The possibilities big data brings to maritime

I recently took a deep dive into news related to the use of Internet of Things (IoT), automation and big data analytics in the maritime industry and found some exciting developments in this promising space.

I read about ferries in the Oslo Fjord using an IoT platform to indicate and communicate real-time route intention to prevent collisions and keep passengers safe.

I was fascinated by the U.S. Pentagon’s debut of a self-driving 132-foot ship that can travel up to 10,000 nautical miles on its own to hunt for underwater mines.

And I’m ready to book my next holiday after reading about how Royal Caribbean’s CIO plans to enable a better guest experience with technology, “so that the guests can spend more of their time relaxing and enjoying and navigating all the experiences that are available to them.”

Sounds good to me!

Most of all, I was intrigued by an article about big data in shipping by industry observer Martyn Wingrove of Marine Electronics & Communication:

“Big data will become the ‘oil of 21st century’ for the maritime industry,” Martyn writes. “Once considered as a very low-data industry, the maritime sector is slowly waking up to the new digital age. Remote access monitoring, condition-based maintenance, data analytics and forecasting are significantly improving and optimising numerous functions in operations and ship management. As a result, the international shipping industry is beginning to embrace the tangible opportunities that the growth of big data presents.”

Could not have said it better myself!

I see this time as one of immense opportunity for the maritime industry. By collecting and analysing data in real-time, organisations can generate insights that improve operations and address challenges.

Opportunities include some of the ones highlighted above and possibilities that reach much further:

  • Sensors on machinery and components can inform predictions, prevent outages and improve maintenance schedules;
  • Real-time monitoring of fuel quality, usage and engine performance can manage environmental regulations and better navigate Sulphur emission control areas
  • Real-time insights about where vessels are located can help maritime organisations manage supply chains
  • Real-time data analysis can offer predictive insights into potential threats and attacks, both physical and virtual;
  • Better insights into operations and the maintenance of moving and fixed assets can increase cash flow and profitability.

To make these possibilities a reality, it will take some work. Most maritime organisations today are hampered by legacy IT systems, disparate data sources and other barriers to adoption. But a step-by-step approach (done with a trusted partner) can help companies get data modernisation projects up and running:

This process

This process can help a company explore and prove the potential of a data-driven approach, while guiding future investments in the technology needed to make it happen.

I think the industry as a whole is just starting to wade into the shallows of big data potential. In my view, now’s not the time to wet our toes. I say we dive deep and start swimming!

Over the next few months, I’ll be discussing the process of IT modernisation in the maritime industry and hopefully bring to light some new ways of thinking about this industry. Join me on the journey, and please add your thoughts here on the blog space or by connecting with me on social media (LinkedIn). I look forward to interacting!


Anna Cebaseva, a CSC client relationship executive supporting global engagements in maritime, brings a new perspective to this historic industry. As the only services integrator with a dedicated maritime focus, CSC offers leading solutions to maritime organisations navigating the journey to the digital enterprise.

RELATED LINKS

Data-driven insights are transforming maritime 

Modernising an ancient – and important — industry

Operational efficiency: The art of the possible in maritime

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