In­ter­net con­nected ships are taken for granted out­side the in­dus­try, but the re­al­ity is com­pletely op­po­site.

With the mar­itime in­dus­try plac­ing more em­pha­sis on data, get­ting it from ships to land has be­come a cru­cial, yet over­looked part of the process.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - CHEYENNE HOL­LIS

It starts with hav­ing ship­board In­ter­net, some­thing that was un­heard of as re­cently as 10 years ago. The role of ship­board In­ter­net is rapidly changing. Once dom­i­nated by a ship’s crew, it is now be­ing lever­aged as a busi­ness tool.

Mr Morten Lind-Olsen, CEO at Dua­log, a mar­itime digital plat­form, pre­dicts more com­pa­nies in the ship­ping in­dus­try will look to lever­age ship­board In­ter­net in the years to come.

“A ship’s crew was the main driver of on-board In­ter­net in the first place. To­day, In­ter­net on ships is more a busi­ness-driven tool,” Mr Lind-Olsen says. “Com­pa­nies now get the pri­or­ity of band­width. Firms have re­alised it can be lever­aged for im­proved busi­ness and ves­sel per­for­mance.”

The evo­lu­tion of In­ter­nete­quipped ships has been rel­a­tively slow when com­pared to other tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions. How­ever, more ships have be­come In­ter­net en­abled dur­ing the past decade. And while there is in­creased ship­board con­nec­tiv­ity these days, the na­ture of satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion means In­ter­net speeds re­main rel­a­tively slow com­pared to the land.

“If you go back 10 years ago, you would hardly find any In­ter­net aboard ships be­cause of band­width prob­lems. In­ter­net has slowly ar­rived since then, but it con­tin­ues to be lim­ited by band­width,” Mr Lind-Olsen ex­plains. “This isn’t go­ing to change at the same pace as it has on the shore side.”

Band­width growth is in­creas­ing at an ex­po­nen­tial rate, while growth at sea has been quite lin­ear over the past 15 years. Many peo­ple are not aware of this large dis­crep­ancy. With a ma­jor­ity of the world’s pop­u­la­tion on land, there hasn’t been a surge of in­vest­ment to im­prove band­width at sea. Mr LindOlsen points out that in­vest­ment in satel­lite tech­nol­ogy re­mains pre­dictable and will likely stay at the same lev­els in the com­ing years.

“Even if the gap be­tween In­ter­net speed at land and sea con­tin­ues to grow, there are cur­rently a lot of new ini­tia­tives that of­fer im­proved band­width at sea. To­day most ship­ping com­pa­nies can af­ford to have a rea­son­able In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity on board,” Mr Lind-Olsen notes.

How­ever, lim­ited band­width at sea isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the ob­sta­cle it ap­pears to be on the sur­face. Dua­log, amongst oth­ers, pro­vide a digital plat­form that is de­signed to op­er­ate in a lim­ited band­width en­vi­ron­ment to en­sure firms can get the data trans­fer they need.

“I don’t see lim­ited band­width as a con­straint,” Mr Lind-Olsen says. “At Dua­log, we have tech­nol­ogy that has been de­vel­oped over the years to op­er­ate with nar­row band­width. There are usu­ally mul­ti­ple ways of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, one nar­row and ex­pen­sive and the other broader and af­ford­able. The key is lever­ag­ing these to the best ef­fect.”

The data col­lec­tor Mar­itime firms are more fo­cused on In­ter­net of Things (IoT), sen­sors and data col­lec­tion now than they have been in the past. Ship own­ers want to take ad­van­tage of every­thing that can be done with data. But it means they have to be able to col­lect the in­for­ma­tion, an of­ten­times over­looks as­pect of the process.

“Dua­log can act as the data col­lec­tor. We are able to cover a miss­ing

link and this role is un­der­es­ti­mated quite a bit,” Mr Lind-Olsen ex­plains. “We also help en­sure ships bring only the data that needs to come ashore makes it there in or­der to max­i­mize band­width. And we do it in a se­cure en­vi­ron­ment be­cause se­cu­rity is quite im­por­tant as well.”

Data is the new oil was a say­ing that was re­peated through­out the Nor­way-Asia Busi­ness Sum­mit. The idea be­hind the thought be­ing com­pa­nies can now find value in data to im­prove their pro­cesses which ul­ti­mately pro­vide cost sav­ings. While only an anal­ogy, it is one Dua­log sees it­self fit­ting into.

