Inmarsat unveils new IoT service for shipping industry

(LONDON) — Inmarsat has unveiled Fleet Data, a new Internet of Things (IoT) service, which will enable shipowners and managers to access and analyze real-time onboard data more efficiently, and as a result will help accelerate the adoption of IoT across the maritime industry.

Developed in partnership with Danelec Marine, Fleet Data will record data from the onboard voyage data recorder (VDR) and other vessel sensors, pre-process that data, and upload it to a central (cloud-based) database equipped with a dashboard and application process interface (API). This will allow shipowners and managers to quickly and easily identify equipment issues and failures and seamlessly link third-party applications to monitor vessel performance and fuel efficiency.   

Latest research published by Inmarsat on digital transformation in shipping indicates that, on average, ship operators and managers plan to spend $2.5 million on IoT-based solutions within three years and expect, on average, to achieve IoT-driven cost savings of 14 percent over the next five years.

The research also strongly suggests that a greater maritime appetite for IoT-based solutions would emerge if more data could be delivered and analyzed in real-time.

“Fleet Data will overcome key difficulties faced by those frustrated with the challenge of aggregating vessel data on board and getting it efficiently onshore,” said Stefano Poli, vice president, business development, Inmarsat Maritime. “It will allow ship operators and managers to access, control and exploit their own data, and/or to make that data available to selected third-party applications as required, via a secure platform that is fully scalable, fleet-wide.

“Fleet Data can make data available either via a dashboard or via APIs,” said Poli. “Data reports can be customized and modified, then sent back as a configuration file to update the Fleet Data equipment software on board."

Trials of Fleet Data are due for completion this month aboard two ships operated by a leading ship manager, which have been verifying performance over a six-month period by relaying data collected through fuel optimization software.

Fleet Data is available on both Fleet Xpress and FleetBroadband, making it accessible to over 45,000 vessels. Fleet Xpress, which was introduced in 2016, has been adopted by all the major airtime providers such as Speedcast, Marlink, Navarino and Tototheo.

Laboratory tests with other applications to run over Fleet Data, such as ECDIS chart updates on the FleetBroadband service, are also underway in Alesund, Norway, the home of Inmarsat’s research and development activities for the commercial maritime sector.

Today, all passenger and cargo ships of 3,000 gt and above must carry a VDR under the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, able to interface with input signal sources, recording/playback equipment, and power supply/reserve power. To enable Fleet Data, ships need to install a vessel remote server (VRS) and the solution is agnostic in terms of VDR manufacturer.

By Professional Mariner Staff