SAFETY4SEA: Do you think there was a significant success and/or progress made with respect to smart shipping during 2016? Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry developments within 2016?
Nigel Cleave: Yes, I believe there has been significant progress with smart shipping during 2016 with vessel owners beginning to see the advantages of investing in good broadband connectivity between ship and shore to facilitate quick data exchange to help increase efficiency. The internet of things has meant the monitoring of equipment on board can be done in real time helping the more accurate planning of replacement parts and planned maintenance to prevent costly breakdowns. Better broadband connectivity via satellite links also means that vessels can access up to date navigational charts and minute by minute weather reports making route planning more efficient and cost effective
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that it will be the biggest smart shipping challenge(s) for the industry for the 2017?
N.C.: Cyber security is a huge challenge for the industry to address. Many ship owners and ship managers are finally waking up to the reality that they need to protect their networks at sea just as well as those ashore. Simple measures such as separating operationally critical networks from those used by crew when off-duty, is prudent and having individual passwords when logging onto the ship’s computer systems is vitally important. Crews also need to be educated to the dangers of bringing unlicensed material on board which could contain viruses that may infect a ship’s computer system if it is not sufficiently malware protected.
S4S: What would be the 2017 resolutions for your company/ organization? What are your goals and aspirations to assist industry towards its transition to a ‘smart era’? Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans for 2017 that you would like to share?
N.C.: Videotel and KVH’s 2017 resolution is to be the no.1 supplier of licensed content, training and broadband connectivity to the commercial maritime sector. Videotel provides the highest quality e-Learning training materials and management software; KVH Media supplies licensed TV, film, sport and country specific news; KVH Industries, produces in-motion satellite TV and communications systems. So combined, these three cornerstones of KVH provide a complete turnkey solution to vessel owners and operators.
S4S: What is your overall forecast for smart shipping in 2017 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?
N.C.: I believe the use of digital technology will continue to grow as owners and operators see the true value in using big data to analyse more efficiencies in operational systems and procedures along with the benefits of being able to keep crew happy with good training materials, entertainment and contact with family and friends. We are already seeing the advent of HTS (high throughput satellites) which will significantly increase data throughput capacity compared with conventional satellites, reducing the cost per bit to the end user. Autonomous ships are also being discussed although I believe the industry will stop short of completely unmanned vessels initially due to the security risks involved. Finally, digitization is here to stay and the industry needs to work together to find the right combination of smart technology and personnel to further improve supply chain processes and procedures.
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.