug it out with no end in sight. Of course the truth about the cloud is that how you capitalise it doesn’t matter. But how you capitalise upon it could just be shipping’s defining challenge of this decade.
The travel industry is a lesson in how technology first brings transparency, and then enables the big idea. In shipping the big operators could still be the ones to have it.
hipping is a truly international business. As a result most of the people working in it are seasoned travellers, and we spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. Until a few years ago, unless you were fortunate enough to have friends or business colleagues ready to put you up in the city to which you were headed, your most likely bed for the night would be a hotel. Now however, there is an alternative. Airbnb is only a few years old, but it is in the vanguard of an economic revolution in the accommodation business. Built on a cloud-based platform it allows those with a spare bedroom, apartment, castle or boat, to sell a night in it online. It even has camper vans and treehouses. Combining an intuitive user experience with a community-based approach to recommendation and reviews, Airbnb's growth has been nothing short of exponential. To put it in context,
the Intercontinental group books approximately 100 million nights per year. Airbnb is already booking 55 million, and it's currently doubling in size every six months. The company trades entirely online, holds no large assets and, due to its utilisation of cloud technology, hasn't even had to make major capital investments in the technology infrastructure which it buys as a service. It charges between 6% and 12% of the value of the transaction as a fee. Part of the reason for Airbnb's success has been attributed to the homogenous, unreliable and all too frequently disappointing performance of the big hotel chains. Since the comparison websites appeared and brought transparency to their previously arcane room pricing practices, cost has become such a prime driver for consumers that hotels in response have become less and less differentiated. No wonder a site which
offers the possibility of a treehouse for the night, or a clean, friendly bedroom, for far less money, is so refreshing. Airbnb has found an incredibly sweet spot. They have pointed out to all those peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;like your friends who offer to put you up for the nightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that they have an under-utilised asset, be that a sofa, a spare room, a wing or a guest cottage. They are by the same token offering them a safe, fast and convenient way to monetise it. And on the other hand they are providing a travelling public sick of expensive, soulless, disappointing hotels, an enjoyable and usually cheaper alternative. That this revolution has happened in the travel industry is significant. Shipping may transport 90% of everything but travel accounts for 10% of global GDP. In the biggest industry in the world the seemingly inexorable consolidation into fewer and fewer major
Image credit © Getty
chains has been driven by economies of scale and service delivery, but in many sectors has led to overcapacity. The capital investments necessary to build and operate hotels are so massive that challenging their dominance was impossible. It took Airbnb to do it. But it also took the cloud. It's easy to say things like, the cloud offers scalability and flexibility and levels the technology playing field, but the example of Airbnb and the hotel industry is a far better way to illustrate it. It's also useful because you can see clearly that, although it was the cloud technology which allowed Airbnb to deliver its offering in the way it has, on its own the technology was just an enabler. It would have been nothing without the idea itself. An idea which actually, any of the really big hotel chains could have had at any time. But they didn't. You're smart people so you will
already have noticed that there are some very significant parallels to be drawn between the current state of shipping—and the liner industry in particular—and the hotel business pre-Airbnb. Consolidation, homogeneity, overcapacity, unreliability, and unhappy customers. The advent of the comparison and review websites was the first stage in the erosion of the hotel chains' stranglehold. Opaque pricing, awkward policies, optimistic descriptions and the fact that, once you'd turned up at seven in the evening and weren't happy, going somewhere else cost you a fortune, were all challenged by the internet model. Transparency was the first thing that technology gave the hotel's customers. An alternative was what it went on to enable. Shipping is still dealing with transparency. Featured as this issue's Futurenaut is Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xeneta. The cloud-based software-as-a-service
collects container price information directly from freight buyers and feeds back real-time price benchmarks. To quote Patrik, "Utilizing the principles of crowd-sourcing and big-data analytics Xeneta delivers transparency in a highly volatile and opaque sea-freight industry – allowing companies to measure and monitor their performance, which forms the basis for improvements." There are other disruptive, technology start-ups too. Take Ocean Insights, which offers container sailing schedules, tracking and on-time performance in real-time. Or Freightos whose patentpending Freightos Routing Engine can 'filter billions of multi-leg door-todoor routes and find the most efficient routes for shipping freight between any two points on our planet.' Their pricing engine meanwhile claims to cope 'accurately with charges based on origin, destination, lane, subcharges, seasonal
Image credit ÂŠ Airbnb
fees, overweight and out-of-gauge fees, volumetric ratios, weight and volume breaks, and every other fee in our complex industry.' The service costs nothing in hardware, backup, setup or admin, it's all included in a monthly fee. These companies and others like them are already bringing the transparency which was the precursor for such rapid change in the travel industry. Where they win is in their rigid focus on the customer. One major facet of cloud architecture is its ability to support an 'outside-in' approach to the business. This approach begins and ends with the customer. The decision is initiated in response to strategic needs that exist outside the company, and the decisionmaking process focusses on how it will enable an improved customer experience. But on the face of it the customer experience is a way down the priority list in the liner trade. According to Drewry box ship on-time reliability dropped 1.4%, declining to 69.5% in the third quarter of 2013. Lengthier than scheduled transit times is the explanation, which is another way of describing slow steaming to reduce costs.
As the transparency grows questions are even being raised about the reliability of these figures, as more and more sailings are cancelled and therefore never get counted as late or otherwise. For a customer though, they are equally inconvenient. There's no question that the market is tough, but the response by operators is more consolidation. The P3 network is, at time of writing, still awaiting regulatory approval, but apparently confident
Maersk man Lars Michael Jensen, the centre will handle 255 ships and around 2.6 million TEU per year. Jensen has been clear in interviews that the centre will operate completely independently from the companies which make up the alliance. In fact he has already stated that when there is a conflict of interest, it will be the Network Centre which makes the operational decisions, not the individual carriers.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;The strategic dangers inherent in the P3 alliance could be far greater for the three carriers involved than any impact on customers or compeition.â&#x20AC;? it will open for business in the second quarter of 2014. The G6 alliance has been around for some time, but where the P3 is significantly different is not necessarily in the market share it has, but in the way it will be structured. The three partners, Maersk, CMA-CGM and MSC, intend to outsource their entire operational effort to the P3 Network Centre. London based and headed by
There is a lot of talk about how the P3 will reduce competition for shippers, but the dangers for the three carriers involved in taking this strategic direction, have the potential to be far greater. In our cloud-enabled world the economies of scale which have traditionally ruled in shipping are likely to diminish, whilst cumbersome legacy IT systems, inside-out processes, and the
harsh difficulties of changing anything, act as an anchor on innovation. Becoming utterly customer focussed and responsive, obsessively gathering and using data to analyse how to do so and utilising cloud-based IT approaches to deliver seamless services runs completely counter to handing over your entire operations to a centre which, by its CEO's own admission, will do "what's best for the common good." One isn't entirely clear whether he's including customers in that. When these carriers hand over the operations of their vessels to Jensen and his very capable team in London in the next few months, one wonders where the lines of ownership will begin and end. Two leading data analytics companies speaking to us in this issue - one technical and one commercial - are quite clear that both the technical data from the vessel and commercial data from the business, is going to be of critical value and importance to shipping. And at some stage, the two are going to have to come together. In order to run operations, the Network Centre will require much of that data. So who will own it? The Network Centre, or the alliance partners? It's a question which, unless it's carefully
considered now, may just come back to haunt them. The sharing economy may be a buzzword, but there's a difference between sharing and giving it all away. The trend is clear, integration and analysis of technical and commercial data is going to be a huge part of competitive advantage going forward, but whilst oth-
Image credit © Maersk
Maersk Line's Vincent Clerc, on the P3 Network: "...our operations will get even more efficient and competitive."
ers are trying to bring it together the P3 is resolutely splitting it apart—reportedly for the next 10 years. Drewry point out that the P3, "will contribute to the trend towards lack of service differentiation in container shipping." That's putting it mildly.
Meanwhile, the transparency which has brought us to the shipping 2.0 we're currently dealing with, continues to shine a light into the dark corners where money can be made. Highlighting dissatisfaction, inefficiencies and processes which algorithms, automation and cloud technology—which is the warp and weft of bright, innovative ideas-men like Xeneta's Berglund and his ilk—have the capacity to turn into the big businesses of tomorrow. Between private equity—already taking a serious interest in shipping— and tiring of the chase for the next big app in favour of ideas which will solve real-world needs, and these tech-smart innovators there is a growing realisation that our industry is fertile and lucrative territory, ripe for disruption. The cloud will almost inevitably be the platform which enables shipping's 'Airbnb' from which will emerge the new Shipping 3.0. But where the idea will come from isn't set in stone. Cloud is more than technology, it is mindset, and it is judgment. The opportunities are still there for the incumbents, if they just allow theirs to be clouded.
11th & 12th February 2014
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which are changing the paradigm of satellite-only connectivity solutions. “What will the Satellite-Cloud Interface look like?” examines the cloud and the different technologies – broadband networks, virtualisation, Web 2.0 interactivity, time sharing, and browser interfaces – it brings together. The cloud is now fundamentally changing the way organisations use IT, and com-
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In the first of a new series of interviews profiling the men and women shaping the shipping and maritime future, we meet
Patrik Olstad Berglund CEO, Xeneta
Image credit ©Xeneta.com
s part of our mission to chart shipping and maritime’s technology-enabled future, we’re profiling some of the people shaping that future. This issue we were fortunate enough to speak to a very busy Patrik Olstad Berglund, CEO of Norwegian technology company Xeneta. Its web-based, crowd sourced intelligence platform has the capacity to be highly disruptive, challenging the way the industry operates. Based in Oslo, Norway, Patrik is also coping with some disruption of his own, in the shape of a new baby. Here’s what he had to tell us:
What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Xeneta? In a nutshell, what do you do?
Xeneta collects container price information directly from freight buyers and feeds back real-time price benchmarks. The information can be segmented on a detailed level to provide the most relevant price benchmarks. Utilizing the principles of crowd-sourcing and big-data analytics Xeneta delivers transparency in a highly volatile and opaque sea-freight industry—allowing companies to measure and monitor their performance, which forms the basis for improvements. Xeneta is the ultimate, most accurate platform for intelligence related to historical and up to date price movements within liner shipping—the most global industry in the world.
Why Xeneta? What does the name mean?
