There’s a keen sense of anticipation as the days tick down to next Monday’s Maritime CEO Forum in Singapore. Taking place as ever in the sumptuous surroundings of the Fullerton Hotel, one of the most prestigious addresses in the Lion Republic, delegates are wondering if this year’s digital panel can surpass the fireworks that took place at last year’s tech session where on hearing the views from the floor moderator Morten Lind-Olsen quipped shipping was nearer to Kodak than Uber.
Now as he packs his bags to head back to Singapore and the forum, Lind-Olsen reflects on whether shipping has changed its digital stance since he last met up with Maritime CEO.
Lind-Olsen is the CEO of Dualog, a Norwegian maritime digital platform designed to ensure internet, email and cloud services work reliably and securely onboard. He has been preaching the needs for shipping to embrace digital technology longer than most, often to deaf ears. Finally, though, he feels there is a growing change within the industry.
“The ‘C’ level attention has raised, and a lot of the key players have established digital regimes and initiatives,” Lind-Olsen tells Maritime CEO, before cautioning: “There is still a major conflict between the demand for consolidated data and a standardised infrastructure and the management cost approach to every single invoice.”
Reluctance persists, as evidenced via a recent survey carried on this site, which showed 64% of respondents were unwilling to connect their ship systems to the shore and take them online.
As is often the case in shipping, regulations have forced digital matters to the forefront of shipowners’ minds recently.
“IMO regulations and also ISO standards for IoT and sensors onboard have definitively changed the mindset,” says Lind-Olsen.
Dualog’s existing customer base now stretches across more than 3,000 ships with plans to grow very significantly in the coming years.
The Dualog boss says that a digital strategy ought to start out by ensuring both owners and managers are included, something he will no doubt be telling panellists and delegates next week with the forum featuring many of the world’s largest shipmanagers and owners from across the world.
The setting for a debate about digital transformation is hard to beat. Singapore is at the forefront of maritime digitalisation initiatives and in the Fullerton, the forum has its own transformation metaphor; the giant building housed the republic’s main post office from the 1920s before it was redeveloped to become a five-star hotel at the start of this century.