Norway’s Telenor Maritime has pioneered a new way of providing digitalisation as a service on board vessels.
CEO, Lars Erik Lunøe (pictured), and CTIO, Knut Fjellheim, revealed more about this development ahead of a demonstration at Nor-Shipping 2023.
“This is a completely new way of thinking to anything you have seen or heard of before,” claimed Fjellheim, referring to the ideas that brought the company’s patented unified hosting service to reality and fully operational across Color Line’s ferry fleet in northern Europe.
“The shipping industry today has been told they have to collect data and transfer that data to the cloud. But that is not sustainable, according to the green shift, and not sustainable in the long run. Just collecting raw data does not give value for the shipowner,” Fjellheim said.
“We are making a digital ecosystem, we are bringing the cloud down to each individual ship as part of a new digitalisation as a service platform. You need to take care of the data gathered from around the ship on the ship first,” he explained.
Suppliers and third-party vendors are increasingly adding to the demands on shipowners as more and more raw data is being gathered on board. This data is mostly collected as silos of information that must be sent ashore separately for processing, analysis and storage.
This current method is creating an unsustainable demand on shipowners, as there will not be enough space for each vendor to put their own server on board, plus there are demands for more and more bandwidth.
There are also serious security issues with so much data circulating across multiple remote access lines involving potentially several different third-party vendors, the company said.
Lunøe pointed to the fact that many shipowners are currently concerned they have no control over what stakeholders on board their vessels are doing when it comes to digitalisation.
“Shipowners are simply pushed to install a solution per system, they have no control, so they are worried about cybersecurity.
“Remote access is a top topic today and questions from shipowners include who is connecting to my vessel right now. Shipowners and captains have a big concern. Everyone knows we need to go in the direction of digitalisation, but how to do it?
“We have done the opposite of traditional mobile networks at Telenor Maritime, so the ship becomes the station, and then the harbour is roaming into the ship’s private network instead of the other way around. So the processing and analysing of data can be done on board, rather than on shore, “ he explained.
Telenor’s unified hosting service is designed to enable remote operations and it eases compliance with environmental regulations. Its processing set-up, where it standardises and aligns data in a new common language, saves energy by reducing the amount of data that needs to be transmitted and stored.
It is also vendor neutral, which means it can act as an easy-to-access platform on board any vessel – the equivalent of an iPhone able to host third-party apps – and it can talk to any other system in one common language.
“We are encouraging third parties to adapt and to adopt digitisation, but this system also makes it far easier for companies to find a digital path,” he said.
The data hosting platform enables crew and shoreside staff to access the system through one interface, removing the current systems where each third-party application operates in its own silo. The platform can unite all applications, signals, sensor data and systems, providing better situational awareness in real-time on board.
Data can also be collated on board and sent directly through one secure transfer tunnel to a classification society, such as DNV, for compliance approval. This is a large time and resource saving by moving from manual to digital checklists as Monitoring, Reporting & Verification (MRV) data sets are required to be registered for each journey to meet EU and IMO regulations.
“We take real-time sensor data, for example at Color Line from fuel meters, and we push this data into a live digital checklist that can then be checked for accuracy by the captain or the Chief Engineer.
“In a further example, we are able to qualify the data on board from third-party applications that are producing emission reports for every leg being sailed. That data can then be re-used on board for other purposes.
“So we make a data warehouse on board, which also gives Color Line the ability to own the data. Some data does need to be transferred to shore, but our idea is that the more analysis and use of data done on board, the better,’ Fjellheim added.
The platform is going to be certified according to IEC 62443 standards, which is essential for cybersecurity. Telenor has been working closely with classification society DNV to enhance compliance.
The ease with which the platform can enable systems to be added means it is easy to combine a 4G network alongside 5G. IoT and wireless sensors do not comply with 5G yet, so there is still a need to deploy 4G within the service.