If the organisers and speakers had feared that the dozens of other business and social events that week might put pressure on numbers, they were happily proved wrong. The day-long event saw very strong attendance with delegates keen to hear the latest on software and systems, value-added services and communications and participate in the debate.
The title of the event indicated that this would be something of a departure for Digital Ship events. Focussing more on the role of the CIO, the day developed the themes that had been emerging during Digital Ship’s most recent two-day events – how the IT department and the CIO can contribute to efficiency, optimisation, economies of scale and productivity by engaging widely with other business stakeholders.
The programme ranged from the high level to the detailed. Giampiero Soncini of SpecTec opened proceedings with a typically forthright castigation of any owner or manager that did not use software to support their operations, citing the high incidence of business failures among those that failed to heed this advice.
DNV’s Bjorn Haugland then zoomed out to frame the context in which the industry was operating, pointing out the period of rapid change that lies ahead, while Noralf Gamlen of VARD (formerly STX OSV) highlighted the competitive advantage that software and systems gave the shipbuilder.
It was a point taken up by Stephen D Macfarlane of V.Ships who agreed that open, collaborative systems were vital to supporting clients, arguing that protectionism was holding the process back.
Digital Ship regular Torsten Büssow of Germanischer Lloyd drilled down to the issue of the moment – saving fuel through data capture and evaluation, describing a programme it has developed with container line Hamburg Süd.
The revolution went further thanks to Oskar Levander of Rolls-Royce who discussed increasing ship intelligence. Mr Levander repeated his recent statements that remote control for ships is both possible and desirable, and something that should be planned for now.
Pietro Amorusi of Italian owner d’Amico gave a philosophical presentation about the role of the CIO in helping ops, chartering and other departments work better with simple but effective tools.
The afternoon session heard from internet innovator Paul Østergaard of ShipServ on his 10 years of adventure in e-procurement and how to put in place the building blocks needed to make e-commerce work.
The balance of the day addressed communications in its many forms. Morten-Lind Olsen of Dualog gave the delegates a reality check in getting broadband onboard, including a combination of actual speeds (low) and the effort required (high).
Raimo Warkki pointed out that when Stena upgraded to satcoms crews had to be forced to use it – scarcely believable today.
Certainly Martin Kits van Heyningen of KVH and James Collet of Intelsat were the standard-bearers for a new wave of high bandwidth connectivity that could enable some of the collaborative working that delegates had heard about earlier.
Joined by Tore Morten Olsen of Astrium Services and Julian Crudge of Telenor for the Satellite Communications Panel Session, they each talked about the opportunities and risks for users and providers alike.
The panel ranged through consolidation, pricing, expectation management, definitions of broadband, the impact of HTS and the role of L-Band, optimisation versus complexity, regional versus global coverage and the BYOD phenomenon – and the event still finished at its scheduled time.
Written by Neville Smith, director of Mariner Communications and moderator for the Maritime CIO Forum. www.maritimeinsight.com