“If data is the new oil, then Dua­log is the drill. You have to drill to get to the oil and this tech­nol­ogy is an im­por­tant part of the oil and gas in­dus­try. Sim­i­larly, a ship will have a large amount of data, but get­ting it from sea to shore can be a chal­lenge. Our plat­form al­lows firms to ac­cess the data in a sim­i­lar way a drill pro­vides ac­cess to oil wells,” Mr LindOlsen muses.

Of course, the com­par­i­son has its lim­i­ta­tions. For ex­am­ple, oil and gas in­dus­tries have reg­u­la­tions in place for drilling that dic­tate what com­pa­nies can and can’t do. This is still a work in progress when it comes to data.

“At the mo­ment, there is a com­plete lack of stan­dards, both tech­ni­cal and other mea­sures, in col­lect­ing data. There is a lot of room for im­prove­ment here,” Mr Lind-Olsen says. “The data it­self isn’t enough for most com­pa­nies. It needs to be an­a­lysed and put to­gether in a man­ner that can ben­e­fit the per­for­mance of the ship­ping in­dus­try.”

Dua­log has a clear phi­los­o­phy on work­ing with cus­tomers, most of whom are fo­cused on op­ti­mis­ing data col­lec­tion and shar­ing this in­for­ma­tion. The firm also un­der­stands the unique chal­lenges cur­rently fac­ing the mar­itime in­dus­try when it comes to data.

“Some data is com­mer­cial data you need to own, but the busi­ness as a whole is now look­ing at con­sol­i­da­tion. We want to cre­ate stan­dards for the data it­self, how it can be utilised and mak­ing it avail­able on the shore side in the best pos­si­ble man­ner,” Mr Lind-Olsen says. “We are not the anal­yser of the data and we will never do that. How­ever, we can help present it in a man­ner that makes it easy to an­a­lyse.”

Long-term strat­egy Dua­log’s ser­vice ex­tends be­yond band­width op­ti­mi­sa­tion and data col­lec­tion. They are just el­e­ments of IT ser­vices and tools that can help with ef­fi­cient ves­sel man­age­ment. Mr LindOlsen be­lieves IT in gen­eral is some­thing many com­pa­nies in the mar­itime in­dus­try don’t place enough em­pha­sis on.

“The ship­ping in­dus­try need a long-term strat­egy for IT that in­cludes the ships. This is not some­thing that can be done on a 12-month bud­get,” Mr LindOlsen says. “While you don’t nec­es­sary need a lot of IT com­pe­tence aboard the ships them­selves, they have to be in­volved in the strat­egy. Many com­pa­nies are fo­cus­ing on data, but not ev­ery­one un­der­stands the role an IT strat­egy plays. Data gen­er­a­tion, col­lec­tion and its abil­ity to be an­a­lysed are all con­nected to a broader pic­ture.”

Founded in 1994, Dua­log now has of­fices in Eng­land, Den­mark, and Singapore in ad­di­tion to Nor­way. Sim­i­lar to what the com­pany rec­om­mends to its clients, Dua­log has fo­cused on a longterm strat­egy in terms of global growth and ex­pan­sion. It has been sup­ported by other Nor­we­gian busi­nesses on its jour­ney.

“We don’t have the means of the big com­pa­nies, but we have had a lot of co­op­er­a­tion thanks to Team Nor­way. They re­ally de­serve a lot of credit,” Mr Lind-Olsen notes. “The Nor­we­gian com­mu­nity in both Singapore and Ja­pan have laid the ground­work for us to suc­ceed in Asia. It isn’t just talk. These en­ti­ties have con­trib­uted greatly to the busi­ness com­mu­nity.”

PHOTO: DUA­LOG

Above: Dua­log re­cently signed a strate­gic de­vel­op­ment agree­ment with Tokyo-based NYK line. Present at the sign­ing cer­e­mony were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Dua­log and NYK ac­com­pa­nied by Gov­ern­ment Of­fi­cials from Ja­pan and Nor­way, among them: Mr Morten Lind-Olsen, CEO of Dua­log and Mr Svein Steim­ler, Euro­pean Pres­i­dent and CEO NYK Group, while Nor­way’s State Sec­re­tary for Trade, In­dus­try and Fish­eries, Ms Dilek Ay­han and Mr Hiroshi Ta­bata, Ja­pan’s Vice Min­is­ter Trans­port, Tourism and In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs were look­ing on.

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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