Inmarsat crew welfare ‘Open Innovation Challenge’ shortlist announced

Source: press release, 22 October 2020

Ronald Spithout, Inmarsat Maritime President
Ronald Spithout, Inmarsat Maritime President (photo: Inmarsat)

Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has announced the shortlist of entries to the “Open Innovation Challenge”, a global competition aimed at identifying new technologies to benefit crew safety, health and wellbeing launched with Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (Shell Shipping & Maritime) and digital consultancy Thetius.

The Challenge, aimed at start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), invited entries in four areas of innovation spanning deck safety, fatigue, administration reduction and overall wellbeing and attracted some 49 written submissions. The winner will be selected from the three finalists by a panel including representatives from Inmarsat, Shell Shipping & Maritime, Thetius and seafarer charity ISWAN, plus a Chief Officer, a First Engineer, a Second Officer and a Marine Pilot.

The winning entry, to be announced on 12th November, will secure a GBP 10,000 grant to fund proof of concept trials onboard a vessel supported by Shell Shipping & Maritime and Inmarsat.

“The range of entries has been truly inspiring,” says Nick Chubb, Managing Director of Thetius. “We are now looking forward to hearing the detailed pitches provided by our three finalists and given the quality of their proposals, we expect it to be a close-run thing.”

The shortlisted candidates are:

  • The Canary Sentinel and Workrest intelligent fatigue management and rest coaching platform to manage shift work using real time health tracking, profiling and fatigue prediction based on sleep quality.
  • The Kaiko Systems “guided survey tool” for reliable and faster data collection to enable standard survey routines including picture-taking.
  • The MedAssist online tool to deliver AR-assisted and step-by-step medical help and training to seafarers remotely, and a ‘Heart App’ capable of producing hospital-quality ECGs on a tablet.

Of the 49 competition entries, the largest contribution came from innovators seeking to improve crew welfare overall, while one fifth of entrants focused on reducing administration and 6% on crew fatigue.

“The Open Innovation Challenge has unearthed some fascinating proposals using the power of digital technology to enhance seafarer welfare,” says Ronald Spithout, President Inmarsat Maritime. “Its goals reflect Inmarsat’s own strategy to seek out, encourage and work with the disruptors helping to drive maritime digitalisation and aligns with our Welfare 2.0 initiative.”

Inmarsat and Thetius recently published the “Welfare 2.0: How can the next generation of technology enable better crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea?” report, which can be downloaded at