I wish I had a great or fun history to share on this topic, but Xeneta is simply the shortest .com domain we could find, and which we believed would stick when people heard it. We also liked the cat-like animal we found upon googling Xeneta.
How much of a gamble was it to create Xeneta? Is risk an integral part of entrepreneurship?
Founding companies always comes with a portion of risk—either big or small. I believe risk can be mitigated with the right mindset/methods, carefully considering the different options/choices one has to make and find support/basis for final decisions. At Xeneta we’re huge fans
of fact-based decisions—meaning that we try to find support for our decisions by benchmarking our ideas against what others have done or finding a set of KPIs to support our choices.
You count amongst your investors Creandum who were lead investors in Spotify. How challenging was it to sell your idea to them?
The whole process of getting investors onboard has been a quite pleasant and educating experience, and since we had a clear idea on what we were building and how we would go about reaching our goals it was not too difficult to agree terms with the investors.
You aren’t a traditional ‘shipping man’. Do you think that’s an advantage for you?
I believe so—it gives a kind of different perspective on the typical/traditional/ characteristic dynamics of the industry. The combination of backgrounds we’ve put together within our team offers, in my opinion, a set of “fresh eyes” which helps us to do things differently.
Do you consider yourself to be in the maritime/shipping business? Or are you a technology company? I’d say we’re a combination of the two— and depending on whom you ask at Xeneta you would get different answers, depending on their jobs and preferences. I think pairing these two areas is what really opens us up to new ways of thinking and new possibilities/solutions.
Xeneta is built on a cloud architecture, can you explain what that means and whether in your mind there is now any alternative? Cloud architecture can be defined in many different ways, and thus it can be a very confusing term. However, we want to define it as easily as this: software on the internet that’s easily accessible for anyone to use, without any installation, having a simple and intuitive interface. This includes the desktop, laptop, tablet and mobiles as interfaces. In today’s world, there is no alternative that gets software to the end-user faster and more efficiently for all parties involved, and it would not make much sense to go another route. Where else can you write a feature or fix a bug, and give it out to your users within matter of minutes after it’s done—without any action required from the user? To date your solution has been aimed at container shipping’s customers. What new products or developments are you looking at in 2014 and beyond?
For 2014 we’ll stay focused on liner shipping, but we definitely want to go into different modes of transportation since the methodology and software we’ve built is applicable for multiple modes. In addition, we’re putting focus on getting the supplier side of the industry engaged as well. Given the huge potential upside for them we anticipate some interesting development this year.
Cloud-based Xeneta enables the team to write a feature and roll it out to users within minutes with no action required by customers.
We described you in our first issue as an example of a disruptive technology start-up in the shipping/maritime space. Who are the others? I think some of the more established SaaS tender platforms have been quite disruptive for the industry – but not to the extent we’ve seen in other industries. There’s quite the bunch of startups com-
“...at least companies would 'play on equal terms' with software such as ours - the question would be how well they exploit the opportunities.” ing up within maritime/shipping such as FreightOS, Weft (weft.io), Ocean Insights, RiskMethods etc. and they can all have significant impact on the industry.
Where does shipping/maritime sit in the overall curve of technology understanding and deployment in comparison to other parts of the logistics/supply chain? I’d say that shipping/maritime is on the forefront of technology when it comes to vessels and equipment related to tackle operations—but on the processes, communication and marketing between seller/buyer there’s seems to be a huge gap to fill. I’m tempted to make a bold state-
ment here, and say it’s 20 years behind what we see in other industries. Some of the players acknowledge this fact, and are working on closing the gap. I’m confident this represents some significant upsides for the first successful movers.
Will scalable, cost-effective cloud architectures like yours level the playing field for smaller shipping and maritime companies?
Well, at least the companies would “play on equal terms” with software such as ours, and the question would be how well they exploit the opportunities such software represents.
Where do you see innovation and creative thinking in the big shipping/maritime industry companies?
Within liner shipping, the leading players seems to focus on cost efficiency—which I believe is a good driver for innovation. So far, it seems that the focus has mainly been on introducing new technology on the physical equipment utilised—while the opportunities I’ve mentioned earlier (such as in processes, communications, marketing) remains quite untouched. Looking at the evolution we’ve been witnessing within the financial markets and the passenger side of the airline industry, and comparing that to what we see in shipping/maritime I believe some major changes will come.
Do you think the increased interest in shipping/maritime by private equity companies is a good thing? How have you benefitted from your investors, other than financially? Definitely—it allows new players to enter the market—with different, fresh ideas. We’ve benefitted in many ways, besides funding; leveraging their network, benchmarking topics with their different portfolio companies or directly with the investors, establishing a professional board of directors, etc.
The Sentient Ship, The Cyborg Crew, Shipistics and Business e-volution. Join us for FuturenauticsLIVE at the year's biggest shipping event -
Posidonia 2014 Register for your FREE seat at one of the hottest events of the year where shipping's technology-enabled future comes Xeneta investors Creandum are also a lead investor in Spotify. Berglund says they have benefitted from them in "many, many ways besides funding."
to life. From nanotechnology to Big Data, M2M, cloud
What advice would you give to someone with a killer idea for the maritime market?
trends you need to understand in order to take advantage of
What will be the next major technology disruption in shipping? Who will it most affect?
Some key words; patience, endurance, pivot if needed…
On the software-side of the industry; Xeneta of course! And all stakeholders should utilise it.
computing, superfast connectivity, and the new Millennial generation at sea and ashore, we're covering the technologynew efficiencies and revenue streams and stay competitive.
Save the date Wednesday 4th June 2014 from 17:00 to 19:00 Reserve your place now by clicking here, or visit www.futurenautics.com/posidonia
Patrik Olstad Berglund is the CEO and co-founder of Xeneta. Visit their website at www.xeneta.com
maritime technology showcase Image credit ©Microsoft
GlobalXpress Lifts Off
Image credit © Inmarsat
he first of Inmarsat’s $1.6billion Global Xpress satellites safely launched in December 2013, bringing the era of high throughput satellites a step closer. The Inmarsat-5 F1 satellite on board a Proton Breeze M rocket launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8 December and underwent several chemical burns to raise it to a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit. Having completed deployment of its solar rays and reflectors the spacecraft is scheduled to perform its electrical orbit-raising phase, taking it to its final geostationary orbit as this issue goes to press. Built by Boeing Satellite Systems International, the satellite is the first of three HTS birds which by the end of 2014 will provide global Ka-band coverage with performance of up to 50Mbps to mobile or fixed terminals. Any successful space launch is big news—it is, after all, rocket science—but this one is truly significant because of the step-change in connectivity for ships that it promises. Ship operators are understandably somewhat weary of tech specs and quoted broadband speeds, some of which don’t seem to live up to the hype. When it comes to HTS though, the picture is likely to change, and here’s why. At the core of the GlobalXpress product is the Service Enablement Platform (SEP), which includes an application hosting infrastructure. In order to connect via the platform software companies will require approval as Certified Application Providers (CAPs). With approximately 75 already signed up no doubt there will be recognisable marine software names amongst the CAPs, but for the first time, they’ll have some major competition.
According to Frank Coles, President of Inmarsat Maritime, Microsoft is already interested and in the process of developing a satellite efficient version of its Skype software. Not only that, according to Coles the majority of software on the GX platform will be designed to work not just on the high-speed GX service, but also over FleetBroadband, Inmarsat’s current IP system. For the first time ship operators will be able to access satellite-ready, but not maritime domain-specific software, with all the advantages that brings. And almost more significantly than that, it won’t just be the HTS early-adopters who benefit. If, as Coles says, these applications will run on FleetBroadband, this is a new era for the tens of thousands of FleetBroadband terminals currently in the market. Look out for our HTS/Big Data issue in July for much more.
huraya have launched the latest edition of the SatSleeve designed for Android-based smartphones. Compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, the new product allows users to turn their own smartphone into a satellite phone to make phone calls, send SMS messages and access social networks and apps via Thuraya’s satellite network when they are unable to connect to a terrestrial GSM network. Eliminating the need to carry a separate satellite phone users can dock their Android smartphone into the Thuraya SatSleeve and operate it normally via the Thuraya Satellite network. Its built-in SOS button allows users to call one predefined number even without their smartphone attached.
Image credit © Thuraya
SatSleeve from Thuraya January 2014
Image credit © Douglas Levere
Hovannes Kulhandjian and Zahed Hossain dropped two, 40-pound sensors into Lake Erie and then typed a command into a laptop.
Underwater internet makes a splash
ith so much focus on the new high throughput satellites and the increased connectivity they will bring, researchers at the University of Buffalo are looking to extend connectivity underwater. The idea of a deep-sea internet could offer improvements in tsunami detection, offshore oil and gas exploration, and pollution monitoring amongst others. “A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyse data from our oceans in
real time, says Tommaso Melodia, associate professor of electrical engineering and the project’s lead researcher. “Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives.” Melodia tested the system recently in Lake Erie, where Hovannes Kulhandjian and Zahed Hossain, who are both doctoral candidates in his lab, dropped two, 40-pound sensors into the water. Kulhandjian typed a command into a laptop.
Cobham SeaTel go Fibreoptic
Seconds later, a series of high-pitched chirps ricocheted off a nearby concrete wall, an indication that the test worked. The ineffectiveness of radio waves underwater have led to navies and other organisations using sound-wave based techniques to communicate underwater. The framework being developed by Melodia and his team would transmit data from existing and planned underwater sensor networks to laptops, smartphones and other wireless devices in real time. Still very far from a reality, this type of research could have profound effects upon the way that commercial shipping operates, if undersea comms networks were able to be utilised in the future.
obham SATCOM has released a Fibre Optic Solution to combat the issues caused by running multiple coax cables around large vessels. The solution, which can be used with its SeaTel VSAT anntennas, replaces the standard multiple coax cables from the below deck equipment (BDE) to the above deck equipment (ADE – the antenna), with a single, ultra-low IF loss fibre optic cable. The new cable should improve issues with installation, maintenance and antenna performance which can impact on quality and availability of voice and data connectivity.
