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Kongsberg wants to share, but who gains?

Digitalisation has much to offer but if different components won’t speak to each other, many of the potential benefits will likely remain untapped, writes Brian who has been looking at Kongsberg new open platform approach.

Digitalisation promises much for the global maritime sector, whether in terms of enhanced performance, productivity, efficiency or safety. However, it’s not unlikely that a company may at some point find itself wanting to use software produced by different developers and in so doing experience costly and wasteful issues of incompatibility. However, this can arguably be avoided by employing an ‘open ecosystem’, such as that provided by the Kognifai digital platform developed by Norway’s Kongsberg Digital.

By using open standards “that can integrate with all other platforms or applications”, Kognifai, explains Vigleik Takle, Kongsberg Digital’s senior vice-president of maritime digital solutions, allows users to share data with other systems irrespective of the producer. What’s more, Kognifai’s open standards “ensure a rich ecosystem of solutions and providers [as well as] vendor neutrality” while preventing ‘lock-in’.

“The customers benefit by getting access to a broad range of apps and services; the service providers can offer their best solutions to a broad range of customers; and the price of providing the data to the customers and applications is kept low through Kongsberg’s Vessel Insight infrastructure solution,” he says, adding that “all application vendors go through a verification process to ensure security”. Importantly, the customer, Takle states, “retains full control of their data and who they share it with at all times”.

Built on the Kognifai platform, Vessel Insight is “a cost-effective data infrastructure solution for the broad maritime market” that uses “a vessel-to-cloud data infrastructure” to ensure users can “capture, aggregate and standardise quality data from their fleet” in a secure manner. “With Vessel Insight, customers get instant access to data enabled-insights, allowing them to improve their business,” he says. “They also get access to Kongsberg- and third-party-developed applications, which helps turn their data into value, through the Kognifai Marketplace.”

“These applications have a wide range of different application areas, currently ranging from simple admin tools to advanced vessel performance systems. But being an open ecosystem we are working hard to add new applications that create even more value for our customers,” he says, revealing that as standard the Vessel Insight infrastructure “comes with dashboards for fleet overview, basic performance indicators and analysis”. At the same time, “data is exposed through open [application programming interfaces (APIs)] enabling data export to, for instance, reporting tools, such as Power BI”.

“The infrastructure solution is standardised to fit a broad range of vendors, is highly cost-effective and gives access to a wide range of applications,” Takle notes. “The customers pick applications based on their specific needs and value-added goals. If the customer is unsure what applications to choose, they will be helped by a dedicated Kongsberg customer success manager.”

Having recently announced memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with MAN and MacGregor, Kongsberg Digital has now entered into a new partnership with DNV GL that will allow Vessel Insight users to collect and transfer data from vessels for use within the latter firm’s digital class and assurance services. “This,” Takle says, “is a perfect example illustrating the benefits of the open ecosystem.”

“DNV GL has developed digital class services that will significantly reduce the cost and complexity of class and assurance services for customers, but they need access to sufficient contextualised data from the vessels for the digital solution to work,” he explains. “For the customer, it would not have made sense to set up an edge computer with the sole purpose of providing data to the digital class service. Getting access to quality data through Vessel Insight, however, allows the customer to give other applications and solutions access to the data for value adding purposes.”

But inking agreements is certainly not the only thing the company has been up to of late. “Very soon we will launch a new Kongsberg application on Vessel Insight that will address one of the most common needs of our customers: fuel consumption,” Takle reports. “Vessel Performance [as the new app is called] helps improve a crew’s awareness of their ship’s performance, supports environmental compliance and can assist customers to reduce energy usage, fuel consumption and operating costs. We are also in talks with several potential partners and applications providers that want to be a part of our ecosystem and who we know will bring great benefits to our customers.”

“Kongsberg’s offering is unique because we have found a way to standardise data infrastructure for the broad maritime market, ensuring high quality and security while prices are kept low,” he states. “We are able to do this because of the combination of Kongsberg Maritime’s 40 years of experience as a systems integrator on vessels and Kongsberg Digital’s digitalisation technology and software capabilities. Also, our open ecosystem ensures that software vendors, [original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)] and customers all benefit from development done by the other parties, ensuring constant improvement and richness in the offering.”

About Author

Brian Dixon is a business and industry journalist with more than 20 years' experience writing about ports and logistics. A member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, he has covered stories on six continents. He divides his time between the UK and East Asia