Making ships smarter with intelligent technologies

Sam Ballard asks Tallink how passenger expectations, new onboard technologies and remote monitoring systems are creating intelligent ships

Making ships smarter with intelligent technologies

This article was first published in Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Tallink Grupp has come a long way since it began life as the Finnish Steamship Enterprise in 1883. It has been a major player in the Baltic region for more than a century and its modern-day fleet of 14 vessels now includes nine cruise ships, three fast ro-pax ferries and two cargo ships.

“As the leading short-cruise provider on the Baltic sea, Tallink has always been innovative and aimed to offer customers the latest services and solutions,” says Tonu Liik, Tallink’s CIO. “Our newbuilds are always built to meet, or exceed, the latest trends in shipping technology. The performance of our existing ships is continuously assessed and improved, based on our extensive in-house experience and the new technologies that are becoming available. Using advanced technologies, such as remote monitoring and efficiency management, allows us to reach new milestones in improving overall safety and ship performance.”

Tallink is also an active player in international initiatives, for example it is helping to find better ice routes to make its ships more efficient. Like all modern-day operators, the company is also subject to the changing demands of its passengers, who now expect more than ever before in terms of onboard services.

“Passenger expectations to services on board are evolving constantly as our everyday lives change,” explains Liik. “Today’s passengers expect completely different services compared to just 10 years ago. The only way to provide the services our guests expect, and stay ahead of the competition, is to introduce new technologies onboard.”

For Liik, a key part of this is ensuring that passengers can stay connected while at sea. Given that Tallink transported 9.5 million passengers in 2016 – a 5.4% increase from 2015 – any technological growth requires a lot of bandwidth.

“Communication is an essential asset for driving innovation,” he says. “We believe that the current communication trends will continue, but will hit new levels. We’re aiming to benefit from the development of the direct antenna systems. Meanwhile, satellite communication prices have changed and we’re increasingly exploring how to use this for the benefit of our passengers. At the same time, mobile communication technology is rapidly moving forward. In 2017 for example, we carried out 5G tests onboard our vessels – the first of such tests to be carried out in the world. Whenever there’s a new communication trend or solution coming up, we always take a closer look at it and see whether it’s something that could benefit our customers.”

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018