utes. Across a business’s financial year, however, collectively they add
up to many days in time lost.
To take one common example: it may only take a couple of connected temperature gauges to automatically alert someone on a reefer
to dangerous temperature changes. But having that information available immediately and in an actionable form means that an asymmetric
series of associated costs and problems are avoided. You also collect
your payback in the form of lower costs and reduced health and safety
risks as the operator doesn’t have to perform these tasks. It’s a win that
compounds itself by speeding up processes and liberating your staff to
perform other tasks.
Where to from here?
The acclaimed shipping economist Martin Stopford commented in
a speech to the Connecticut Maritime Association in 2016 that ‘smart
shipping’ “manages transport not ships.” He then listed three key elements, which he claimed would make the industry 30% more efficient
if implemented: automate and de-skill ship operations & navigation;
operate more safely and reliably through digitalization; and develop
new global transport systems (such as Amazon or Lyft).
It is notable that Stopford’s vision of a modernized ‘smart shipping’
sector relies heavily upon data. Reasoning from first principles therefore suggests we will require smart systems that rely on uninterrupted
connectivity, if ‘smart shipping’ is to be realized.
Research by Nautlius, the trade union representing more than
22,000 maritime professionals, suggests that mariners are increasingly
making employment choices based on the availability of Internet
access. But relieving isolation and increasing sailors’ ability to stay in
touch with friends and families back home is only a small part of the
upside. It’s more fundamental than that. Many young people consider
a career with little or limited access to the Internet an unattractive
option, and without high-speed throughput companies will be unable
to maximize the benefits that accrue from digitalizing their vessels. A
few years ago, this might have seemed farfetched. But in our view,
today this is very much achievable.
Advances in satellite communications are moving at a rapid pace.
Operators now have access to the suites of tools and solutions they
need to optimize their data management processes, and improve their
communication with crucial partners in their network, including
onshore management facilities.
The smart move
Applying an intelligent approach to data management and commu-
nication through partnering with a knowledgeable and innovative
satellite communications solutions provider will allow operators to
drive significant improvements in operational efficiency—without tak-
ing on the associated risks of cost, reliability, and downtime
Wherever devices can connect and communicate to automate a
process, you stand to lower your costs. Whenever you can capture the
information your devices are collecting and communicating, you
become better able to make quantifiable decisions. Once you integrate
predictive analytics, decision-making moves at the rate of your band-
width. Your managers need only pay attention to the exceptions.
Employing smart data management practices now, coupled with
efficient and comprehensive communications solutions will create the
space operators need to safeguard themselves against the developments of the future. MEJ
propeller performance data, maintenance and condition monitoring
data, and analytics from performance optimization software, to name
but a few. As technology advances and new innovations continue to
make onboard manual processes obsolete, the amount of data being
generated will only increase.
To apply this information effectively requires a willingness to take
a second look at traditional methods of operation. How often do you
have processes that require someone to stop by and inspect equipment
or check a meter? On many ships it’s just the way that things have
always been done. On its own, each action often takes only a few min-
“Advances in satellite communications are moving at a rapid pace,” says
Intellian’s Paul Comyns. “Operators now have access to the suites of tools
and solutions they need to optimize their data management processes,
and improve their communication with crucial partners in their network,
including onshore management facilities.”