Fit for Purpose? W
ith the MLC now ratified by 50 countries, representing 80% of the tonnage in the world's merchant fleet, the health and healthcare provided to seafarers is coming under renewed scrutiny. In the section concerned with health protection and medical care the MLC states, "The requirements for medical care include standards aimed at providing Seafarers with health protection and medical care as comparable as possible to that which is generally available to workers ashore." The MLC has been described as a 'Magna Carta' of seafaring, but the vagueness of some of its provisionsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;access to 'reasonable' communications, rest and sleep hoursâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;has meant in some quarters it has been seen as unworkable and therefore practically unenforceable. It certainly looks like it's going to be expensive. In response earlier this month the North P&I Club launched a new campaign for 2014 highlighting the potentially excessive medical costs of providing quality healthcare to crew. There are those, like insurer Crews-
ure, who are already pointing out the shortcomings of traditional P&I cover which is for the operator not the crew, and have developed specific crew health policies more akin to those that shorebased employees have access to. Whether operators decide that's the right way to go or not, the facts are undeniable: the costs of seafarer illness in terms of repatriation, vessel diversion and securing replacement crew are high, and the industry is seeing a marked increase in every day crew medical and accident claims. As part of its advice Tony Baker, North's head of loss prevention makes an important point, "In our experience targeted loss prevention initiatives can deliver high quality treatment and at the same time help control the potentially significant medical costs associated with illnesses and injuries." So how do operators implement 'loss prevention' when it comes to medical costs? Accidents and injuries are sadly inevitable, even with the best safety procedures in place. But though the focus on operational safety must, and will,
remain, we are becoming increasingly sophisticated in our understanding of how the overall health of a seafarer may contribute to those accidents, and the likelihood of serious illness. A new project sponsored by the TK Foundation is conducting two linked studies into seafarer fatigue and its effects. The first study involves three to four months of observation of the longer-term psycho-social issues affecting seafarers, with volunteer crew members rating their fatigue and stress levels and wearing Actiwatches periodically to record their activity. The second study will look at the effectiveness of a fatigue risk management system (FRMS) through a shipboard study. This is important research, but the results will most likely be an increased onus on the ship operator to impose yet more rules and systems to protect seafarers. Whereas in the past when a seafarer was sent off for his rest and sleep break, the distractions in his cabin were minimal, on modern ships the complex-
Image credit © Withings Pulse
ion has changed markedly. The operators present at the SingTel Ship Efficiency “Although life at sea is tough, it's becoming more sedentary, roundtable late last year were unanimous with exercise rates dropping whilst conditions like hypertension, in citing the new dimension which broadband connectivity has brought to heart disease and depression are on the increase” managing crew. In the old days there were a limited hypertension dropped by two-thirds, and new MLC provisions? And importantly, number of things you could do in your the company was able to cut the annual how do you take 'loss prevention initiacabin on a rest break—now, even though increase in health costs from double tives' when you're dealing with somea seafarer should be sleeping, there's digits to single digits. thing as personal as a seafarer's health? a very good chance that he's online, Perhaps part of the reason for the If the experience of other large chatting on Facebook, catching up with huge success of this programme, and othorganisations is anything to go by, it friends and family, watching DVDs or ers like it, is the worldwide burgeoning seems it is possible. The combination surfing the internet. of interest in self-monitoring which has of advances in medical monitoring and And the issues go wider than that been driven by the comparatively cheap wearable tech, and the age-old human that. Although life at sea is tough, the availability of fitness monitoring devices. instinct for competition and reward are evidence is that it's becoming more already forming the basis for employee These compact and portable devices sedentary, with exercise rates dropping will sit on your belt, lapel, or wrist and health programmes which are demonwhilst conditions like hypertension and monitor everything from the steps you heart disease and stress-linked conditions strating startling success. take and the level of intensity of the Blue Shield of California is a case such as depression, are on the increase. exercise, to your heart rate, and they will in point. The non-profit health insurer All of this is linked inextricably with even monitor the length and quality of launched an employee health and proseafarer loyalty and retention. ductivity program using tools like mobile your sleep. There's no question that in many At the recent CES 2014 show this cases operators could do more to improve apps to teach employees how to mansector of wearable tech evolved further conditions, but for a considerable number age their health. According to reports the programme resulted in a halving in with the LG Lifeband which combines who are already providing a good packthe functionality of a mobile phone with the rate of smoking among employees, age, how do you begin to address these
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its fitness monitoring capability. Together with Fitbit, Jawbone, the Withings Pulse, MisFit and a host of others, these devices are helping millions around the world to begin understanding their health in a way that hasn't been possible before. But there's an extra dimension. Most of these devices sync with a cloud-based application which stores and reports on your progress. With Fitbit for
ing when one considers the far-reaching benefits which this type of technology and approach could have. As discussed in the previous issue of Futurenautics, seafarer ranks are already filling with those of the Millennial generation, whose lives are deeply entwined with technology, applications, gaming and competition. Giving them an opportunity to manage their own health more intelligently, in
Image credit © Maersk
example, you'll receive a note of encouragement when you're approaching your daily step goal and achievement badges at milestones like 100 miles walked. If you befriend those you know who are also on the platform you can send a cheer—or a jeer—to each other. So whilst the tech is indeed very good—these things have accelerometers, altimeters and a whole host of extremely clever and accurate measurement devices inside them—where organisations can really use them intelligently is in leveraging the human dimension. It's astonishing just what a difference it makes to be shown how little, or how much you've walked, run or climbed stairs, and particularly your sleep patterns. The impetus to improve, to identify why you slept so badly, and to compete with others is a deep rooted one. So clear is the opportunity for organisations to implement this monitoring as part of an overall programme that FitBit have a corporate offer designed specifically to enable companies to equip employees with their devices and use incentive and reward programmes to drive real improvements in their collective health. Why shipping and maritime hasn't picked up on this area before is surpris-
a social and supported, yet competitive, and—yes, fun—environment could have massive benefits. We already talk about the gamification of knowledge, in many respects this is an extension—the gamification of health. For operators too, the ability to support seafarers—and of course shore based staff—in taking responsibility for their own health improvements, and monitor from shore the levels of exercise and sleep
developing a trial based around wearable fitness monitors this year. We're bringing together manufacturers, ship operators and crews to take part in a real-world trial of this technology and whether it can deliver any of the benefits we've seen in other industries. Issues such as the ability of the devices to sync using existing maritime satellite connectivity; the security and accuracy of the data they provide—particularly with regard to sleep; the attitude of crew to the project and of course any changes in behaviour and health it provokes; and whether the competition and incentives of the programme engage seafarers and improve morale, will all be assessed. The project will also engage with the maritime insurance industry to ascertain whether operators implementing health monitoring programmes in their organisations could see any impact on policies and premiums. If you would be interested in being a part of this trial, then do please contact us to hear about the project in more detail. With healthcare costs across the world increasing, the need for operators to extend a similar level of cover as a typical shore-based employee would expect to those at sea is a challenge. It seems the technology exists which may address it, but for us it goes rather deeper than that. If this kind of technology can empower seafarers to actively manage their health better, with the committed
With such potentially wide-ranging and positive implications, we think it's time that some of the assumptions were tested. that crew are really getting, could revolutionise health at sea. Such programmes open up the possibility down the road for data to be used not just to monitor, but to predict, picking up early warning signs of illness or injury before a seafarer is even fully aware of it. On a compliance level too, the ability to actually record levels and duration of sleep would undoubtedly be in line with both the letter and the spirit of the MLC. With such potentially wide-ranging and positive implications, we think it's time that some of the assumptions were tested. As a result Futurenautics is
support of operators, it might be the beginning of a fresh kind of partnership approach to mitigating illness and improving the health of crews at sea. The data available to operators and insurers could also form the basis of tailored employee health policies, with correspondingly tailored, and lower, premiums. MLC has outlined the responsibilities of the operators very clearly, but when it comes to their health, seafarers need to take some responsibility too. This may just be a way to let them.
The cost of everything
Creating customers, value and investment, the influence of technology-adoption in shipping is rapidly moving centre stage
t the time of writing the annual London Marine Money Forum has recently concluded, amid predictions that 2014 sea trade may reach 10 billion tonnes; huge hunger in the US for yield, and a perception that shipping can provide it; and too many funds with too much money chasing too few shipping deals. Add to this Norton Rose Fulbright reporting that 2013 saw $3.3bn in private equity deals, and Talis Capital saying they expect to do ten deals this year, plus a recent report in the London Financial Times that private equity has around $780bn burning a hole in their pockets, and you could be forgiven for feeling that the good times are back around the corner. But it's far more complex than that, hence Andy Dacy of JP Morgan warning that he smelt 'pixie dust' in the air.
Yes, PE is taking a higher profile but largely because debt financing is still selective and limited. Private Equity and indeed capital markets may be no threat to shipping's recovery, but securing a PE investment is a very different proposition than many operators are used to. In a recent Maritime CEO interview Basil M Karatzas, of Karatzas Marine Advisers, made clear that ship operators needed to be more 'transparent and corporate', and while reports of some being unnerved at conferences by the sea of PE black suits may or may not be true, it is a fact that these guys not only look different, their approach is different. At the recent Institute of Shipping Analysis annual conference, attendees had a lesson from Dr Adam Kent of Marine Strategies International in just how focussed on data PE is. In a shipping industry which is only
just waking up to the value and the necessity of data, the dearth of it in certain sectors means that PE simply won't go near them. Without it they are unable to complete the rigorous investigations they undertake, and come to a sense of the true value of the company. And this data-driven valuation model is already reflected in new vessel valuation company VesselsValue. When it comes to valuing the assets—ships— it's been down to brokers to do so and charge for the privilege. The three main methods, from mark to market—or last done, mark to model and mark to cost, all have their flaws, as does—at a more fundamental level— having brokers undertaking this key process at all, considering the potential conflict of interest. Now VesselsValue, a technology start-up spun out of Seasure Shipping
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brokers uses an algorithm to provide instant and accurate values based on a variety of parameters. The company claims that the system is already used by banks and investors, including PE. Of course PE is different in another key way, and that's its investment horizon—far shorter than traditional asset-based lenders. For PE value creation is key. Read our Sentient Ship and Shipistics articles this issue and you come away with a clear sense that the operators investing in data collection and analytics software now are doing so with a belief that at some point the specification of what is acceptable to a charterer in any given sector, is going to change. And having the correct technology infrastructure to respond to those changes, whether it is to be able to run more efficiently by analysing technical data from the ship, or by using ERP to
find out where you're actually making your money—is essential. Creating value in a company means understanding what customers want and being able to respond ahead of your competitors. As Veson Nautical puts it, technology and
centre-stage. The old adage talks about understanding the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Shipping has always been utterly foccused on cost, partly because value has been a tough thing to demonstrate. But data, and the trans-
"Those implementing technology-enabled strategies for the future, will be producing data that will demonstrate their value to anyone who cares to look at it." the information it delivers helps you to ,"see inefficiencies in the market no one else sees." With technology and data so crucial to satisfying customers in the future and creating value at one end, and the data fed into VesselsValue providing the basis for investment and funding decisions at the other, the influence of technologyadoption in shipping is rapidly moving
parency it brings with it, means that is changing. For those who are implementing technology-enabled strategies for the future, the data they produce will demonstrate their value to anyone who cares to look at it. And for those who aren't, that PE investment—as ubiquitous as it may appear—could still be very hard to come by.
