Maritime IoT applications set to expand in 2022

What types of efficiencies can the IoT unlock at sea, and what can shipping operators do to prepare for the resulting wave of data?

By Max Burkhalter
February 4, 2022
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The internet of things (IoT) is bringing data-driven insights and efficiency-building automation to all types of settings, from residences to factories. But what about shipping? While ships at sea are remote, discrete entities, there are benefits associated with connecting their digital systems as part of larger networks. Thus, the IoT is going to sea.

Shipping organizations hoping to stay at the head of their industry are already thinking about expanding IoT use. This is a natural evolution, considering the important role of ships in the global supply chain. Blockages and slowdowns in logistics have wreaked havoc on global economies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the added insights unlocked by IoT use could help companies and governments deal with similar disruptions in the future.

Smart containers provide cargo insights

Cargo containers are always on the move. Finding a better way to track these units on their seafaring voyages — and as they move around ports — could save companies time and money. This is where IoT sensors can make an immediate impact in maritime logistics.

According to Valour Consultancy, there is an expanding movement to use real-time sensor data as a guard against cargo risks such as spoilage and fire. A reduction in guesswork is a powerful process improvement for large-scale cargo container ships, and it's clear that the technology to accomplish this goal already exists. Programs such as industrial equipment monitoring in factories have demonstrated the power of IoT sensor networks to improve decision-making.

The simple presence of extra sensors may help shipowners gain financial advantages. Valour Consultancy added that due to the size of large ships, the costs associated with risk management have become very high. Operators can use sensor-equipped containers as part of connected fire prevention systems. In practical terms, they can also use improved data about the contents of containers to ensure flammable loads are adequately separated.

Without digital equipment, a large container ship can be an opaque environment, filled with unpredictable risk factors. Changing that status is an actionable IoT goal in 2022.

Digitization demands advanced networking

A recent report from Riviera's Maritime Optimisation & Communications magazine revealed some of the top seafaring technology priorities going into 2022. These included networking upgrades to suit the large volume of data that accompanies any IoT transformation.

For example, Speedcast Senior Vice President for Maritime Andre Eerland told the publication there will be a need for powerful networking platforms to make sense of all the data flowing in from varied IoT sensors. Remote access to the streams of information is a key factor to consider, and shipping organizations have to think about their technology infrastructure for 2022 and beyond.

Eerland explained that large organizations can benefit from centralized data tools allowing them to view the status of shipments and vessels across their whole fleets. Strategic management of all those ships can reach new levels in the era of the IoT, and not a moment too soon. More efficient logistics operations represent a possible avenue to lessen the port slowdowns that plagued carriers through 2021.

As with any industry facing an IoT transformation, players in the shipping sector will have to ensure they have the networking hardware and software to transmit large volumes of data securely at high speeds. While upgrades may be necessary, they come with a powerful potential upside.

Advanced hardware is available

Shipowners and operators can turn to media converters, serial terminal servers and more equipment from Perle to make sure their operations make a smooth transition into the IoT era. These solutions can ease the transmission of massive data volumes as the maritime industry digitizes.

To learn more, read Perle's maritime success stories or contact Perle directly.


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