5 Ways Big Data Is Making the Shipping Industry More Intelligent

Business Team Brainstorming Data Target Financial Cocnept

For shipping and maritime professionals worldwide, the Big Data solution is a complex one raising concerns around cyber security. But do the benefits outweigh the risks?

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

This popular quote has been doing the rounds for decades, regularly cropping up across sectors as a way of encouraging innovation and planting disruptive seeds that spark a shift in mindset. For most industries, there is a constant need to innovate in constant as a means of keeping pace with global shifts impacting the way we live, think and behave. For the shipping and wider maritime sector, these changes typically occur at a slower pace, especially when it comes to technology. “We are late adopters”, says Constantine Komodromos, CEO of VesselBot. “Usually a big majority of the shipping industry adopts new technology after it’s been tried and tested elsewhere. So it’s not a matter of not wanting to change, but we are late to adjust in comparison to other markets, which has delayed the advancements in technology.”

Now, more than ever before, the shipping industry is facing the big questions on building a sustainable future that relies on different skill-sets and an understanding of the technology shaping the new landscape. Among the trends and buzzwords making the most noise, one stands out above the rest… Big Data. For shipping professionals worldwide, the Big Data solution is a complex one raising concerns around cyber security as they analyse how it can really help the sector to thrive. But do the benefits outweigh the risks?

#1. It Provides Deeper Insights

Every business needs deeper insights that can drive more successful strategies, and for those in the maritime industry, the advantages are one and the same. Going one step further, Big Data and analytics essentially provide a ‘deep-dive’ into consumer behaviours. According to Nigel Cleave, CEO of Videotel, “Big Data is an opportunity to explore the bigger picture including the intelligent operation of systems, performance monitoring and optimisation, as well as a systemic overview of operations, all of which have a commercial impact.” Exploring Big Data & The New IT, K.D Adamson goes on to explain, “Predictive analytics isn’t just about data around what a ship is doing in real-time, it’s the opportunity to take completely different datasets and combine them to search for insight.”

#2. It Fuels Better Decisions

“Data in today’s world is really important”, says Constantine. “It essentially means making decisions based on accurate facts as opposed to assumptions.” Eliminating the guess work is something every business wants to achieve, improving the quality of decisions, and paving the way for more successful business models. For the shipping industry, having relied mainly on traditional systems that lack the capabilities needed to guide decision-makers in the right direction, Big Data offers a solution like no other, transforming how shipping businesses operate.

#3. It Enables More Efficient Operations

Having previously looked at How Industry 4.0 is Making Shipping Smarter, the big data question is placing new focus on what businesses can achieve given the right insights and capabilities to drive better operations. According to EY’s research on the topic, while the emergence of big data does pose new risks, the benefits far outweigh these, “offering capabilities to integrate and analyse data coming from large variety of systems across the organization in an efficient and flexible manner”, as opposed to how businesses have traditionally operated.

#4. It Improves Connectivity

Connectivity is another buzz word popular within the shipping sphere, as a key consideration for revival of the industry. With a focus on new technologies and operation systems and the emerging talent shaping the sector, connectivity is consistently at the forefront of conversation as it looks at how to compete in a new era moving away from its traditionally isolated nature. Big Data, by ensuring transparency of operations across businesses and people, is bringing more connectivity to the industry than ever before, helping the sector to thrive within a fast-changing environment.

#5. It Facilitates Collaboration

Collaboration is something we all look to improve. Whether focusing on internal or external communication, analysing how building stronger relationships can aid success is key when planning for the future. As Warren Neuburger aptly outlines in his post Big Data: The Key to Collaboration-Centric Business, “Companies that solve their Big Data challenges will be the leaders in building collaboration-centric cultures, but data is just one of many changing business collaboration trends that could leave your business vulnerable to digital disruption.”

With this and much more leading research pointing to the need for more Big Data in the maritime sector, Komodromos aptly summarises: “If you carry out the same experiment over and over again, without changing any of the variables, you simply achieve the same results. We should be changing certain variables to get different results.” And while many remain uncertain, as Bernard Marr states, “The question isn’t whether or not big data is here to stay; the question is ‘Are you ready?’”

Like what you’ve read? Find out more about shipping’s digital future at Shipping2030 Asia, featuring exclusive speaker sessions from global leaders in maritime and digital innovation!

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