Seek, and ye shall find It's not in the technology that the answers lie, but in what it enables us to see
n our first Shipistics article we quoted a senior ship manager on the difficulties of standardising data for noon-day reports. "Every owner, charterer, sub charterer, voyage charterer, oil major, IMO, etc, etc, have their own formats for example for Noon reporting," he told us. "Many masters are now sending about 6 Noon Reports every day.” Harmonisation of standards and regulation, we suggested, was the necessary approach. But that doesn't really help your vessels today. There is something which will though. "Absolutely, we can address that, different parties wanting data in different formats. The software streamlines the process, there's a formbased email which you can customise, you enter the data once and then submit the form. That information is parsed and then distributed to the relevant parties. There's no re-keying, no lag." The product being described is Veslink which, together with the Integrated Maritime Operations System (IMOS), and its cloud-based iteration IMOSLive, form the basis of the commercial ERP
product offering of Veson Nautical. With 30 years in the maritime software business, its triple digit revenue growth between 2008-12 means it now ranks on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, as one of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. The man describing its capabilities is Sean Riley, COO of Veson Nautical, and although his personal experience of the maritime industry only dates back to 2012, he is clear on the importance of Veson's deep domain knowledge as a whole. "I know it's an over-used phrase but shipping really is a unique business, I think that our maritime expertise gives us a level of credibility—that we really understand the challenges." Challenges isn't something shipping is short of, and serving over 5,000 users at 200 maritime organisations worldwide, Veson has presumably seen a good cross-section of them. ERP solutions such as IMOS which enable the more strategic use of resources and better decision making are consistently coming
out in surveys as a top driver for the implementation of IP satellite systems like VSAT and Inmarsat FleetBroadband. Does the launch of the cloud-based IMOSLive product in late 2013 reflect a growing market? "There's very strong interest. For the smaller operator/owner or charterer, the cloud version smooths the cost curve and brings it within reach, while at the top end of the market it gives flexibility. But, there are still guys who aren't quite ready to commit." And the likely reason for that hesitancy is what Riley describes as a lack 'understanding'. From a consulting background himself, does Riley feel Veson inevitably has to take on that kind of role in order educate the market? "Any good software company serves as a consultant to its clients, balancing the cutting edge of what's available and the client's requirements. It's always been that way, a consultative approach builds relationships and trust." When it comes to technology suppliers and ship operators trust is something which has historically been in
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short supply, with many operators believing that they've ended up with expensive, inflexible systems in the past which seemed feature-rich, but were too soon obsolete. Riley's response to that is clear, "You can kill an ant with a grenade, but a fly-swatter works just as well. If you're a good technology partner you don't sell the grenade." It's a great metaphor, but on a spectrum of need how do you decide how explosive a fly-swatter your client requires? "We have several hundred ship owners and operators as clients, so when we sit down with someone new we can say, 'this is the information that our other clients in your market segment care about, do you care about that? Yes? Great. No? Okay, what do you care about?'" For Riley answering those questions first and defining the information your organisation wants to report against has to be the first step. The second is to work out how much of that you can actually do. "You have to start by documenting the pieces of information you need to operate your business in the most efficient way. Doing it the other way around
â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can kill an ant with a grenade, but a fly-swatter works just as well. If you're a good technology partner you don't sell the grenade.â&#x20AC;? means you end up pulling over information that you may never use to make any useful decisions." Veson's own literature describes them as 'partnering with organisations...to increase productivity and drive strategic thinking.' From this description it sounds as though it isn't just the functionality of the software which is of value, but the strategic insight an operator has to acquire in order to deploy it optimally. "I don't think technology is your competitive advantage in shipping," says Riley. "It can identify a competitive advantage and even enable it, but it isn't the advantage itself. All the information is about helping you see inefficiencies in the market no one else sees, but the tech isn't the advantage." It's a valid point, and one echoed by our focus on 'shipping's technology-enabled future', with the stress on 'ena-
bled'. It seems there is a tendency often for operators to view software or other technology as the magic bullet which will change everything, not grasping that the major change it will drive is within their own organisation and mindset. "By definition, implementing a new system means you're going to have to change some portion of your process, and for some people it's a small piece and for others it's a very, very large piece. Change is difficult in any organisation but a lot of these shipping companies are very established and have been doing things a certain way for a long time. In some cases they're willing to change certain things, and sometimes they're not. Knowing what those things are gives you the map." It's the closeness of the working relationship with clients that Veson considers essential. The tricky process of change management requires it, as does manag-
Veson Nautical products have interoperability with other systems at the core of their design, but not all providers have taken the same approach - a key criteria for ship operatorste.
ing any customisations to the system clients may think they need. "When we sell a new system to a client people very often want customisations. We actually recommend that they don't customise on the first day. We advise them to wait for a period— until they know the system. In our experience, often once the client starts working in this different way, the things they cared about on day one may not be viewed as essential six months later, and information they didn’t care about becomes key." As the key importance of this data becomes clearer to operators, so too do the types of systems they entrust with it. As more and more cloud-based architectures and solutions are deployed by operators, how ready are maritime software providers to embrace open-standards as opposed to the more traditional vendor lock-in approach? "It's hard to generalise, some people are very ready, some aren't. Some don't fully understand the need to interface with other systems. One of our core tenets is to allow interfacing as easily as possible." Built on the Microsoft .NET, platform, the Veson product still has a lot of
proprietary code within it, but interoperability comes as standard. "Interfacing has always been a key component of the system. Our clients use many different financial systems. Many of our charterers require us to interface to ERP systems that manage other aspects of their business. Traders often have proprietary trading systems that we interact with, so the landscape of interfacing is diverse and reflective of the different types of clients we have. I'm not sure all maritime software providers have taken that approach and I think those which haven't will struggle." It is in its ability to bring that transparency that data is so incredibly valuable and even if ship operators are only just waking up to that, it's something that companies like Veson and ESRG, (interviewed in our Sentient Ship section this issue), are only too aware. And whereas there is currently a clear divide between the technical data and analytics that ESRG are working on, and the commercial data Veson specialise in, everyone knows that isn't going to persist. According to Sylvain Quief of Orange, "From our perspective, the next big thing after Cloud is Big Data: monetising the huge amount of unstructured
Image credit © Veson Nautical
data that we are producing every day." As operators become more educated and are encouraged by products like Veson's and ESRG's to ask questions, they are very quickly going to get into exactly these kind of Big Data conversations, where linking technical data to commercial data—vessel performance with cost per day, revenue per day, profitability by routes, arrival ports and departure ports—is essential. That's why at this stage, it's key that operators choose their suppliers carefully, and make sure their data is portable. Riley says that Veson has clients today who are already pulling data out of their system and reporting against it with various business intelligence platforms, and it's something that is top of mind for them. "Complacency kills your business. We know that at some point in the coming years we will see the integration of commercial with other performance and operational data. Right now those are disparate systems, used by disparate groups of people, and often the technical people are very different from the commercial people, they care about, and focus on different things. But at some point that data has to roll up to someone, whether it's the CFO, COO,
Head of Analytics, business intelligence, whatever. They're going to want to pull all that data together and crunch it." So with the consolidation of this data comes a potentially very lucrative position within the maritime domain, as a powerful application Platform as a Service provider (aPaaS). "Our vision is to build a standard platform, to be that within maritime. I think we're well positioned, already we can enable clients to pull out any data in a relatively efficient fashion, but it's something we're always evolving and improving. Regardless of what system you have, reporting is going to be a key area of focus for the next 1015 years, and it's only going to grow in importance." And will the new high throughput satellites be a watershed in the ability of operators to collect this data? "Highly functional ERP can't deploy over a slow connection, although some bits work. Veslink is perfectly capable of capturing data through existing connections. I think again it's going to come down to what's technically possible, versus the cost. Having said that we love speed, once people get a taste of the speed then they don’t want it taken away, so it will have an impact." Talking of cost, does Riley have sympathy with the view that—tough conditions or not—operators just have to bite the bullet and invest in technology solutions, or is that unrealistic? "It's necessary to invest, the question is how you invest. When most people think of investment in shipping they think of buying a new ship or investing in retrofitting an old ship for more effective propulsion systems. You can invest smaller dollars into more efficient analytics to see where you're performing well. I think in many cases people don't understand where or how they're actually making money, and understanding more, diving beyond just single voyage based accounting, investing in that sort of thing is realistic. It's not the same as buying another ship." With the traditional asset-based lenders only really interested in those ships though, one can understand why investment is seen in such narrow terms. But with the increasing number of private equity firms looking at the industry, perhaps it will spur a wider and deeper appreciation of where the value in a shipping company lies. Riley is clear
that the tech itself isn't the competitive advantage, but we at Futurenautics believe the mindset needed to implement it most certainly is. With many private equity companies avoiding certain sectors altogether because of the dearth of data,
the cloud Riley says it's an impossible question, all he knows for sure is that we'll be further ahead than we are now. "I think people won't look at you with a kind of a cocked head when you talk about the cloud in shipping. I see that
"in the coming years we will see the integration of commercial with other performance and operational data." it seems clear that for some operators improving their data could certainly smooth their path to future investment. They may also be a route in for our badly needed shipisticians—Riley certainly thinks they're coming. "I think owners and charterers see the value in data and step one is trying to figure out how to get it. Step two is finding someone to analyse, interpret, and recommend based on that data. The shipisticians are coming, not I think from tech companies, but from universities, strategy consulting firms—the McKinseys and Bains—and I think as PE and hedge funds get more involved they will naturally ask for this information, and when it isn't there, they'll put these folks in place themselves. When people start asking the questions which can only be answered with “shipistics,” the people to answer them will come, but you have to ask the questions first." When it comes to predictions about
major owners and charterers—who are already using the cloud for certain things—will consider cloud a far more mainstream concept. What I don't think you'll see is that the vessel becomes the shore in terms of connection speed, but you will see a streamlined ability to extract data directly from the vessels." From where we're sitting it feels as though there is a convergence of forces, from computing power, to generational mindsets, to cloud which are driving shipping into its future, and data is firmly at the heart of it. Like it or not, it's hard to see how any operator is going to resist such forces and survive. "I think technology will accelerate in shipping at a rate faster than it has in the last ten years," confirms Riley. "It's coming, not quite to an inflection point per se, but a significant steepening of the technology-adoption curve." You heard it here first.
