NAVTOR and ScanReach, two innovative players within the maritime technology arena, have signed a landmark agreement that paves the way for shipowners to have a connected, comprehensive and real-time view of vessel and fleet operations.
The collaboration will connect a revolutionary onboard wireless IoT platform to a secure channel for sharing data between ship and shore. The result is a seamless stream of information running from onboard sensors (which can be fixed to almost any piece of equipment, system, or individual) to land-based facilities, and back, enabling optimal decision-making, 24/7.
NAVTOR a specialist within e-navigation, provides innovative digital solutions that make life simpler, safer and more efficient for both navigators and entire shipping businesses. ScanReach officially launched to the industry at Nor-Shipping 2019, having devised and thoroughly tested a plug and play solution that, for the first time, creates a robust onboard network capable of transmitting data throughout complex and confined steel environments, with no need for expensive cabling.
Their collaboration makes, according to NAVTOR Chief Commercial Officer Børge Hetland, perfect sense. “Both ScanReach and NAVTOR share the vision of utilising technology to enable smarter shipping, and by that I mean safer, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and, at the end of the day, more cost effective maritime operations for shipowners and society itself,” he explains.
“With our advanced ENC-based services as the foundation we have built an infrastructure that allows the seamless sharing of data between vessels and shore, giving bridge officers the very latest information (for example, up to date charts, weather data and regulatory alerts) while owners and operators access vital fleet management information. ScanReach have created a breakthrough onboard infrastructure whereby sensors share real-time information from equipment, systems and even personnel with the bridge, giving the crew genuine insight of current vessel operations,” he continues.
“This agreement puts those two infrastructures together. So suddenly it’s not just the bridge officer that knows the latest performance data from ‘sensor x’ in the engine room, it’s the team in the office on shore. This gives close to real-time 360-degree awareness like never before. The potential is really only limited by the ambition and imagination of this industry. This is the definition of a game changer,” Hetland adds.
The technology is currently undergoing full scale testing onboard North Sea Shipping’s North Sea Giant subsea construction vessel, with a view of launching to market later this year. ScanReach’s system will connect with NAVTOR’s communication and pre-processing hub, NavBox, with all information relayed to land securely through this DNV GL certified cyber secure gateway.
Jacob Grieg Eide, Chief Business Development Officer, ScanReach, believes the agreement will fire the starting gun for a new age of maritime service innovation. “When you have two breakthrough technologies coming together in this way the possibilities are huge,” he states. “Suddenly we have the ability to develop a wide range of services, and quickly, directly addressing client needs and effectively switching vessels from ‘analogue’ to smart, connected, digital empowered ships – without having to install expensive cabling.”
Eide mentions numerous possibilities. In terms of performance, efficiency and cost control he talks of the ability of ship and land-based teams to see real-time vessel operational data, combining it with other data streams to fine-tune performance for optimal results. In this way immediate action can be enabled – for example saving fuel and reducing greenhouse gases (in line with IMO targets) – rather than waiting for the results of office-based analysis potentially months later.
In addition, automated and on demand reports of emissions and fuel consumption could be produced for complete regulatory compliance. Weather data could also be captured from weather stations on each ship (NAVTOR services a fleet of several thousand vessels) and streamed to land, providing real-time weather reports from exact vessel locations – calibrating existing weather models and helping other ships adjust routes and optimise performance and safety.
On the subject of safety, Eide sees immediate gains. “We’ve already launched In:Range, allowing those on vessel bridges to see the exact location of all personnel onboard in emergency situations,” he says. “With NAVTOR’s infrastructure that information can be combined with their data, for example on routing, weather and navigation, to enable a new generation of emergency response services, both onboard and onshore. Everything becomes connected – ship visibility is brought to shore,” he concludes, adding: “The implications of that for the industry are truly staggering.”
ScanReach’s low power, plug and play microsensor technology is simple to install while ships are operating, with no need for cabling. NAVTOR is the market leader in e-navigation innovation. The firm was the first to introduce Pay as You Sail (PAYS) ENC services to the market, launched the first digital chart table and currently offers a unique Passage Planning (PP) module, slashing average PP administration time from three hours to under 30 minutes (per voyage, per vessel).
Both businesses are based in Norway with global client bases. NAVTOR also has offices in Sweden, Japan, UK, Singapore and the US.