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Wärtsilä opens first Digital Acceleration Centre

Wärtsilä’s new DACs will support its intelligent vessel development strategy Wärtsilä’s new DACs will support its intelligent vessel development strategy

Wärtsilä reports that it has opened the first of four planned Digital Acceleration Centres (DAC), to support technological innovation in intelligent vessel development and other projects in conjunction with customers and industry partners.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The first DAC is located in Helsinki, Finland, with the centre now officially opened having operated in ‘beta’ for a number of months. A second DAC is due to open in December in Singapore, with two further acceleration centres, one in Central Europe and one in North America, expected to open during 2018.

In addition, Wärtsilä says that it plans to introduce a number of further “pop-up” DACs around the globe to test the concept with a wider range of customers.

“The Digital Acceleration Centre is all about getting business outcomes at pace. By adopting a start-up mind-set, we can rapidly prototype ideas with customers; including the use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and virtual reality,” said Wärtsilä’s chief digital officer, Marco Ryan.

“The Digital Acceleration Centre shows its true power in such complex concepts like Intelligent Vessels. In a matter of weeks we created an aligned strategy, concepts, roadmaps, and technology requirements that would have taken months or years.”

“Each concept can be cut into smaller projects which are incubated and developed into Minimal Viable Products (MVP) far quicker than ever before. Even if occasionally an idea fails in the incubation phase, we see that as a learning opportunity and a valuable insight into building a better solution.”

The current list of planned DAC projects includes collaboration between Wärtsilä subsidiary Eniram and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCL) to accelerate the creation of intelligent vessel system prototypes, while Wärtsilä has also partnered with Accenture Interactive to explore new opportunities for digital services in the maritime sector.

The development of Wärtsilä’s Intelligent Vessel strategy will additionally be bolstered by the company’s newly announced acquisition of Guidance Marine Limited, a developer of marine sensors for dynamic positioning and other vessel control systems, such as collision avoidance and remote control operations.

Wärtsilä says that it expects the acquisition to enhance its capabilities in the area of situational awareness and near-field measurement, both essential for improving intelligent vessel navigation.

“Guidance Marine’s core competences are wide ranging and include the development of sophisticated positional measurement sensors and systems for high accuracy control applications,” said Maik Stoevhase, director, automation, navigation & communication, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

“These competences complement our own activities in the field of radar technology, navigation and dynamic positioning. By joining forces we can certainly further accelerate the introduction of solutions that will take shipping into a new era of efficiency.”{/mprestriction}

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