“It's coming, not quite to an inflection point per se, but a significant steepening of the technology-adoption curve." Sean Riley, COO, Veson Nautical
Image credit © Veson Nautical
social cyborg integrity
Mature Reflection S
peaking to this issue's Futurenaut, Xeneta CEO Patrik Olstad Berglund, we asked whether there was a particular reason that Xeneta had been developed on a cloud platform. There was a moment of silence before the Norwegian asked a question in return - "It seemed natural, what other platform is there?" One suspects that Berglund falls into the Millennial cohort, this generation of technology-immersed internet natives who are both shaping and being shaped by the tremendously powerful technology developments we are living through. It seems clear now, following so many years of intense study, that this generation do indeed exhibit uniquely different characteristics to those which have gone before. The type of organisations they want to work in are different too. Some, like Berglund, intend to build their own, but for most the expectation is that existing organisations will change and adapt to suit them. Of course it isn't just the type of organisation they want to work for, it's what kind of companies, brands
and platforms they want to buy from, interact with and share their data on. In fact sharing and partnership are two key elements of the Millennial philosophy. "The experience of sharing with peers has become a new way to live well for less, whilst enriching it with a personal human connection," says Linda Tan, of the Economic Times describing Collaborative Consumption, an idea TIME Magazine considers one of ten which will change the world."The tendency to prefer access over ownership (and all its resulting obligations, costs and responsibilities) exemplifies a generally fun and flexible mode of living and also becomes a key component of self-expression for consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; identities." Collaborative Consumption is indicative of the shift in consumer values from ownership to access. By renting, lending, swapping, bartering and sharing products on a previously unseen scale, its exponents claim that it will transform business, consumerism and lifestyles providing a more sustainable and ultimately fulfilling quality of life. The implications of this new attitude will
impact organisations across the board. For shipping, not only do we have to be more sustainable, we have to be seen to be more sustainable. Not only must we reduce gender inequality issues, we must be seen to do so. And the only way in which organisations can adequately respond is by utilising the same network technologies without which ideas like Collaborative Consumption would be dead in the water. We've taken the cloud as our theme this issue, and it is perhaps in the area of the social cyborg that its importance is easiest to contextualise. For some of our generation and older, the whole concept of social cyborg integrity may seem far-fetched, but once you break down the way that the cloud works, what it enables and what it reflects in the Millennial generation, it becomes clear how necessary and how technologically inevitable an holistic approach to CSR, HR, PR, brand, customer service, marketing and training really is. Linda Tan describes Collaborative Consumption as the preferring of access over ownership and its attendant
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obligations, costs and responsibilities, but that also happens to be a pretty good description of the cloud. And the analogy goes far deeper than that. The Millennial desire to share and partner is already being reflected in new business models enabled by cloud computing and the outside-in IT approach which brings the ability to co-ordinate thousands of business partners conducting complex, interdependent activities. By using distinct policy layers, cloud-based enterprises can interact with each other seamlessly allowing free access and collaboration across projects, but moderated by their own policies to ensure compliance with specific rules and procedures. The outside-in approach has wider ramifications too. Your cloud can interact with more than a complex array of business partners, it can enable far better interaction with your employees. The ability to work autonomously, remotely and flexibly is of key concern to Millennials, and as support and training become more central to the employee value-proposition, so will the ability
of organisations to deploy cloud based training and gamification. Once your organisation is rolling out serious games, a major dimension of that game is in its ability to engage a further audience—your potential employees. By integrating with social technologies and networks to build a community around your serious game, you're in a position to create a recruitment pipeline. By doing so of course you're also connecting with your customers and potential customers, strengthening your brand and integrating your marketing, corporate social responsibility and PR activities. Considering that each of these individual disciplines in a legacy-organisation is usually siloed away from the other, conducting separate lives, the ability—at a practical, human level—to manage these complex cloud interactions, would appear to be virtually impossible without a major degree of consolidation. But even if one assumes it was still possible to create a cross-department management of these technology-enabled interactions, two trends will eventually demand the merging of all these functions.
The first of those is Big Data. As Cloud Computing Marketing Director at Orange Business Services Sylvain Quief tells us, "From our perspective, the next big thing after Cloud is Big Data: monetising the huge amount of unstructured data that we are producing every day." In order to monetise such data it is essential to have an holistic overview of these interactions which can inform a creative approach to interrogating and applying the lessons we can learn from their data. The second is a far more human— and very Millennial—need, which is to feel valued and supported. According PwC's NextGen survey, "Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and desire a work environment that emphasizes teamwork and a sense of community. They also value transparency (especially as it relates to decisions about their careers, compensation and rewards). They want to provide input on their work assignments and want and need the support of their supervisors." They also want to work for organisations which make them proud. Taking all of that together and extrapolating it, not
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just for employees but across potential employees, customers, business partners etc., it's clear that the goal of all these technologies has to be to deliver the most personalised and personal experience possible of the organisation. Individuals no longer want to interact with an organisation, they really want to be part of it, which by definition means becoming part of the technology which makes it function. This is the social cyborg. According to Cyber Anthropologist Amber Case, Millennials and a lot of the rest of us are already part of a social cyborg underpinned by the smartphone. Having studied the effects on Millennials of their complete reliance upon something which is not an extension of the physical self, but of the mental self, Case declares herself worried. "So we have this thing called ambient intimacy. It's not that we're always connected to
everybody, but at anytime we can connect to anyone we want," she told a TED lecture recently. "People aren't taking time for mental reflection anymore, ...they aren't slowing down and stopping, I'm really worried that, especially kids today, they're not going to be dealing with this down-time, that they have an instantaneous button-clicking culture, and that everything comes to them, and that they become very excited about it and very addicted to it." Scale that up to a future where our employees, customers etc. are as intimately connected to our social cyborg, and the potential for a whole new dimension to HR, CSR, Marketing and PR, becomes immediately obvious. The responsibility of the shipping social cyborg to support and monitor these new highly personal relationships will only increase. And whilst technology may be the solution to
so much in the future, this type of care and support is something no algorithm is going to handle any time soon. A comment we've heard time and again is that technology in itself does not provide competitive advantage, it's what you do with it that counts. For Patrik Olstad Berglund and the Xeneta founders the cloud was such an obvious choice it was hardly a decision, and it is the product they've created which counts. For those of us for whom digital isn't quite so embedded in our DNA the challenge is far greater. We must understand technology, and we must decide what to do with it, but that isn't the hard part. The hard part is understanding what the new generation will do with it. Because that's the real game-changer.
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None so deaf
As those who will not hear Far more ships than we realise could already talk to us, if we decide to listen.
n our launch issue we described a sentient ship of the future and made the point that, in virtually all respects, the technology necessary to make it a reality already existed. But whereas new materials like buckypaper may be many years away from forming the hull of a tanker, there are certain ships which are already far more sentient than many of us appreciate, and implementing the right technology now can enable us to listen to them. In a recent whitepaper “Bringing the industrial internet to the marine industry and ships into the cloud’, ESRG (Engineering Software Reliability Group) estimated that by connecting machines and using automated data analytics along with domain expertise to optimise operations and maintenance, potential annual value creation for individual ships could be as much as $1million. As an example of what that translates to in practice, take the container ship operating between the US and South America with a large refrigerated cargo requirement, and therefore
a correspondingly high and variable electrical load. Using the ESRG Ostia Edge product enabled the identification of the optimal auxiliary engine/generator combinations for each electrical load level, not from the manufacturers technical documentation, but from the actual performance of the generators on that specific ship. By operating the most efficient combination the vessel could save up to $100 per hour in fuel costs, equalling hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for that ship alone. Now whilst newer vessels will have the greatest potential value creation thanks to their existing sensors and technology infrastructure, they aren’t the whole picture. ESRG estimate that there are probably between 20,000 to 30,000 older vessels where the level of sensors and technology infrastructure aboard is sufficient that a system like Ostia Edge could be implemented. More important is the comparative size of the investment required compared to the substantial improvements to the bottom line it will deliver. But in a market where some sectors are strug-
gling to survive, can even that investment be justified? “Not everyone needs to make the same investments, not everyone needs to go and get the most expensive VSAT with unlimited bandwidth,” says Rob Bradenham, General Manager of ESRG. “There are various level of connectivity and different applications can deal with those differing levels of connectivity and cost structures.” Established at the turn of the millennium when the US Navy realised they were collecting a lot of data and not doing anything with it, ESRG’s original focus was on finding out whether that data could be used to enable better operational and maintenance decisions. Fourteen years later the company has expanded significantly supporting clients in a variety of marine sectors, but the primary focus hasn’t changed. “We see lots of different satellite providers, sensor providers, control systems manufacturers—that’s not our game. We take that data and then bring to bear the 25 million hours of machine monitoring experience we have in order
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to help turn that data into something more.” With differing market and, importantly, customer demands in different sectors, Bradenham believes that by definition these sectors will move at different speeds. But there will be a tipping point in each—the point at which the baseline as to what is acceptable in a ship that a charterer will take on, will move. In bulk carriers Bradenham is beginning to see it now, “They’re bringing new, fuelefficient ships on line because they realise there is little opportunity to be profitable at the bottom of the market, they want solutions in place that manage the vessel and the crew and ensure the efficiency they paid the shipyard for, they’re actually getting.” Such focus on efficiency is completely understandable when you’ve just taken delivery of an expensive new asset, but are the assertions made in the whitepaper about older vessels really valid? “Any customer who has high value assets which have high cost of downtime who are consuming large amounts of fuel, have a large value for using our solu-
“Potential annual value creation for individual ships could be as much as US$1 million.” tion,” says Bradenham. “Customers who have brand new or a few-year-old ships who have already invested in IT and in expensive, robust ship-shore communications are obviously well positioned. But actually we’ve found that there are also companies who haven’t made any of these investments, but who it seems have been waiting for the reason to do so. It’s like they’ve been almost waiting for the right app before they buy the iPhone.” The analytics and technology provider’s Ostia Edge platform has been on the market for around eighteen months now and enables operator, shore based and shipboard engineers, operations managers, freight directors, and other stakeholders, to leverage data, turning raw data into actionable information to prompt better decisions. With different sectors and stakeholders moving at different speeds Ostia
