Giorgio Colotti, SpecTec Domain Expert, explains the benefits of smart solutions for both shipping companies and ships and highlights that communication is essential for the successful implementation of smart shipping.
S4S: Tell us a few words about SpecTec. How your organization has evolved over the last years since its establishment? What are the major developments and highlights for year 2016?
G.C: Well, it is hard to condense in a few lines more than thirty years of SpecTec in the maritime business. Many things happened but looking just at the last few years, surely the acquisition of the company by the Volaris group has given us a positive thrust to enhance and improve both our products/services and the way we market them.
While developing our new solutions, we constantly seek to engage our customers in the challenge of evolving the way they use our products and how to improve the use they make of the ever growing amount of data logged into the AMOS system.
S4S: What are the benefits for the companies and the ships of becoming fully connected? What technological solutions do you offer and how long does it take for the persons onboard and ashore to get familiarized with them?
G.C:From an IT viewpoint, a ship is becoming more and more a ‘simple’ extension of the company’s intranet. This translates into data being immediately available for analysis, the very moment it is logged onboard. Ultimately, this means (provided it is inherently good and reliable data) to have a valid support to fast decision making. We are challenged by our customers to provide tools to support this new approach to data awareness: reading counters, reporting maintenance tasks, doing stock inventory, approving purchase orders, and all of this on a mobile device? Accomplished. Producing meaningful dashboards with drill-down capabilities and customized reports without typing a single line of SQL? Also accomplished. Our latest mission? Making sure that all this is made so easy and logically displayed that even a wizard becomes superfluous.
S4S: Do you think smart shipping will enhance shipping operations making them more efficient & effective? If yes, could you provide us an example from your perspective?
G.C: Of course it will. The key to make it happen is communication: where communication is possible and affordable, then data can be exchanged or simply accessed from any geographical location. Obviously, to make all this new concept really smart, stakeholders need to ‘speak the same language’, meaning that the shipping industry will need to standardize not only the way data is made available, but also and more importantly how data is structured and related to make it usable. An example? the Shipdex protocol was successfully created by gathering around the table: Manufacturers, Shipowners and a provider of IT solutions for the shipping (SpecTec, namely).
S4S: How happy are you with the market acceptance of your products and services? What is the added value of your software?
G.C: Nowadays a lot of people go to bed with a smartphone on their nightstand. They spend an average of 2-3 hours working, navigating the internet or just fiddling with their smartphone or some similar device, but in spite of how much ‘digital’ people have become, still the Maritime Market is not always so open to digitalization. Many shipping companies still manually fill in forms and reports the likes of Engine Logs, Oil record Books and more, without using any structured electronic system. That is exactly where SpecTec and its products can help the business and in particular those companies who are reluctant to embrace an IT Solution. They are our challenge! Our strength comes from three decades of experience in this market.
S4S: Regarding future of shipping, which could be the best practices or other form of meaningful feedback that SpecTec may share with the industry to move forward?
G.C: In just a few years we might see the first crewless ship sailing the seas. It is a fact that modern ships tend to have less and less crew onboard while more control and responsibility is transferred to onshore operators. This calls for centralized systems with rich features ashore, while crewmembers need intuitive applications to interact with operational processes. Data is still too often gathered and reported by manual input and in a variety of different formats. Data from automation systems, condition monitoring systems, and navigation systems must be available and crossed with the processes managed within the CMMS in order to produce smart information.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
About Giorgio Colotti
- 1985-1991 Merchant Marine Officer
- 1991 – joined SpecTec
- From 1998 – Technical Director of SpecTec SpA (Italy)
- 2005 – Chief Technical Officer of SpecTec Group
- Period 1999-2004
- Responsible for the development of an Assets Management Integrated solution for Saipem
- Responsible for analysis and design of an Assets Management Integrated solution for Snam Gas (LNG – Storage & Distribution)
- Ø Period 2005-2007
- Major involvement for the development of an Assets Management Integrated solution for ENI Oil Libya
- Ø 2007 – to date
- Responsible for High End Consultancy and Special Projects Management for SEMEA Region