As more and more companies within the maritime industry are beginning to embrace digitalisation, the conversation is increasingly being monopolised by the subject of ‘smart’ shipping.
A common tendency is to equate the term with the advent of autonomous or unmanned vessels, controlled respectively from an onboard computer and shore-based control centres. However, while the first such ships look set to become a reality sooner rather than later, firms in the vanguard of this profound digital revolution are already applying the data-centric principles of smart shipping right across their operational and business structures.
For example, maritime blockchain technology can enable securely encrypted, paperless transactions and contractual exchanges to be enacted between clients including ship owners, cargo buyers and port authorities, with a faster processing time and a greater degree of accuracy than would previously have been possible.
In the sphere of fleet management, meanwhile, leveraging ‘big data’ sets via sophisticated analytics can engender real value in fleet and fuel optimisation – with positive long-term effects upon carbon emission reduction and ocean sustainability – as well as providing invaluable assistance in the planning of preventative maintenance schedules.
Naturally, the successful implementation of intelligent operations of this nature is wholly dependent on a powerful and reliable communications link: ideally, fully integrated services from a single supplier that can guarantee ‘always on’ connectivity. Cobham SATCOM, with SAILOR and Sea Tel satellite technology as a flexible platform provides just such a link; to all global satellite networks.
With the comprehensive data and failsafe connectivity attainable from innovative and field-proven antenna solutions, operations ranging from remote vessel diagnostics to video conferencing and the running of information management systems and digital platforms are easily achievable, improving working practices and bringing about substantial cost savings.
Despite already achieving optimal radio performance for a faster, more stable link, we continue to develop our antenna technology to introduce more software-controlled functionality and new, compact and lightweight form factors that bring maritime broadband to more vessels looking to leverage smart operations for efficiency and sustainability.