Tomorrow’s Maritime World: Accessing the 4th Industrial Revolution

Businesses don’t have the luxury of standing still; they must adapt or risk getting left behind. Just as ships switched from sail power in favour of steam, and their manual compasses for satellite guided navigation – ship owners must get ready to adapt again.

Emerging out of Silicon Valley, the fourth industrial revolution represents a new wave of technological advancements that are bringing disruption to every industry around the globe – and shipping is no exception.

Characterised by emerging technologies that fuse the digital with the physical, the shipping industry is on the cusp of becoming more integrated than ever before. From digitalised global supply chains and remotely-controlled autonomous vessels, to the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality, the maritime landscape as we know it is transforming into a digitially connected global ecosystem.

Those that take the necessary measures to capitalise on the many benefits digitalisation has to offer will remain a step ahead of the competition. To realise shipping’s digital future, reliable connectivity will be a crucial component. Through continually driving innovation in antenna technologies, and with our global technical support network, Intellian is supporting owners and operators in opening up the global digital ecosystem and enabling them to reliase their commerical potential.

The lifeblood of the fourth industrial revolution is data. Through the application of ground-breaking innovative technologies, unprecedented processing power and speed, and massive storage capacity, we have found ourselves with an unparalleled plethora of data at our fingertips.

Key to this current revolution lies not in the amount of data we have, but how we can transform it into intelligence based on actionable insights that will boost operational efficiency and return on investment, and enhance crew and passenger welfare.

We’re already seeing a number of industry frontrunners who are producing smart data solutions and changing the way they do business. Earlier this year, Maersk and IBM launched an industry first – digitalising and decentralising the global supply chain through block chain technology. Every transaction between shipper, freight forwarder, ocean carrier, port and customs authority can be managed, tracked, and recorded through a digital trail. Through revolutions like this, the industry sets itself up to achieve a whole new level of operational efficiency, increase profitability, and drive opportunities to trade in new markets or regions.

Fast-forward to the end of the decade, and it’s possible that we’ll see the first fully autonomous vessel, the YARA Birkeland, in operation. Embedded with sensors, this vessel will rely on the collection and transmission of data to operate safely.  Experts predict that autonomous vessels will become commonplace by 2030, and this is wholly dependant on data and reliable, high-speed connectivity.

It takes time for any new development to be fully incorporated into a business’ standard operating practice. However, ship owners must look to equip themselves with the necessary tools to not only to survive, but to thrive in this new global digital ecosystem. This is best done sooner rather than later.  Shipping is becoming information-driven, and as Moore’s Law has shown us, activity enabled by information has the potential to grow exponentially.

Benefiting from the significant advantages this new operating environment has to offer depends on your ability to access, and then leverage, the abundance of valuable information it brings with it.

To do this, ship owners must have hardware that can keep up with the demands of emerging fourth industrial revolution technologies. Unless you’ve got the capability to do so, realising this new era’s latent potential will prove tricky.

Crucial to this is the need to look beyond the component elements of satellite communications systems in isolation and instead to employ comprehensive and connected smart solutions that meet the needs of each individual vessel and platform.

As a global provider of antenna technologies, Intellian is dedicated to building connected smart solutions that will help catapult ship owners into this next phase of evolution. Through innovative antenna technologies, Intellian ensures reliable access to data, anywhere and at any time.

The fourth industrial revolution must be as inclusive as possible, and in endeavouring to drive the adoption of higher speed, enterprise level connectivity solutions, Intellian remains dedicated to reducing barriers to entry.

Through proactively driving standardisation in the satellite communications industry, innovative technology companies are creating the opportunity for more owners to achieve cost-effective access to the reliable connectivity required for them to take advantage of emerging technologies. As the demand for higher throughput connectivity increases and competition intensifies, prices will continue to drop while performance improves.

Historically, installing and operating conventional satellite communications antennas has been complicated and time-consuming. Intellian is continually analysing and evaluating technologies and operations to deliver high-speed connectivity solutions that are both seamless and straightforward. We want to provide customers with the space to focus on development and opportunities for growth, rather than the day-to-day operations.

There is still some work ahead before future concepts such as autonomous surface and underwater vessels and augmented reality technologies become the norm for the commercial maritime sector, but the antenna capacity needed for these operations is within our grasp today.