“The Digital Acceleration Centre is all about getting business outcomes at pace. By adopting a start-up mind-set, we can rapidly prototype ideas with customers; including the use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chain and virtual reality,” says Wärtsilä’s Chief Digital Officer Marco Ryan.

The first Digital Acceleration Centre was launched in Helsinki, Finland; the second will open in December in Singapore and two further acceleration centres, one in Central Europe and one in North America, are anticipated during 2018. 

Wärtsilä’s first Digital Acceleration Centre in Helsinki has already been running as a beta version for a couple of months and several projects have been accelerated there with different partners. Current projects include for example co-creation with one of the major cruise companies and one highlight so far in the Helsinki DAC is Wärtsilä’s Intelligent Vessel Strategy.

“The Digital Acceleration Centre shows its true power in such complex concepts like Intelligent Vessels. In a matter of weeks we created an aligned strategy, concepts, roadmaps, and technology requirements that would have taken months or years. Each concept can be cut into smaller projects which are incubated and developed into Minimal Viable Products (MVP) far quicker than ever before. Even if occasionally an idea fails in the incubation phase, we see that as a learning opportunity and a valuable insight into building a better solution,” Marco Ryan says.

Wärtsilä has also partnered up with Accenture Interactive in the Digital Acceleration Centres to speed up innovation and go-to-market.

The latest example of the Intelligent Vessel strategy being driven at pace is Wärtsilä’s acquisition of Guidance Marine Limited, a technology company for sensor solutions relating to dynamic positioning and other vessel control systems. Further examples include the successful remote control navigation test in August carried out together with Gulfmark Offshore.