It seems that everyone in the industry is working on cutting edge technologies these days. But more often than not, in the short term, the hype outweighs the impact. What technologies will have the biggest impact on the maritime industry through 2020 and beyond? These are our predictions for the tech trends to watch this year.
The most important technology trend to watch in 2020 will be the rise application programming interfaces (APIs) in shipping.
An API is a communication protocol that allows two applications to talk to each other automatically. The majority of cloud applications that exist today rely on API technology in some way, but maritime has been relatively slow to adopt the technology.
Though unlikely to completely kill off traditional data transfer methods such as email and EDI, those operators who embrace APIs will be able to open themselves up to a dizzying array of new ways to securely integrate their systems and services with clients, suppliers, and partners.
Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation
As the industry improves its ability to handle and share data, opportunities to embrace artificial intelligence and robotic process automation grow exponentially.
Outside of shipping, AI is being hailed as a disruptive force that will change how we live and work, and it is attracting serious investor attention. Robotic process automation (RPA) is a method for automating repetitive tasks like administration or document handling using software “bots”.
While AI can help improve decision making at sea and ashore, RPA makes it possible to scale an operation without increasing the man-hours required.
Anything from updating vessel position lists to handling insurance claims could be handled using RPA, giving humans time to focus on high-value work.
The rise of “greentech”
Starting with the IMO committing to a 50% greenhouse gas reduction target, 2019 saw a slew of announcements in support of funding green technology.
While there is no doubt that the number of vessel and port performance optimisation startups will increase, we will also undoubtedly see those tackling the long term problem of alternative fuel and propulsion methods attracting the interest of investors.
The size and immediacy of the problem, coupled with the level of risk involved in finding and scaling a solution makes the net-zero ambition a perfect target for venture capital.
Want to learn more about the maritime technology landscape?
From navigation to chartering, bunkers to freight forwarding, digitalisation has touched every facet of the shipping industry in the last decade. As the industry’s transformation from analogue to digital steps into higher gear, it is increasingly catching the attention of entrepreneurs and investors looking for big problems to solve.
In Shiptech 2020: The state of venture investment activity in the maritime industry, we explore 2019’s maritime startup activity, including:
- An overview of venture funding
- The notable investments made in the year
- New entrants to the market
- The technology trends to watch in 2020
You can download a free copy of the 27 page report below.