Wilhelmsen: A Different Kind Of Reality For The Maritime Industry

People outside the shipping industry rarely appreciate the inherent challenges we face in ensuring that American designed shoes, manufactured in Vietnam, are always in stock and on shelves in Hong Kong sneaker stores day in and day out.

Or that German cars are sat in the showrooms of Australian dealerships in time for a key market release. So what do you think it takes to keep 90% of world trade ticking over?


Competent, motivated and dedicated people. Driven by an urge to modernize but operating within the framework of a plethora of regulations. It is training, preparedness and competence which remain the foundations on which our industry is built.

Norwegian Wilhelmsen Ship Management
Representation Image – Credits: wartsila.com

However, shipping is currently in the midst of a major transformation and it is arguably the most significant it has ever faced. As a relatively isolated industry is currently being disrupted from all sides, by a number of unlinked, regulatory-driven issues. These are forcing the industry to develop and find new ways to respond.

Digital developments that have taken other industries by storm years ago are now ripe for the taking by the maritime industry, at scale. Many of these technologies have been tried and tested with good results in other applications and markets, offering efficiency gains that we simply cannot ignore. Augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies are one such area.

A new development for the maritime industry, every company needs to understand its own position and capability to potentially adopt this technology.

The opportunity these technologies give us are both tremendous and unprecedented.

For example, using augmented reality for shore-based staff to easily identify systems and parts required, or equipment installation planning dramatically reduces the time needed to procure.

Virtual reality models for dangerous work processes ensures familiarisation for new crew, or practice for experienced crew, helping them avoid costly mistakes. Mixed reality can significantly enhance capabilities and service levels for field service technicians.

A key element of simulation-based training, gamification, and virtual reality offers us the ability to cross the language barrier. Visualization and graphical approaches mean that training is more intuitive and therefore embedded in muscle memory. For emergency training, saving vital minutes due to this practice could literally mean the difference between life and death.

The convergence of this magic trinity for Industry 4.0 is now taking the shipping industry by storm. With data, computing power and communication coming together, overcoming accessibility limitations in remote deep-sea locations, the application of these technologies is just a short step away.

But challenges remain. The dramatically short supply of quality 3D models for ships, ship-based systems, and specific vessel installations is one key issue. To embrace a digital culture on a human level in this traditional and by default conservative industry is the other obvious challenge.

We, at Wilhelmsen, have worked hard to take the first steps in this new direction, developing our AR tool for use in conjunction with our range of marine products. In addition, we are working on introducing a VR welding process training package that enables training, competence assessment and certification.

The ecosystem is being built up and together we can work towards being both safer and smarter. What the shipping industry needs most is to bridge the vast domain competence that sits within the industry, with the technological expertise that has successfully implemented these new tools in other industries. Adopting this new technology to solve key pain points as an industry we can work together to ensure that all our stakeholders respond to this new opportunity in a proactive manner.

All doing our bit to shed this boring, staid reputation that the industry is painted with, shipping can take its rightful place in the competition to attract the talent and expertise of tomorrow. Such small steps towards shaping the maritime industry will help ensure international trade continues safely and sustainably, leaving consumers with better things to worry about. Like which Air Jordans to buy or whether its time to upgrade their SUV.

Reference: wilhelmsen.com/Special edition on AR/VR, CIO Advisor magazine September 13, 2019

Disclaimer :
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

Do you have info to share with us ? Suggest a correction

Latest Shipping News You Would Like:

Get the Latest Maritime News Delivered to Your Inbox!

Our free, fast, and fun newsletter on the global maritime industry, delivered everyday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *