NAPA, Danelec Marine, ClassNK, and Inmarsat debated the Internet of Things’ potential to reshape the maritime industry. The four parties noted that IoT has already benefited the shipping industry greatly. However, many are still lagging behind digitalization, with costs and lack of IoT skill being the main obstacles.
Speaking of these issues, Ilmo Kuutti, President of NAPA, said that AIS data is helping avoid some big challenges, such as rush-to-wait, increasing transparency of ship operation. He also mentioned that many are still cautious regarding data-sharing and transparency, however “attitudes are changing quickly as the benefits of data became more widespread.”
The parties agreed with that opinion saying that IoT obstacles do exist and they need to be overcome. Hans Ottosen, CEO of Danelec Marine, said that installing IoT is simple. Namely, he explained that for the basic IoT existing sensors will be used, and sometimes additional ones, such as a flowmeter. “But at the beginning it’s about connecting the pre-existing sensors, and that usually only takes about a day.”
In the same wavelength, Vikrant Sharma, Lead Business Strategist at ClassNK, mentioned that more and more connected ships are driven by lowering costs and capabilities to share more data, which may lead to more remote operations.
Nevertheless, Mark Warner, Head of Marketing Communications at Inmarsat, noted that the IoT environment is currently divided between the leaders and laggards in IoT implementation. In order to close this gap, Mr. Warner emphasized the importance of leadership, while Vikrant Sharma said that an open platform to access data from ships will further develop ship services.
As far as what are the reasons that are holding IoT development back at the moment, the pane said costs and the need for IoT skillsets to improve among onboard and shoreside users.
Specifically, Mr. Ottosen noted that cost is always an issue. Many companies are still traditionally minded, not looking to understand IoT’s benefits.
In addition, Ilmo Kuutti highlighted the importance of social skills. He mentioned that:
IoT will be a team effort between the captain, the charterer, the weather information provider, who will together create the best possible operations. Airline pilots are communicating throughout their voyages, and we need to encourage our ships’ crews to do the same.