Edge has developed as a modular system to meet those demands. The app can currently function in a completely cloud environment, as either a hosted or private intra-cloud, or on ESRG’s own servers that customers can log on to and manage their data via. “We’re highly flexible, it is an app and we’ve invested a lot in open standards, so you could use us standalone and you can integrate us with engine management software or some fuel management solution that you’re using, or a variety of different things.” Having co-authored a whitepaper on the subject of the industrial internet and ships in the cloud, we were interested to know how Bradenham defined a ship in the cloud. The answer is that it’s not black and white. For ESRG a ship in the cloud is a ship that’s connected but the speed of the connection isn’t the central issue. “I think it’s more about
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Rob Bradenham, General Manager, ESRG the behaviours of the crew, the manager, charterer, which are enabled by some sort of data connection, and this central store of data that they can leverage to make better maintenance, fuel, environmental and a variety of other decisions. Getting all your data in the cloud isn’t going to create value, that’s just going to cost money, cloud by itself is not worth much, you have to work out how to convert that data into actionable information.” Working across so many different sectors, does ESRG see any patterns in the type of operators who end up as cus-
of sensoring that’s the problem, whether it’s the onboard integration that’s the issue, we try to flag those up.” In the instance of the twenty year old vessel the owner ended up investing approximately USD$100,000 in IT infrastructure and satcom equipment in order to enable the Ostia Edge system to be implemented, a process which generally takes only a matter of weeks from initial customer discussion with ESRG to an up-and-running system. But Bradenham says it’s less about what physical equipment an operator has these days, and more about mindset. “In the early adopter mindset, a switch gets flipped, people make a decision that they need to move in this direction,” he explains. “They say, ‘we have reached the end of the low-hanging fruit of productivity and efficiency improvement, if we’re going to get out ahead then we have to do something different’.” Even though it’s a tough market out there, it seems there are increasingly those who realise that doing what everyone else is doing isn’t going to separate them from the pack. According to Bradenham, “Some are saying, yes, okay, we may be making a bad investment but our alternative is to sit and continue at low or no profitability by doing what everyone else is doing.” When it comes to bad IT investment, that’s a spectre which hangs over shipping perhaps more than most, making
“Cloud by itself isn’t worth much, you have to work out how to convert that data into actionable information.” tomers? “I’m frequently very surprised. We recently did an installation on a twenty year old ship, where the operator, came to us, and said, ‘we want to do this, but we’re not sure if we can or not’.” ESRG’s approach is to undertake a gap analysis, asking what data and IT infrastructure is available, and then looking at what they’d ideally like to see onboard to create most value. “Then we sit down and have a discussion, and we say, here’s what you have today; here’s what value can be created from that, and if we owned your ship these are the investments we would look at. Now we can’t make those investments for them, but whether it’s the connection that’s the problem, whether it’s the level
the industry particularly cautious. That caution has led to the maritime industry lagging behind others in IT adoption by years. However, ESRG sees a potential benefit for shipping in learning at least one of the lessons of industries like commercial aviation and power generation. “When you look at the evolution of different industries over time, this question around who owns the data and how flexible and easy it is for other applications to leverage it, is a key one,” explains Bradenham. There are several distinct phases to this issue, from an initial common lightbulb moment where everyone realises that software means assets can be operated more efficiently and productively, to a
set of OEM’s clamming up and deciding the data is theirs. “This frustrates owners,” says Bradenham. The result is that owners who can get their data out create enough value to ensure that on their next RFP they require all data to be open and provided in an open standards format. Within a few years that methodology becomes the standard, and vendors who won’t play ball, suffer. For Bradenham it is in reducing the length of that cycle, that shipping has an opportunity. “That’s something we’ve been focussed on for 14 years,” he says, explaining ESRG’s work as part of MIMOSA, a non-profit, open standards operations & maintenance data organisation. “We are the smallest company in it, it’s IBM and Exxon and Chevron, companies with massive amounts of data, customers and assets. The purpose was to create a standard where people could make investments in the right type of infrastructure that would enable different kinds of apps to play.” It’s education of this type that Bradenham is still engaged in, encouraging operators to ensure that they’re installing equipment that has open standards, requiring their OEMs to open up data and, in short, ensuring that everything that’s put on board your ship— especially your new build— is going to play nice with each other. “You can require that a vendor do that during the new build process and they’ll do it for free or little cost, or you can go back and have to spend significant amounts of money with them later on to get them to change it. That’s something that a lot of owners are starting to grasp more.” Future-proofing is a dangerous word, but it comes down to this: even if you find an app that meets your requirements today, if you don’t believe that there’s a better application coming tomorrow, or a better version, or an additional integration, then you haven’t grasped the inevitable march of technology. "What owners need to appreciate is that they don’t necessarily need to be dependent upon just one solution, but as long as interoperability is built in, they’ll have the flexibility to adapt relatively cost-effectively to whatever the future holds, rather than having to go back to a vendor who doesn’t want to support them and is going to make life difficult.”
Image credit: ESRG
The Ostia Edge system from ESRG has been on the market around 18 months: those with new ships and IT investment are customers, but so are many companies who haven't made those major investments. "It seems like they’ve been waiting for the reason to do so. It’s like they’ve been almost waiting for the right app before they buy the iPhone.” As companies like ESRG continue the ‘huge amount of education which still needs to be done,” around the interoperability issue, what does that mean for existing, comparatively small maritime providers who have made a business out of proprietary systems? “I think there are some small maritime companies that won’t adapt and suffer because of it,” but Bradenham is quick to point out that one of the interesting characteristics of the maritime market is its myriad of different segments with their own distinct requirements which will continue to have unique demands and challenges. “While broadband communications are helping, there are still inherent challenges doing business in maritime that don’t exist in a power plant which sits on land, doesn’t move, has continuous load, doesn’t go to different ports, doesn’t have different crew—these are challenges that have not been addressed by IBM, SAP or your traditional software power house companies.” But where broadband, and products like Ostia Edge are making a huge difference is in creating ‘visibility’. With a thousand sensors—which Bradenham tells us is a pretty conservative number for a new container ship these days— each generating 86,000 data points a day, across a month you’re looking at around 3 billion data points. “You’re quickly past manipulating and interrogating that data in any kind of manual tool. No one would ever get through it. Then you’d end up coming back to the ship eight weeks later saying ‘hey, we see there’s a problem with the
engine’, and they say, ‘that’s great, we had a failure six weeks ago while you’ve been analysing it.” Similarly, it seems that apparently simple stuff, which never gets to the top of the list can potentially mask some huge problems down the road. “Often it’s minor things which the Chief Engineer knows is a potential issue, but hasn’t been able to get the approval from the Tech Superintendent for the parts or whatever, simple stuff but when you create visibility and the Tech Superintendent can actually see that data for himself, it drives real improvement.” The same goes for troubleshooting, having the same source of truth dataset as opposed to twenty-four emails back and forth makes it far easier to identify the root cause and adjust operating procedure to remedy it. Another major issue Bradenham identifies is the increasing challenge ship operators are facing in finding great engineers, who actually want to go to sea. “Part of the value of cloud-type apps is that you don’t need to have the most experienced engineer who knows everything, on board every ship, you can have a few of those people sitting centrally.” Bradenham says they might be working for the OEM, the ship owner, or a third party, but wherever they are that person can help augment the Chief Engineer both from a capacity and skillset perspective, whilst software automatically reviews data and flags things when necessary. But with the increasing complexity of systems on board is it realistic to ask engineers to have a working knowledge of them? According to
Bradenham it’s in the interfaces between the systems where the complexities lie. As vendors move more towards open standards like modbus and OPC, the skillsets needed will change. “It’s almost the equivalent then of setting up your own home network, it isn’t something everyone can do, but more and more people can plug and play, and the software is becoming more user-orientated. For example, the onboard training we do for our crews is about an hour, which usually covers everything needed by the onboard crew.” And as Bradenham also points out, unless you completely lose all connectivity, someone can always ‘remote-in’. As long as the crew have the basic knowledge they need to maintain the connection and the basic interfaces, the cloud enables people to even help with that infrastructure remotely. With analysts increasingly flagging up the ‘application Platform as a service’ (aPaaS) space as a potentially lucrative one in vertical markets, ESRG are probably one of several current maritime providers who have a very good shot at occupying it. It’s clear the company is ambitious, but highly focussed, and deep domain knowledge is seen as key. “Right now, for a big maritime shipping asset fuel is 50-80% of cost, so that’s one area we can help, but also, no one wants a multimillion dollar environmental compliance fine. Owners say, ‘if I could just monitor my oily-water separator from shore that would start to mitigate the risk of that type of thing happening’. Also we foresee that at some point
regulatory authorities will decide that paper logs are no longer sufficient, they’ll want electronic logs, so we can also help people to get ahead of that.” With the landscape changing so fast, offering predictions for the future is a mug’s game, and Bradenham avoids that trap. Focussing instead on what he’d like to see, he offers us three things on his wish list. “Number one, maybe 100% adoption of open standards communications between different pieces of equipment; secondly I’d like to see customers better understand the actual security issues, and appreciate that we have accepted protocols to deal with them.” Bradenham’s third wish focusses on data and its value. “Our big message is the value of this data. If you want proof then the US Navy brought in a lot of independent consultants who demonstrated they were getting huge value out of it, but in five year’s time I’d love to see that it isn’t even a discussion point, that it’s just accepted.” But for that to happen, there’s a new skillset needed within Bradenham’s customer base, and that’s the data analysts, or as we call them, the shipisticians. “It’s not necessarily full-blown data scientists, because for most operators it doesn’t make sense to have that level of capability in-house, but good data analysts are going to be essential as part of an organisation that can turn data into information.” Bradenham acknowledges that a significant part of his work with potential customers lies in educating and consulting, and as a former McKinsey man, one suspects he’s probably pretty good at it. For those ship operators who have already invested in new ships bristling with sensors and big pipes, the likelihood is that Ostia Edge, or another similar product will be a logical investment, and no doubt they’ll be a nice, simple sale. But listening to Bradenham, what’s really striking to us, is just how significantly his technology could close the gap for those operators who don’t have the big dollars, but who also have no idea how comparatively small an investment it might take to make their ships a lot more talkative. If they just decide to start listening to them.
