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A year in the life of the Smart Marine Vision

2018 was the first full year of Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine Vision in action, and progress unfolded more quickly and more intensively than any observer could have expected.

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Andrea Morgante, Vice President Strategy and Business Development for Wärtsilä Marine Business, was always hopeful of such a result, however. “We believed the Smart Marine Vision made sense,” he says. “We didn’t think of it as a gamble. We saw that this had to happen, and I’m so glad to see the way it has accelerated.”

The team behind Smart Marine certainly understood the underlying needs in the industry to embrace digitalisation, realise synergies, and work towards more sustainable operations. Their main concerns in the beginning, however, related to how quickly they would be able to bring people on board with the idea; from internal stakeholders, such as management and personnel, all the way to the customers themselves.

In Morgante’s view, the reason the thinking behind the vision has spread so widely is the commitment from Wärtsilä’s management. He points to the close involvement of the President of Marine, Roger Holm, and Group CFO Arjen Berends as being particularly important; “With leaders of this caliber challenging your views, the result of that process is almost guaranteed to flourish. Those conversations really served to strengthen our approach.”

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Compounding the benefits 

Foremost among the events of a busy year of Smart Marine-related developments must surely be Wärtsilä’s acquisition in March of Transas – a leader in marine navigation solutions, training and simulation services, and ship traffic control.

Investing in the vision and taking on the strategy has necessitated making such acquisitions. By bringing in companies like Transas and Guidance Marine, Wärtsilä has hastened the journey considerably, acquiring with them technologies that would have been extremely time-consuming, or perhaps even impossible, to develop organically.

“From a strategic perspective,” Morgante explains, “the Transas acquisition brought us to a new level, as the first company able to cover the entire domain in terms of the technologies required for ocean transportation.

“Wärtsilä already held a strong position regarding everything related to the vessel – from power production and power delivery, to control automation and navigation. What we were lacking, for example, was expertise in port operations, which Transas has. We also missed fleet-operation solutions, which Transas has as well. This combination simply makes us the first company that can provide a complete end-to-end solution, providing everything the customer needs to go from A to B with their vessel.”

‘In practice’ makes perfect

“There are certain things you just need to acquire as opposed to develop,” says Morgante, “and it’s amazing to see these new elements working in combination with the existing offering. The latest auto-docking project we carried out in Norway in November is a perfect example of how combining the technologies we have in our portfolio with completely new solutions, provides a competitive advantage for Wärtsilä. To succeed in that, we also needed the acquired capabilities, bringing in colleagues from across the organisation along with their technologies.”

The operation that resulted – using the Norled Folgefonn ferry, as detailed below – emerged as the first fully autonomous dock-to-dock operation ever demonstrated. But Morgante stresses that world firsts are not necessarily the priority, impressive as they might be:

“The fact that we are seeing ‘world firsts’ of this or that merely shows that we are on to something. It demonstrates that companies believe that new solutions need to be brought to the market and that there is interest from the market in those solutions.”

Ultimately, Morgante strongly believes that the winner in this field will not be the player to bring the most novelty to the market, but rather the one with proven technology and a strong list of references. Nevertheless, he is pleased to note the increased pace at which such developments are coming to light, and that the support required from customers is already present.

“Co-creation can easily become a buzz word if there are no practical implications. For us, it means bringing companies together - each providing their own expertise, their technological accomplishments, and access to their assets – to do something new. And this is extremely important when you’re developing completely new solutions.

“For a new engine,” he points out, “you can build on the extensive experience gained from previous ones. But if you aim to come up with something completely new, the technology itself is not enough. You need to have a customer with you so that you can demonstrate how the technology improves their business.”

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Updates keenly awaited

Morgante is already looking forward to seeing how other elements of the Transas offering will shape the way Wärtsilä serves its customers.

“What excites me most is that I felt Transas truly understood that we need to bring to the maritime industry the concepts that had been around for some time already on the consumer side. Deploying applications on top of the equipment you have already provided, for example, without the necessity for additional hardware. If you think about your iPhone, every year an OS update brings new functionalities, allowing new apps to develop and so forth."

