First let’s understand what Big Data is, a quick google search tells you, in a nutshell, that Big Data is:
Extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.
And this data is coming from everything, social media exchanges, mobile devices, digital processes, all of it can be used to help your business to run more efficiently, hire better and make more money.
Sounds brilliant, but how does this apply to shipping?
Shipping transports a staggering 90% of the world’s trade, that is quite some number, but in terms of where it is digitally as an industry, it is years, possibly even decades behind other transport and logistic industries.
Coupled with the instability of shipping at the moment, you start to see the magnitude of the problem the industry is currently facing.
The shipping industry generates roughly 100-120 million data points every day, from ports, couriers, social media feeds, vessel movements, the list goes on. What big data can do is help you identify quicker routes, better ports to deliver at, more efficient couriers, this means that you can find extra 5 to 10 % increase in the performance of your company.
A great example of how other industries are using big data would be to look at delivery companies, they are using the data to analyse consumer behaviour; when they are home when they are not, also why some deliveries take longer than others, this can be anything from having to go up some stairs to not being able to find somewhere to park, this data can then be used to allow more delivery time and even change what times deliveries are made. It is about using data in a way that cuts down on that all too precious commodity, time.
Most of the big shipping companies have made an investment into looking at Big Data and utilising it in their everyday operations, but what needs to happen now is that this needs to filter down to the smaller companies and sink into being an every-day factor of operations.
It is this underinvestment, as well as blockages in the sharing of information between every component of shipping, that is contributing to the downturn of the industry.
MarineTraffic are trying to change this, using AIS technology (which is short data transmitted by vessels about their identity, destination, course, speed etc) it will enable maritime to move into a new digital sphere, which will allow for better decision making, more transparency, better analysis and eventually improved forecasting.
And it is not just MarineTraffic looking to the future, other companies are also attempting to row against the tide and educate the industry on what Big Data can do for shipping companies, such as Ship Data Center which is a subsidiary of ClassNK, which was set up this year to gather data from various vessels from Japanese shipping companies to monitor voyages, as well as hull structure.
Genscape are leading the way with Big Data by offering companies real-time data and intelligence, meaning important efficiency decisions are made on the most up to date data available.
ClearMetal a Lloyd’s List Big Data Awards winner, are another very interesting company utilising data science and machine learning technology to drive companies to their upmost efficiency. Built by the top engineers from Stanford University and Silicon Valley, they use cloud computing, artificial intelligence and simulators to predict the needs and wants of the container and shipping industry.
Another award winning company Accuritas (ShippingInsight 2016 Award) offer shipping companies customised business intelligence, big data, and data management giving you accurate performance monitoring allowing for confident and efficient decision making, across all levels of your business.
If you would like to know more about Big Data and the future of Maritime the Shipping2030 conference run by KNect365 will take an in depth view at how Shipping will look in the future, including panel discussions and sessions on Big Data such as; Strategic Big Data for shipping – From Cost Cutting to Value Creation, Panel: Data as a new business opportunity in Maritime, Innovation Hub – Big Data & Analytics – Shipistics. The conference will be led by KD Adamson, CEO of Futurenautics and a Futurist.
We are just at the very beginning of the Big Data trend, and make no mistake this is a long term game, but you will reap the rewards in the future.