IoT and Maritime Industry: A sea of data

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IoT and Maritime Industry: A sea of data

The maritime industry is riding a wave of big data to weather the storms of climate-related changes.IoT and Maritime Industry

by Gordon Feller

More than 90 percent of the world’s trade volume is moved by sea, amounting to more – than $4 trillion worth of goods every year. This places immense pressure on shipping companies to remain on schedule, protect the cargo ships and crews, and ensure profitability – not trivial tasks. The maritime industry comprises an intricate system of transportation with around 90,000 vessels crossing paths as goods are transported from one continent to another. This makes it hard to visualize the world’s main shipping routes or to comprehend the industry’s complexity.

To further complicate things, ports and vessels are subject to forces of nature which are becoming harder to predict. This means that shipping companies must be able to adapt to changing situations and act fast. Real-time big data analytics is helping them to navigate these unexpected challenges more efficiently.

Big data analysis extracts and scrutinizes information from data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Realtime capabilities mean that those insights are delivered immediately after collection.

IoT & Maritime Industry - Keep Watching - Bridge

Keeping Watch: Protecting vessel networks against brute force or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, as well as unintended/ accidental operator actions calls for continuous monitoring of network IP levels, network mapping, and asset discovery.

Maritime companies generate data from numerous sources in several formats. Actioning this fixed, siloed, and inconsistent information is time-consuming and a major pain point for shipping companies, but the inflow of data can be collated and organized in a cloud-based system using big-data tools. The system analyzes and spits out the relevant data in real time, which can promote better decision-making. Nothing is left to intuition or chance, unlocking opportunities to drive greater efficiencies.

Efficient Maritime Operations and Logistics

Overall operations and logistics become much more efficient with real-time data. Companies can obtain information through GPS trackers and RFID tags to help locate ships and containers immediately. Data technology also helps synchronize communication to manage ship arrivals, berthings, and departures safely and efficiently. In cases of an emergency, nonavailability of labor, or terminal allocation problems, real-time data helps managers to plan shipping routes and speeds accordingly.

IoT and Maritime Industry: Purdue model

Never Let Go: As maritime organizations review and adjust their security architectures, one of the recommended frameworks for them to adopt is the Purdue model. The goal is to stop hackers from taking over navigation and communications systems, open or close critical valves, or take over propulsion and rudder controls.

Climate change is making this ability to pivot increasingly necessary. Ocean conditions – currents, waves, and wind – are more unpredictable than ever, making the use of real time data to streamline decision making and support ad hoc navigation vital to ensure companies can maximize returns.

Fuel-Efficient Routing

By having access to sea-state observations, vessel operators can reroute according to current conditions while optimizing fuel efficiency. Inefficient weather routing often leads to an increased time spent at sea, which not only disrupts and delays the supply chain but can also increase fuel burn and CO2 emissions. In addition to increasing voyage earnings, fuel-efficient routing also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, supporting the latest reduction strategy developed in 2018 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This initiative envisages that the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping should be reduced by at least 50 percent by 2050, compared to 2008 figures. As documented in its report, the IMO calculated that vessels released 1.12 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2007. Emissions therefore need to be reduced by 560 million metric tons equivalent to the emissions from 102 million cars.

IoT and Maritime Industry - Cybersecurity Business Risks

The New Piracy Ships and other vessels may seem like unusual targets for cyberattacks. But with their growing use of industrial control systems (ICS) and satellite communications, hackers have a new playground that’s ripe for attack.

One key conclusion to draw about the real world is that the real-time data helps to reduce fuel costs and helps to bring down GHG emissions. It’s possible that the maritime industry could become bigger and better – and more lucrative – while releasing fewer GHG emissions.

The convergence of information technology and operational technology on board ships – and their connection to the Internet – creates an increased attack surface that requires greater cyber risk management.

IoT and Maritime Industry - Full stream ahead

Full Steam Ahead: With modern Mission Secure platforms, IT organizations and ships’ crews can observe and map on-board network connections and defend against intrusions through the use of logical security zones and other protections.

On the IT side, the chances of cyberattacks can be mitigated through proper implementation of encryption techniques, such as blockchain technology. From an operational standpoint, IMO maintains that effective cyber risk management should start at the senior management level – embedding a culture of cyber risk awareness into all levels and departments of an organization. One can read more about this in the Baltic and International Maritime Council’s (BIMCO) “Guidelines on Cybersecurity Onboard Ships.” Knowledge is power. By implementing real-time insights in daily operations, shipping companies are well-prepared to navigate anything that comes their way. Based on how this year has gone, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have an edge on the unexpected.

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