Maritime CIO Forum Tokyo
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Maritime CIO Forum aims helping shipping companies learn new ways to operate their vessels better with digital technology, in pursuit of safety and efficiency.
SAFETY – Digital tools can support safety and can also detract from it – and sometimes a promising technology does the opposite when it gets used. Although electronic charts were widely dismissed by many, and now broadly accepted as offering big safety advantages.
Shipping companies are keen to get better monitoring of their vessels, in some cases going as far as to monitor the mood, alertness or mindset of individual crew members. Will crew members accept these technologies can also benefit them, or see it as an invasion of privacy?
And of course, cybersecurity concerns are not going away. Digital technology brought cybersecurity concerns into the picture. But is technology going to take these concerns away as well, or do we need other methods?
And we could probably be doing far more to make use of digital technology to support learning.
EFFICIENCY – Crewing costs are not going down, vessel fuel costs are going up, and competitive pressures continue to tighten – ship operators have no relaxation from demands to continue to be more efficient. Digital technology can help by gathering enormous amounts of data, sending it to shore, and supporting its analysis. But do we end up with large amounts of data no-one can make sense of?
The right pathway is probably modelling – building an intuitive frame of reference which the data can be ‘hung off’, to help everybody, get a better understanding of it – whether they are from shipping company staff, crew, technology companies or IT people. Building models as a basis of data, to make software and data easier to understand, is a very new art.
Many shipping senior managers have been persuaded by the idea of ‘virtual assistants’ and ‘predictive maintenance’ telling them exactly what they need to do right now. These technologies are proving much harder than expected. Consider that the medical profession has not yet managed to make them, even though there is much more money in that sector.
Underlying better use of digital technology for safety and efficiency are the fabric of our digital infrastructure – satellite communications, cloud data hosting, servers and software platforms. And we need these to be faster, more reliable, cheaper, more secure, and then we need more of that again.