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Maritime Internet of Things (IoT) adoption higher than other sectors, says Inmarsat

Maritime IoT adoption higher than other sectors, says Inmarsat
Malek Murison - June 7, 2018

Satellite communications company Inmarsat has commissioned research into Internet of Things (IoT) adoption in the maritime sector, among several others. According to its initial report, ship owners are far more open to deploying IoT tools for analytic, management, and operational purposes than some other industries, including mining and agriculture.

Inmarsat findings will “surprise many”
The report, Industrial IoT: Maritime, is part of a wider research initiative set to continue throughout this year. Its cross-sectoral findings on global supply chain digitisation will be published in full later this month.

Inmarsat’s overall research delves into the adoption of IoT solutions – and prevailing attitudes towards them – across the maritime, transport and logistics, energy, mining, and agriculture sectors. The maritime insights themselves are based on responses from 125 ship owners around the world.

“This is probably the most detailed account of attitudes towards the IoT ever undertaken in the maritime industry, and its findings will surprise many,” said Stein Oro, VP of Applications Sales at Inmarsat Maritime.

Maritime IoT expenditure outpacing others
According to Oro, there is no shortage of will when it comes to maritime IoT investments. Inmarsat’s research suggests that the shipping industry is putting is its money where its mouth is more than several other sectors.

“Respondents suggest that their average expenditure per business on IoT-based solutions will amount to $2.5 million over the next three years,” he said.

“They say that IoT-based solutions will attract a larger share of their IT budgets than any other next-generation technology, while early analysis of other segments places maritime ahead of energy, agriculture, and mining.”

However, despite this positivity towards IoT technologies, ship owners operate within a business and economic context that is largely out of their control.

For example, Inmarsat discovered that ship owners in Greece – which is both a struggling economy and one of the world’s leading maritime nations – “envisage substantially smaller outlay on IoT-based solutions in the period ahead, with the average investment planned for the coming three years less than 10 percent of the average overall.”

Three-quarters of all respondents said they plan to “fully deploy” IoT-based solutions within 18 months. Positive responses to the same question from Greece numbered just 40 percent of those surveyed.

Connected ships cut costs
According to Inmarsat, the report proves that ship owners are “upholding the maritime industry’s decade-long fixation with costs”, suggesting that the global economic downturn affected the shipping sector far more than most.

Rather than implementing IoT systems for the sake of revenue improvements – 51 percent of respondents claimed that revenue generation was not a factor in IoT decisions – 75 percent said that they have realised, or expect to realise, cost savings from adopting IoT technologies.

IoT applications in shipping vary from route optimisation to maintenance and smart cargo storage. However, 65 percent of ship owners reported that their IoT adoption is being driven by environmental legislation. Tightened rules on emissions and fuel usage mean that 100 percent of respondents said that they would use IoT solutions to monitor fuel consumption by 2023.

Another cost-cutting application of IoT systems is their ability to reduce insurance premiums, found the report. Seventy percent of respondents cited providing insurers with more data as a key driver for adoption.

Internet of Business says
Shipping is one of the oldest, slowest, and most risk-filled industries in the world, with close ties to the fortunes of equally long-established nations. And yet shipping is also one of the least visible sectors for most people, despite a history dating back millennia.

That it would look to new, connected technologies to help it operate better, more efficiently, and in a greener and more sustainable way is not as big a surprise as Inmarsat suggests. The maritime world has long been in the vanguard of new technologies, location-based systems, and time-keeping devices.

After all, knowing where a ship is, what it is carrying, when it will be arriving, and what condition its goods are in are all critical concepts for ship owners and their customers – and have been for centuries.