High throughput satellites are a key facilitator of shipping’s technologyenabled future, delivering the capacity ship operators need to capitalise upon trends like Big Data, M2M and new business and service models. But what does that mean in practice? Exactly what are these new systems? How are they being approached and specified and where are the key opportunities to use them to unlock immediate value? As part of the Futurenautics 2014 Roundtable series we’re bringing together the most senior of Ship Operators, stakeholders, financiers and crew in the maritime city of Hamburg where we’ll pull the subject of HTS apart and put it back together.
Generously sponsored by SingTel, a key player in the HTS space, this roundtable is by invitation-only, as is the small audience.
If you would like to take part in either call the panel moderator Futurenautics Publisher Roger Adamson, or send an email to register your interest now to email@example.com Members of the Futurenautics Executive Panel will automatically receive an invitation to this event.
Join us in the city of Hamburg for the Futurenautics HTS Roundtable
A matter of life or death? Or something more serious? There are new players, and a different kind of competition. And that's just in the maritime training market. Will it drive the kind of innovation shipping wants?
he legendary British football manager Bill Shankly once said, "Football's not a matter of life or death...it's far more serious than that." Agree with him or not, the ability of competitive games to engage human beings in profound ways is unarguable, and that extends to virtual environments too. In the launch issue of Futurenautics our article on Knowledge Gamification suggested that the combination of a new, tech-savvy generation, increases in computational power and new understanding of how to most efficiently engage and transfer learning—together with the key importance training plays in maritime and shipping—meant there was a clear opportunity for training providers. So why, we asked, weren't they capitalising? As if to prove we had the zeitgeist, within days we saw the first mention of the phrase 'serious game' in the maritime press. An extension to an existing set of training materials, 'Entry into Enclosed Spaces' is a serious game from Mines Rescue and Videotel which puts the
trainee into a realistic scenario and requires them to apply their knowledge in specific and time-limited situations. The trainee, or in this case the player, is asked to identify a problem with a ballast valve on a bulk carrier, which requires an urgent fix. Before moving into the enclosed space the player must conduct all relevant safety checks and ensure equipment is adequately prepared. Once inside, the player is exposed to different atmospheres as they move between sections, any of which could contain a toxic atmosphere. When one does, the player has to deal with the situation. In the maritime training business since 1973, and now a leading producer of maritime multi-media safety training software and web-based e-learning, Videotel would appear to have created shipping's first serious game. As such we were keen to discover more about both the game and its technology engine, the drivers behind its creation, and where Videotel intend to go next with serious gaming in maritime. "Although this is receiving a lot of attention now, Videotel has been
convinced for some time that serious gaming offers tremendous opportunities for engagement and retention of knowledge," says Nigel Cleave, CEO of Videotel. The fact that Videotel recruited Raal Harris—whose background in computer gaming included teaching an MSC in the subject at Westminster University—as their Digital & Multimedia Manager, would seem to underline this. But persuading customers has been more of a challenge. "Despite some resistance in the industry at first, it has definitely come around to the idea," Cleave explains. "They have seen that it does not diminish the seriousness of the subject if handled correctly." Cleave also confirms that the move into serious games is part of an overall response to the new challenges of the Millennial generation of seafarers, "Concentration spans are shorter and there is so much more media literally fighting for their attention." Hence the need to look at gaming technology with its obvious appeal to the younger generation, and also re-vamp Videotel's other collateral. Apparently new animations
Image credit © Unity
now have a more modern, quicker pace with a concentration on higher visual impact and more focussed direct messages, whilst interactive materials concentrate more on the use of 3D animation, explorable content and mini-simulations. From the success of games like Siemen's 'Plantville' to the increasing use of Augmented Reality (AR) in training and live situations—including by firefighters using Google Glass (watch the video on the Futurenautics website)—the trend is clear. According to Gartner, "AR technology has matured to a point where organizations can use it as an internal tool to complement and enhance business processes, workflows and employee training." And that's perhaps the most significant part about it: technology like AR and serious gaming are providing organisations with opportunities to leverage a single platform to deliver a wide range of cross-business objectives. Siemens' 'Plantville' may be a serious game, but it's delivering against far more than just a training metric, impacting HR, recruitment, retention, marketing and PR.
Taking that as a blueprint, Videotel could now have first-mover advantage in a brand new space. Having already utilised the cloud for record keeping, could this signal the development of a maritime game-engine platform, cloud-based and ready for integration with other corporate applications? "Naturally, we have a number of exciting ideas ahead – watch this space!", is all that Cleave will say. On the subject of the game engine and technology platform upon which the game is built, we're told only that the information is proprietary. With so little to go on it's impossible to gauge whether this first serious game really is part of an overall repositioning ahead of the curve, or whether the company has fully realised the potential of what they have.
The clue perhaps is in Videotel's attitude to the serious game in the context of the product range. "This is not about whether it out performs other products we have. It is designed to complement our other products as part of a blended approach," Cleave explains. "We have videos and courses that will provide the under-pinning knowledge required. The game then allows the learner to apply that knowledge. In other words, one supports the other." The fact that 'Entry' isn't designed to be a standalone product probably explains why—by the accepted definition—it doesn't quite meet all the criteria of a serious game. Gamification takes attributes such as fun, play, transparency, design and competition, and applies them to a range of real world processes. 'Entry'
Posidonia 2-6 June 2014
Metropolitan Expo, Athens Greece
it's a great deal The International Shipping Exhibition
Organisers: Posidonia Exhibitions SA, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 50
January www.posidonia-events.com 2014
doesn't appear to have any competitive element, and the closed platform presupposes that even if it does, the sharing of progress, badges etc. to external social sites such as LinkedIn or Facebookâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and the growth of a community around the gameâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is not available. So it would appear then that, at least for now, Videotel aren't planning revolution. But listening to their customers one can't help feeling perhaps they should. At a recent high-level ship operator forum run by SingTel (register with us to receive the forthcoming whitepaper) senior operators made clear that they considered market leaders as training for 'compliance' rather than 'competency'. The sense is that ship operators want new and better methods of training and delivery, which offer both, and they are looking to technology to deliver them. The astonishing success of Deloitte's Leadership Academy, a serious game used by more than 20,000 executives since 2008, offers a clear vision of the potential for a real serious game in shipping. Ship operators in Singapore were united on the difference which coaching and face-to-face mentoring can make for staff, but using Skype to do so threw up major bandwidth problems. Another operator described starting an online forum for engineers or Masters facing problems in which they can post their questions and have others online who may have encountered the same problem offer the benefit of their experience and solutions. Considering that Inmarsat's new HTS system Global Xpress, promising bandwidth of up to 50Mbps is just around the corner, and Microsoft are already working on a satellite-ready version of Skype to run over it (which will also likely be compatible with FleetBroadband systems), the technology needed to give maritime training's customers what they want is as good as here. But are maritime training providers prepared to deliver it? Asked how things will look in maritime training in five years' time Videotel's Cleave foresees little impact. "For sure, there will new challenges as legislation such as that brought in by Ballast Water takes effect. New bridge technology will also bring new training needs. Fundamentally, however, the challenges will remain the same."
Image credit ÂŠ Unity
Game engine Unity: an obvious contender for shipping's serious games
On current evidence though, there appears a strong possibility that they won't. Between increased connectivity and the move to the cloud, ship operators will increasingly be looking for highly relevant applications which will integrate seamlessly with their other business operations, allowing them to collect and report data across a wide variety of disciplines. For existing maritime suppliers with deep domain expertise, this offers great opportunities, as described earlier, but also significant threats. As improved connectivity opens up the market other suppliers and start-ups leveraging the cost efficiencies and scalability the cloud offers will be a real choice for current training customers like ship operators. Take Unity for example. Unity is a fully integrated development engine that provides rich, out-of-the-box functionality to create serious games and other interactive content. With 400,000 monthly active developers and nearly 2 million registered developers, Unity claims such customers as Cartoon Network, CocaCola, Disney, Electronic Arts, LEGO, Microsoft, NASA, Ubisoft, the US Army, and Warner Bros. Already used to create serious games across industries as diverse as healthcare and the military, the resulting content can be published to platforms including Mac, PC and Linux desktop computers, Windows Store, the web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Blackberry, Wii, PS3 and Xbox360. Cloud-based, constantly evolving and with a free entry level product, Unity is
an obvious contender for any shipping or maritime business looking for a platform upon which to base their fledgling serious game. For those large, tier 1 companies who already have so much in-house training infrastructure, the potential development time of a serious game based on such a flexible platform would be significantly reduced. But it isn't just their customers bypassing them which maritime training providers have to consider. Using Unity as a platform any new start-up with reasonable knowledge of shipping/maritime requirements could quickly produce a robust, flexible and accessible serious gaming product. And if ship operators are so clear about the distinction between training for compliance and training for competency, it would appear that there is a product gap there which a technologyfocussed training company might seek to fill. Already there are new faces appearing. Exhibiting at last November's Europort were Twnkls. Based in the shipping city of Rotterdam they describe themselves as a full-service AR agency that focuses on the creation, development, production and implementation of mobile AR applications. Clients span the cultural, retail, edutainment, marketing & branding, construction & industry sectors. With a team of twelve experienced specialists their high-end Augmented Reality solutions for maintenance and repair provide information and 3D interactive virtual instructions to real machine parts, and use innovative and sophis-
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ticated technology such as 3D image recognition. The company has used the Unity engine in previous projects and are already developing rich applications for mobile and tablets and wearable devices such as META Augmented Reality Glasses, Google Glass and the Oculus Rift. Their solutions for 'Safety and Familiarisation', can be used for training and educational purposes. And they have their sights firmly fixed on maritime. "Augmented Reality as technology is maturing fast, which makes it possible to create solutions to improve businesses and solve business problems. We see a lot of possibilities for these AR Enterprise Solutions for the Maritime Industry, which can be applied to educational and training purposes for maintenance and safety," says Twnkls CTO Lex van der Sluijs. "AR can truly help in familiarization with a ship in a whole new and effective way.” Videotel cite the advances in technology and its affordability as key ingredients in the appearance of shipping's first serious game. It seems clear that this, and the expectations and attitudes of the Millennial generation, are likely to diversify and intensify the challenges they face. How do Videotel approach them? "We have always tried to make our training titles as engaging and interactive as possible and, as such, we feel we are far better placed to meet these expec-
Nigel Cleave, CEO, Videotel tations than some of our competitors," Cleave tells us. "That said we must never be complacent and are always looking at new and innovative ways to present training. In other words, competition is an innovations driver for us." It seems likely that there will be no shortage of competition, and not necessarily the kind that maritime training providers are used to. Between tier 1 operators creating their own games, and technology-centric, open-platform disruptive training start-ups, things could get serious for the incumbents. To paraphrase Bill Shankly, these won't just be games. They'll be a matter of life or death.
