15/03/2022 - News

Quality not quantity: what we need to know about using data to optimise operations

interconnectivity within the maritime industry and the need to collect and use data in a smart way

The take-home message from a recent webinar on fuel monitoring conducted by Riviera Maritime Media reinforces something fundamental about the way Opsealog approaches data analysis: it’s data quality not quantity that counts.

Already, many ship operators are gaining a better understanding of the power of data. There have been plenty of demonstrations of the fuel savings that can be achieved. For instance, we helped one of our clients in Southeast Asia save 1,200 cubic meters of fuel in six months, corresponding to about 3,000 tons of avoided CO2 emissions and $445,000 saved.

Clearly the more sources of data, both historical and real-time, the greater the sophistication we can achieve in our data analysis. So why then do we say that it is quality, rather than quantity, that is important?

If data is not accurate, or not formatted in a way that enables amalgamation and comparison, it is not going to give us what we need to optimise vessel performance, no matter how much of it we have. That is, after all, exactly the problem ship operators have faced in the past. How do you convert written notes in a noon report into insights that are relevant to a vessel’s future performance? How do you convert historical trends from one vessel into useful insights for your whole fleet?

Even if you have sensors installed on your onboard equipment, smart people, artificial intelligence and machine learning can only plug so many data gaps with workable accuracy if those sensors are continually malfunctioning. These are the practical problems we face – complex, sometimes unreliable data from many sources that is too siloed to deliver tangible insights.

Equally, even relatively small datasets can offer significant potential when it comes to optimising vessel operations and saving fuel. Opsealog understands that collecting the right type of data and analysing it thoroughly can deliver fast and strong returns, as well as meaningful environmental benefits, on a limited budget. A very telling example is our pilot project with Identec and Shell in Nigeria: by using precise data on the position of support vessels, we were able to unlock major efficiencies in Shell’s support fleet, thereby delivering significant savings in time, costs, and fuel.

Facilitating the uptake of digital solutions

Established habits and complex internal workflows can slow down the implementation of new solutions. It’s not going to get any simpler with the uptake of new fuels, onboard energy storage systems and more complex ship power management systems. Digitalisation must assist the life of crews and decision-makers, by delivering clear insights that they can activate in their day-to-day work.

This is why we believe that big data is just a big opportunity lost without the right expertise and the right tools to turn it into smart data. Without the insights provided by smart data, it is hard to identify operational inefficiencies, let alone fix them.

Our very own onboard data collection service, Streamlog, simplifies daily reporting onboard vessels by digitising information, mitigating errors, and facilitating data entry for personnel. We then integrate multiple data streams into a single, unified platform, providing vessel operators with visualisation and expert analysis on our Marinsights platform.

As a ship operator, you therefore spend less time gathering and processing data, and more time taking action to reduce fuel consumption, thereby cutting costs and lowering your emissions.