Integrated operations and the next industrial revolution

Integrated operations and the next industrial revolution

Tech firm ABB issued a whitepaper today looking at the digital business transformation of the maritime industry. Some conclusions from the research are carried below.

The Internet of Things, Services, and People is an emerging industry megatrend that will change the way the maritime industry and many other industries operate. But the key is to know which new solutions and services to combine with the existing core of our business, in order to provide the customer with enhanced productivity of their assets, and investments – whether that is a productivity improvement in the production process, in safety, quality, or in cash.

By the end of 2016, we will have turned four Marine Service Centers and Competence Centers into Integrated Operations Centers. In these locations, we will have an Integrated Operations room, able to support customers and our own workforce worldwide, 24/7, based on new software tools and cloud services. Already today, the majority of systems supplied by ABB have a basic scope of Integrated Operations features, which allows shipowners and operators to utilise some of our digital services right from the beginning of operations. Retrofit solutions are available as well. The newest generation in system architecture design will allow customizing project deliveries more efficiently while giving shipowners additional product features at less complexity.

By 2020, we aim to be connected to 3,000 vessels. We estimate that 20% of our customers have a modern operations center and our target is to be part of these centers. The share of software developers and software-related jobs among our workforce will increase significantly. By 2020, Integrated Operations features will be part of every new vessel, and we expect that most newbuilding specifications will require these types of features to be part of the suppliers’ scope.

By 2030 we aim to have supplied vessels with technology that allows to remotely and autonomously operate selected functions on board the vessel. We will support shipowners and operators in monitoring all critical sub systems, in realtime. In the future, a substantial amount of our business volume and competence will be software-based, also driven by customers that operate on modern, IT-based processes.

Our core services will also increase in revenue and software content, which means that modernizations and planned maintenance will be based on the insight we gain through the new technologies.

Working closely with our customers and using the same tools means there will be more interdependencies between our work processes and value chains. The work we perform in engineering, service, and supply chain will become more performance-driven and customer focused because Integrated Operations improves our ability to provide our knowledge and services to the users.

The more all parties in the value chain are connected, the higher operational excellence will move to the agenda.

Improvement initiatives will be joint efforts between the owner, operator, and supplier, for example in supply chain and spare part management, handling emergency procedures, and asset lifecycle management.

We consider this the beginning of the next Industrial Revolution and a wave of shipbuilding activity that will see more connected, integrated, electrical, and autonomous vessels and maritime operations.

We believe the next step-change in productivity and safety in shipping comes from integrating ships better with shore side operations. Integrated Operations is the concept that will drive this change in the coming years.


The full whitepaper can be accessed by clicking here.

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