Game-changing: Videotel's 'Entry' and maritime AR training from Rotterdam-based TWNKLS
Images credits © Videotel, Twnkls
e’ve had a bit of a debate here as to what qualifies for the gadgets page. The consensus is that the criteria should be anything which is not just an idea, but has a prototype, although it doesn’t have to be available to buy today. This way we get to include some interesting stuff which is looking for crowdfunding, together with the more mainstream consumer tech releases. If you’ve found something we’ve missed then please do drop us a line. Also, if you decide to take the plunge and actually buy any of this, we’d also be very keen to hear from you and get your views on what you think of it. A real mixed bag this quarter, from virus-sensing smartphones to frankly fabulous mini-drones (check out the accompanying video on the Futurenautics website), with a healthy dose of wearable tech thrown in for good measure. But first—just to prove we never stick to the rules—how about something which isn’t looking for funding, isn’t a prototype and you can’t buy? You can make it though, and my, how cool it would look in your lobby.
Gadgets the 'social-media cloud'
It's raining Twitter in the lobby. This data-driven light sculpture which they've dubbed the The Listening Cloud has been dreamt up and put in the lobby of advertising agency RPA in Santa Monica, California. The cloud visualises social-media conversations about the agency's clients in real time, and then 'storms' with different multi-coloured lighting corresponding to the various channels. Red lightning is for Facebook likes, purple is for Instagram mentions, and blue is for Twitter. When there's no social media chatter, it glows white. "We wanted to build something that could show what's happening in the social-media 'cloud' in real-time, not as data or a visualization on a screen, but as a fun, sensory, physical thing," says Perrin Anderson, creative director at RPA. "Custom software pulls in real-time data from the
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram public APIs, then sends commands through a wireless bridge to LEDs inside the cloud, visualizing the data through different light colors and behaviors," says the agency. "It uses the Phillips Hue lighting system and its RESTful API, which allowed software to be coded using Node.js to communicate with the lighting controller. A Webinterface on a nearby monitor lets viewers choose what they'd like the cloud to 'listen to' and also displays a raw, real-time feed of the data it's processing." As far as we know there are no plans to produce or market this as a product, but if you want one in your lobby then there are a selection of YouTube videos demonstrating exactly how to make one, and we've very helpfully put them on the Futurenautics site for you, in honour of our cloud issue.
The weather in the lobby is purple. Agency RPA’s social chatter cloud can be replicated for your office.
Image credit © rpa
Virus-sensing smartphone: an extremely useful addition to any sick-bay.
Virus-sensing smartphone Image credit © Entrepreneur.com
n electrical engineering professor at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been focussing for some time on how smartphones can be used for medical diagnostics. Aydogan Ozcan and his team at
the school’s Ozcan Research Group used another version of a smartphone-powered microscope to test for blood-borne microbial ailments like malaria. Now Ozcan has used a smartphone-powered microscope USB plug-in to detect human cytomegalovirus particles. Human
cytomegalovirus particles can cause birth defects like deafness and brain damage, among other health complications. Ozcan designed and 3-D printed the microscope USB plug-in. It contains a colour filter, an external lens and a laser diode, which essentially illuminates fluids or solids at an angle, producing a fluorescent image of the sample being looked at. Publishing his findings in the American Chemical Society’s journal ACS Nano, Ozcan laid out the potential applications of this technology. “This cellphone-based imaging platform could be used for specific and sensitive detection of sub-wavelength objects, including bacteria and viruses and therefore could enable the practice of nanotechnology and biomedical testing in field settings and even in remote and resource-limited environments,” he said. One can imagine that this would be an extremely useful addition to any sickbay, as opposed to much larger and far more expensive machines which do the same job.
Images credit © Parrot
The award-winning Parrot MiniDrone connects to a smartphone or a tablet with Bluetooth Smart (Low Energy), offering flight stability worthy of professional drones. Thanks to its numerous sensors and its autopilot capabilities, it flies at high speeds and can perform highprecision acrobatics. By attaching the wheels it can climb along a wall or, amazingly, move across the ceiling before taking off again into mid-air. It’s stablemate, the Parrot Jumping Sumo is half robot, half insect, can roll, turn 90 degrees with speed and astonishing precision, and also perform spectacular jumps always landing on its wheels. You have to see the video of them in action on the Futurenautics website. And if after that you can honestly say you don’t want one, then frankly, there’s something wrong with you.
Parrot MiniDrone & Jumping Sumo
LG Lifeband & Heart Rate Earphones
The Lifeband Touch from LG is an indication that fitness-tech is beginning to evolve. The Lifeband incorporates phone notifications and even two-way phone controls, an idea that most fitness bands have yet to explore. Sleek and unobtrusive it’s LGs first entry into wearable tech, works with both iOS and Android and is an accelerometer-based fitness tracker with altimeter. The band doesn’t yet track sleep, although technically it has all the components to do so, but it does connect with external heart rate monitors, including LG’s own Heart Rate Earphones.
The earphones have a sensor (“PerformTek”) in each earbud, making continuous contact and sending heart rate and oxygen consumption data via Bluetooth, and they have an attached module with a clip. It’s possible that marginally-smarter wearable fitness devices could be the bridge between smartwatches and fitness bands, and it seems LG is hedging its bets. The Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones don’t have prices yet, but they’re targeted for release in the first half of this year, starting in the US and then moving worldwide.
If the smart watches don’t interest you, then how about the Smarty Ring? Sleek enough not to be the equivalent of a large neon ‘geek’ sign, the ring is made from allergy-free, surgical quality stainless steel, is waterproof, and features an LED screen that tells you the time and Bluetooth 4.0 technology that pairs with your iOS or Android phone and actually accepts calls. Though the ring itself doesn’t have speakers or a microphone, the remote control functions of the ring allow you to accept or reject incoming calls, make outgoing calls to preset numbers, take a photo with your phone’s camera, control your music, or change your profile. And the clock function can remember up to five different time zones, in addition to providing a stopwatch and countdown timer. It should retail for around USD275.00 when it launches in April 2014.
The Buccaneer 3D Printer For some time commentators have predicted that 3D printing will truly take off when 3D printers are available for sub-$500. Enter Pirate3D which has opened preorders of the Buccaneer 3D printer, priced at US$497. The printer which will be shipped in April 2014 was funded by a crowdfunding campaign which launched on Kickstarter last year, raising $1.4million from 3,520 backers. The goal of $100,000 was reached in less than 10 minutes. Encased in a rigid two-piece poly-
carbonate frame, the Buccaneer sports a minimalist design with no buttons and only a discreet light indicator. The 3D printer can be operated wirelessly from a user’s computer, smartphone, or tablet. Pirate3D say they produce all critical parts of their printer, including high-precision mechanics, in Singaporean facilities using automated computer numerical control (CNC) systems. The extreme precision means that users will no longer have to calibrate the Buccaneer before use. The proximity of the manufacturing facilities to the company’s R&D lab al-
lows it to continuously improve the Buccaneer, as the product development team can receive and examine up to three prototypes per week. “Our team has put a lot of engineering prowess into the Buccaneer to ensure its reliability and ease of use. Precision of all its mechanisms is simply impeccable. We couldn’t be more excited about bringing The Buccaneer to the market,” says CEO Roger Chang. Expect to see the Buccaneer on Amazon US shortly.
The Buccaneer is available for pre-order for $497, and will ship in April this year. Image credit © Pirate3D
...and finally the inFORM We may have had a glimpse of what touchscreens are going to evolve into. The MIT Media Lab and Tangible Media Group believes that the future of computing is tactile. The inFORM is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to not only interact with digital content, but even hold hands with a person hundreds of miles away The technology behind the inFORM is similar to a pinscreen which creates a rough 3D model of an object by pressing it into a bed of flattened pins. With inFORM, each of those "pins" is connected to a motor controlled by a computer, which can not only move the pins to render digital content physically, but can also register real-life objects interacting with its surface thanks to the sensors of a hacked Microsoft Kinect. Basically the inFORM is a self-aware computer monitor that doesn't just display light, but shape as well. It could allow people on Skype to play catch, or to physically manipulate digital objects, like a 3D model. The designers who are working on this project predict that this technology will form part of the UIs of tomorrow - tomorrow being probably 5-10 years away. The maritime potential is fascinating let's hope someone starts thinking about it now. See it in action on the Futurenautics website. Images credit ÂŠ Tangible Media Group
WOW! Moments It's fast becoming the toughest question in shipping. Speaking to so many different people as we put together this cloud issue (and we thank them again) we asked them to tell us about the last piece of technology, be that personal, consumer, professional, or industrial, they saw that made our interviewees say 'Wow'. Here's what they said. And when you're put on the spot, it's harder than you think...
Graphene, Nanocomputers and Augmented Reality (http://augmentedev.com/)
Patrik Olstad Berglund - Xeneta
I'm not sure it's 'wow', but I'm always kind of amazed by Twitter. The speed of information it provides has really changed the way news gets disseminated across the world. There are a lot of ways you can adapt what Twitter does, the concept of short bursts of communication instantaneously. I think it could have a lot of applications for the maritime industry.
Sean Riley - Veson Nautical
There are many! To name only one, I would say identity management. Cloud is multiplying our interfaces with IT systems. Every day we are logging in, logging off hundreds of times. My personal belief is that Single Sign On solutions are one of the keys for Cloud adoption. Orange has a great solution named Flexible Identity that is tackling this question.
Sylvain Quief - Orange
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3D printing of human organs. For me, this is WOW!
Filip Vanheer - Orange 58
out 29 April 2014