SAFETY4SEA: Your organization has been shortlisted for the 2018 SMART4SEA Awards in the ‘Technology’ category alongside a number of other distinguished nominees. What would you like to share with industry’s stakeholders with respect to this development?
Alberto Perez: Inmarsat has been an industry leader for forty years, improving the life of those at sea by keeping them connected to the shore. Due to our ubiquitous presence in the maritime industry as leading provider of mobile satellite communication services, we have been playing an instrumental role enabling the Internet of Things on board the ships, where we have observed a strong demand from the industry to bridge the gap between the data generated on board a ship, and making it available to be used in a seamless and cost effective way. Therefore, our motivation since the beginning has been double, on one hand to help the ship operators to access to their data, and on the other, to act as a catalyst to the industry facilitating the adoption of digital solutions.
S4S: What is the key feedback from your existing & prospective clients on the barriers and drivers towards investing into your technology?
A.P: We recently conducted a survey on IoT adoption in Maritime as part of our Inmarsat Research Program. It came to our attention that 100% of owners questioned saw themselves using IoT for fuel monitoring by 2023, however 51% of them identified getting data off the ship as biggest obstacle for IoT adoption. Once the gap was clearly identified, and we started to look deeper into it, we realized that the majority of current solutions required significant CAPEX investment, which were too often higher than what the average ship operator can afford in the current market. In addition, none of those solutions considered the connectivity piece and relied on the ship’s primary internet connection, which, according to some of the ship operators, was not only limiting the features of their primary connection, but also generating a significant hidden cost. So with that in mind, we have developed Fleet Data, an end-to-end service where data is collected on board the ship and sent ashore through an independent secondary connection, without interfering with the ships primary connectivity. Fleet Data relies on state-of-the-art and maintenance free hardware, it is agnostic – can virtually connect to any sensor – and gives full transparency on bills as connectivity costs are included in the service.
S4S: Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that you would like to share with the rest of the industry?
A.P: We see ourselves as a catalyst for maritime digitalization and we aim to become the platform of choice for connecting ship operators and the data-driven digital services industry. To shape it, we are currently in discussion with numerous stakeholders showing their interest in joining this ecosystem. Exciting times are coming, so all I can say stay tuned!
S4S: If you could change one thing about the shipping industry, what would it be and why?
A.P: The complexity of maritime business relations and dependencies, where for instance fuel is often not paid for by the ship-owner, sometimes translates to the lack of incentives for the adoption of greener technologies, as the actor bearing the investment is not the one reaping the benefits. Times are changing though, and the industry is realizing the importance of continuous improvement, and the transparency that can be brought by digital technologies will play a key role here.
S4S: What is your key message to the industry for enhancing safety onboard and ashore in the smart era?
A.P: Safety is in our DNA – we were set up in 1979 to provide reliable satellite safety communications. Today, some 1.6 million seafarers depend on us for a communications lifeline that is reliable and unaffected by bad weather. In May this year, Fleet Safety, our next generation satellite safety service received formal Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) recognition by the IMO, marking the most significant advance in maritime safety for a generation.
You may cast your vote for Inmarsat Maritime at 2019 SMART4SEA Awards dedicated webpage till 21st of December 2018!
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
About Alberto Perez
Alberto Perez is Director of Business Development within Inmarsat Maritime, looking after new business ideas and partnerships. Prior to joining Inmarsat, he worked for 11 years in ABB Marine, holding different global positions of responsibility in Sales, Business Development and Product Management, helping ship owners and ship operators to gain efficiencies and reduce emissions by using a combination of cutting edge technologies, and a sensible use of data. He is also an active contributor in terms of shipping regulation, having been a member of European Commission Working Group on Shipping Emissions reduction. He holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and an MBA from IE Business School in Madrid. On a personal note, he is originally from Spain but lives with his wife and two children in the French speaking part of Switzerland, where they enjoy hiking and skiing in the Alps.