he maritime industry is just beginning to scratch the surface of leveraging the disruptive power of the Internet of Things (IoT). Drones are being deployed by classification societies to conduct inspections, reduce cost and increase safety; fleet monitoring systems are being used to gain new operational insight and improve vessel performance and efficiency; and unmanned and remotely operated vessels are being used or tested for port security and point-to-point routes. So, you might ask, how “digital ready” is the maritime industry—which is notoriously slow to adapt new technologies? Companies such as Rolls-Royce and Wärtsilä are aggressively transforming themselves to support the maritime industry’s journey into the digital age by focusing on smart initiatives and technologies, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, block chain and cyber security. “Digital disruption is already affecting the energy and marine sectors and will do so increasingly in the future,” said Wärtsilä’s Chief Digital Office and Executive Vice President Marco Ryan. “We are building on decades of expertise in digital development and accelerating the pace at which we build new digital solutions, services and opportunities for our customers.” 18 Marine Log // August 2017
One of several initiatives underway at Rolls-Royce is the creation of an open source digital platform for use in the development of new ships. Working with The Norwegian University of Technology Science, SINTEF Ocean and DNV GL, Rolls-Royce plans to create a “digital twin” platform—a virtual model of the ship—that will allow any aspect of an asset to be explored through a digital interface, creating a virtual test bench to assess the safety and performance of a vessel and its systems, both before its construction and through its lifecycle. Asbjørn Skaro, Director Digital & Systems, Rolls-Royce – Marine said, “The platform will enable us to build digital twins of real ships, which in turn will form the basis for novel ways of designing, constructing, verifying and operating new maritime concepts and technology.”
How Ready is the Industry? A critical part of digitalization and automation will be reliable broadband services and networks. A study conducted earlier this year tried to assess the current state of satcom and IT services at shipping companies. Conducted by Lloyd’s List Intelligence and Ovum on behalf of satcom services companies Marlink in association with iDirect and Intelsat, the Maritime Industry at the Dawn of Digitalization study says that two-thirds
of those surveyed had standardized satellite communications and IT solutions and 81% of the companies had more than five staff members in ICT positions. However, only about 30% of the maritime companies interviewed believed that they were “well advanced” or “in progress” with their digital transformation strategies. The maritime industry is lagging behind companies in other industries, where about 60% of companies believe they are on the path to digital transformation. That’s based on data from Ovum’s annual ICT Enterprise Insights Survey of 7,000 CIOs. The Maritime Industry at the Dawn of Digitalization study also points out that the most common digital solutions that are already deployed on vessels are navigation/ECDIS, on-board wireless networks, standardized vessel IT-infrastructure and software and maintenance, monitoring, analytics, and remotemanagement solutions. Generally, VSAT is more common in shipping companies with larger fleets—80%, for example for fleets of 450 vessels or more. On the other hand, navigation/ECDIS is more common among the smaller shipping companies—ones with fewer than 20 vessels—that participated in the survey. . About half of the shipping companies surveyed rank new and better connectivity ship to shore as the most valuable technology.
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