“This is the super exciting part. And it’s one element we acquired with Transas and are now using and deploying with our products. This is a race to develop the potential which already exists, in some ways. We’ve been working actively since the acquisition to connect the wealth of technology we have in our portfolio. This is one of the must-win battles for us – to connect the dots and find solutions that extract more benefits through the act of combining them: one plus one makes three, basically.”

And for such an ambitious series of actions, a similarly ambitious outlook is a must. Morgante makes his personal commitment to Wärtsilä’s purpose indelibly clear. “What we want to do is to change the world. Personally speaking, I want it tomorrow – not 30 years from now. It's inspiring the whole organisation to think in these terms, and by providing solutions like these for the existing fleets already out there, we’re accelerating the process and bringing the future even closer.”

2018 in Smart Marine

JANUARY 2018

  • Wärtsilä integrated solutions on next-generation shuttle tankers

Four vessels are ordered by Teekay with fully integrated Wärtsilä solutions (DF engines, LNGPac, VOC recovery, pumps, inert gas generator, hybrid system, Eniram analytics); CO2 will be reduced by up to 40%.

FEBRUARY 2018

  • Partnership with Concirrus for connected insurance

Wärtsilä launches Eniram SkyLight 3.0, to enable new data-driven business opportunities, including flexible insurance solutions, charter party compliance assessment, and vessel performance monitoring services.

  • Wärtsilä Global Customer Support Centre

Wärtsilä launches a Global Customer Support Centre to provide easily accessible, transparent, and high-quality online and phone support 24/7 for enquiries regarding all products and solutions in the portfolio.

MARCH 2018

  • Wärtsilä acquires Transas

Wärtsilä acquires Transas, a global leader in marine navigation, fleet operating solutions, simulators, and ship traffic control; Transas has a unified cloud-platform for managing operations across the ecosystem.

JULY 2018

  • Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings develops remote services

New smart glasses with WiFi, Bluetooth, camera and microphone enable real-time communication with a remotely located Wärtsilä expert who can advise and guide the repairs using images, manuals and video footage.

AUGUST 2018

  • Wärtsilä Smart Technology Hub

A next-generation centre of innovation and production is announced. It will also be a co-created state-of-the-art smart manufacturing campus, where the city, universities, suppliers, and customers can all co-exist and collaborate.

SEPTEMBER 2018

  • An Oceanic Awakening and SEA20 announced

Wärtsilä launches ‘An Oceanic Awakening’ and SEA20 at SMM. This global forum has the aim of connecting 20 marine cities to drive sustainability; Rotterdam, Hamburg and Helsinki have already joined.

OCTOBER 2018

  • Wärtsilä Hybrid Centre

Wärtsilä inaugurates the world’s first real-scale hybrid centre in Italy. The centre will simulate real operations through data collected from the field, and will be used for training, R&D, and to improve factory efficiencies.

  • Redesigning organisation to enhance customer value

Wärtsilä announces re-organisation from three businesses into two – Wärtsilä Marine Business and Wärtsilä Energy Business – covering both new sales and services for the respective markets to deliver increased value to customers by better serving their needs throughout the full lifecycle.

  • Maritime Cyber Centre of Excellence

Together with Templar Executives, Wärtsilä opens the world’s first International Maritime Cyber Centre of Excellence in Singapore, consisting of a Maritime Cyber Emergency Response Team and a cyber academy.

  • Acceleration Centre Singapore & IntelliTug

Wärtsilä, MPA, and PSA Marine will develop a harbour tug with autonomous navigation, technologies to dynamically maintain safe distances, prevent collisions, and allow tug operators to work with colleagues ashore via real time data connection.

NOVEMBER 2018

  • Wärtsilä Lock Entry Assist

Wärtsilä develops a lock entry assist system to facilitate sailing on the St Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes; the system uses high performance GNSS and was tested on the CSL St Laurent, a 22,600 GT Trillium class bulk carrier.

  • Wärtsilä Automated Dock-to-dock System

The Norled Folgefonn, an 85m ferry, was able to leave the dock, manoeuvre out of the harbour, sail to the next port, manoeuvre through the harbour entrance, and dock alongside the terminal, all without human intervention.

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