Shipping is increasingly adopting internet of things (IoT) as business leaders realise how easy it has become to digitally connect their vessels
New technologies and solutions are being deployed, creating investment opportunities in the sector, said KVH senior director of IoT business development Sven Brooks.
These include deploying spare parts by drones, adopting blockchain, using data analytics for vessel optimisation and introducing purpose-built maritime IoT connectivity services.
“The industry is changing dramatically to embrace IoT solutions for a prosperous future,” said Mr Brooks.
2020 saw a rapid acceleration of digital initiatives from all corners of the shipping industry and this trend will continue, either under the umbrella of business continuation or business optimisation. Remote surveys and support at sea are two examples of functionality that became particularly relevant during the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“They are important for the future of the digital ship, as maritime operators seek increased operating efficiencies by adopting a range of digital processes,” said Mr Brooks.
Vessels and fleets benefit from real-time insights when they are able to use deepsea sailing time to troubleshoot problems, but these insights and interventions are not possible without satellite connectivity. Unlocking available data sources on a vessel can translate to information that helps maritime companies optimise their operations.
By leveraging advanced satellite technology, maritime IoT and service companies can utilise real-time data feeds from vessels and help operators make improvements on every vessel in the fleet.
“It is exciting to see the possibilities for operational and cost benefits that IoT connectivity and related digital platforms can produce for maritime businesses,” said Mr Brooks. “Dedicated IoT enables shoreside experts the access to real-time data, which then allows everything from remote analytics and monitoring to actual video troubleshooting sessions at sea. Dedicated IoT connectivity is also a key to minimising cyber risks, a prime concern for regulatory reasons.”
Dedicated IoT satellite connectivity creates the potential to enable a secure operational technology (OT) data flow separate from the vessel’s IT data flow. Fleet operations are kept physically and digitally separate from the data flow going to shoreside experts. A dedicated IoT solution enables fleet managers to avoid the cyber risks associated with having OT and IT data flowing over the same antenna connection, a vulnerability identified in the IMO 2021 recommendations.
“We have heard about companies that are introducing policies to avoid vessel performance optimisation systems being connected to the primary satellite antenna, due to cyber security concerns,” said Mr Brooks. “A dedicated IoT connectivity solution overcomes this challenge.”
One of the strongest value points for maritime IoT is that it can provide cost and operational benefits to all parts of the maritime ecosystem, including equipment manufacturers, classification societies, service providers, shipyards, shipowners, regulatory authorities, fleet managers, charterers, and investors.
“The spectrum of maritime IoT adoption is on the rise and is poised to continue its upward trend as more and more maritime businesses move towards seeing the cost and performance benefits of true machine-to-machine IoT in real time,” said Mr Brooks.
KVH’s Sven Brooks will be on the expert panel of Riviera’s IoT solutions transforming the maritime industry webinar on Friday 5 March, during Riviera’s Vessel Optimisation Webinar Week, 3-5 March - use this link for more details and to register for these events