Classification society DNV GL has released a new position paper setting out the importance of standardisation in enabling the growth of digital applications in the maritime industry. Drawing from the experiences gained from digital pilot projects focused on ship sensor data, the paper examines how standardisation can enable the effective collection, storage, exchange, analysis and use of data, while contributing to improved data quality and sensor reliability.
Whether for operational optimization, model calibration for digital twins, design optimization or other applications, the maritime industry is exploring the opportunities offered by digital technologies. The first demonstration and pilot projects are already well underway and the industry is asking what is needed to transform these into fully scalable products. The answer could be a greater emphasis on standardisation.
“Standards are used in many industries to advance efficiency, safety and environmental performance,” says Pierre Sames, Group Technology and Research Director, DNV GL. “With the rise of the Internet of Things in shipping, we believe that many stakeholders can benefit from developing a standardisation strategy to take advantage of a more digital maritime industry.”
DNV GL’s new position paper focuses on the collection of ship sensor data, as increased sensor availability lets us collect both existing and new types of data more efficiently, with the result that more data is available than ever before. But as more data is being collected, exchanged and prepared for use, the origin, quality level, context, and legal status can become less transparent – the result being that end users are less likely to trust and therefore use the data.
“At DNV GL we have been involved in many digitalisation pilot and demonstration projects,” says Steinar Låg, Senior Researcher in Maritime Transport at DNV GL. “By looking at the results of these projects we identified several technical barriers that are hampering the data flow and usage. Too much time is spent matching and structuring different systems, while data collection products from different vendors often have incompatible outputs – making it difficult to combine the data of multiple systems. This makes the processes less efficient and more difficult for shipowners to obtain a complete picture of a vessel or their fleet.”
The report discusses the need for standardisation in six key areas: Ship data models, sensor naming and referencing, maritime taxonomies and code books, sensor metadata, shipboard data recorder, as well as sensor quality and reliability. However, as future technologies develop, there may be a need for new standards to support other applications, such as model-based simulations and autonomous ships.
“At DNV GL we will continue to work with industry stakeholders on new standards at the same time as we develop new rules, class notations, recommended practices and type approval programmes,” says Pierre Sames. “Standards are a key factor in removing barriers and enabling the growth of digital applications in the maritime industry and we hope this study will inspire others to invest in the development and adoption of standardisation.”