The Versatile Opportunities Rich Data Brings
19 May, 2017

Flag signals. Aldis lamps. Morse code. At one point these were all cutting-edge ways to communicate at sea. But no owner would seriously expect their crew to rely on them today.

Yet the persistence of unreliable marine satellite antennas means that for many seafarers they might as well be communicating with smoke signals. Swapping the man-hours spent undertaking physical inspections and repairs for implementation of the processes that drive operational improvements not only reduces costs, but frequently generate new sources of revenue too.

For more on the smart data reality and the changes that Intellian is driving, Paul Comyns, our vice president of global marketing, spoke to Marine Electronics & Communications.

Forward Thinking: Intellian’s Paul Comyns

by Martyn Wingrove

Forward Thinking: Intellian’s Paul Comyns

Paul Comyns: "Many of shipping’s greatest challenges can be solved by smart, quality data"

Intellian Technologies vice president of global marketing Paul Comyns thinks ships will be sending over much more data as they become part of smart supply chains. Ships will need to be fully connected, with tailored solutions, for smart data management.

“Smart data management will provide a significant commercial edge to forward-thinking operators who are looking to apply, and not simply accumulate, data,” Mr Comyns explained. He gave an example of a container ship approaching port, which would generate a series of event alerts to tug operators, port agents and customs.

“By the time the ship arrives at berth all the jigsaw pieces will slide into place, enabling seamless operations,” Mr Comyns said. He expects this will minimise the time ships remain outside ports, improving supply chain efficiency and reducing emissions. He thinks shipping companies will need to install smart connectivity solutions on ships to cater for the data transmission demands.

The types of data transmissions will vary, from importing weather and port information to sending telemetric data. Mr Comyns expects that sensor and position data will also be needed for traffic management systems. He added: “Data could make the difference between an interrupted voyage for time-sensitive cargo and the successful delivery of high value perishables.”

"Data could make the difference between an interrupted voyage for time-sensitive cargo and the successful delivery of high value perishables."

He continued: “The value of using data correctly is in prioritising the optimisation of transit times and looking to avoid unexpected repairs. It is helping not only to forecast potential problems, but also to create the opportunity to avoid them.” This is transforming conventional data into actionable insights that deliver meaningful improvements.

Whatever the data source or type, ships will need reliable and high capacity VSAT hardware to ensure that the data is available for analysis. There will be more data-driven connectivity requirements in the future to comply with new regulations from IMO and the European Union (EU). These will include sending data for the EU’s monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements.

“In the coming years the regulatory burden on ships is likely to increase,” said Mr Comyns. “Some are advanced initiatives and others remain at some distance from practical reality, such as collision avoidance algorithms for autonomous maritime vessels. All these will require dependable, high capacity data systems in order for ships to remain compliant with evolving laws.”

Mr Comyns thinks shipowners should forge partnerships with VSAT suppliers to ensure their fleets are ready for the data requirements. “Many of shipping’s greatest challenges can be solved by smart, quality data.” He concluded: “Enabling this type of step change in connectivity is what will ultimately usher in the next wave of maritime success.”


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