Navigating new oceans of technology innovation

Artificial intelligence can streamline outfitting projects alongside invaluable human skills 

Navigating new oceans of technology innovation
Trimline’s team can save hours of design time by using the AI-powered Concept Box tool to quickly turn text into detailed visual design concepts

By Nick Farrell |

Technology is advancing rapidly and so too is the world of marine interior outfitting. At Trimline, we’re always exploring new innovative ideas and technologies to improve our designs and workflows for marine interiors. Among the most transformative technologies are artificial intelligence and machine learning, both of which promise a dynamic future for our industry. 

In the past, AI was more frequently associated with science fiction, but the term is now commonplace in today’s technology-driven society, where it refers to a machine’s capability to mimic human intelligence, make decisions and solve problems autonomously. Advances in AI and its sister technology machine learning – the science of teaching computers to learn patterns and make increasingly smarter decisions – are redefining countless industries. The marine outfitting sector is no exception, and this shift offers businesses like Trimline a multitude of opportunities to enhance efficiency and creativity. 

At Trimline, we advocate progress, but we understand the critical balance between automated efficiency and valuable human creativity and expertise. We believe AI and machine learning can help to liberate our ‘human’ team from mundane, repetitive tasks, freeing up time and thinking space for more creative and complicated endeavours. 

As an example, we use an AI-powered text analysis tool to automatically extract key information from the 300 to 400 supplier invoices we receive every month to expedite the invoicing process. Now, when the accounts team receive the invoice, it has already been coded up into our TAPP system, which we use to manage all our projects. This saves five minutes per invoice, which amounts to 33 hours of work per month, thereby giving the accounts team extra time to deal with more nuanced tasks. 

Additionally, AI can offer robust support for inter-departmental communications, simplifying data sharing and tracking, which significantly improves operations and productivity. For example, using AI tools to automatically transcribe meeting notes saves countless hours of minute-taking and speeds up the process of assigning tasks and actions. 

The design phase is another area of our operation ripe for AI assistance. When crafting a marine interior, inspiration is a vital ingredient. There’s an exciting new generation of AI-driven tools to help stimulate our design imagination. A revolutionary example is Midjourney, a tool which allows creators to visualise and explore concept spaces, rapidly manipulating layouts and décor elements. 

Having built AI-powered concept tools into TAPP (under the Concept Box name), our team can type descriptions of the elements they would like to see in their design concepts and the AI will rapidly generate intricate visual representations in real time. These dynamic and interactive images offer an instantaneous feedback loop, allowing designers to sit with our clients and quickly and efficiently experiment with ideas until they develop the perfect vision. In some cases, Concept Box has cut down weeks of the traditional back-and-forth design conversations into a two-hour brainstorming session. 

AI also enhances our abilities to review and analyse manufacturing processes within the marine interior outfitting industry. By harnessing machine learning algorithms, we can efficiently scrutinise existing production methods to identify areas for improvement and opportunities for increased elegance. Through comprehensive data analysis and pattern recognition, we hope to improve workflows, minimise waste and enhance overall productivity. 

The adoption of AI also brings a new dimension to the way we choose materials for marine interiors. Traditional material selection has often been based on limited criteria, but AI empowers us to consider multiple performance factors simultaneously. Our team can now analyse vast datasets to assess materials based on durability, sustainability, weight, cost and aesthetics, among other critical factors. By making data-driven decisions, we can confidently choose the optimum materials for specific functions, ensuring that each interior space is not only beautiful but also functionally superior. 

Sustainability is a core value at Trimline, and AI plays a pivotal role in our pursuit of eco-friendly practices. Through comprehensive audits of building techniques, we can identify areas where material use can be minimised, optimising resource utilisation without compromising on quality or aesthetics. Additionally, AI enables us to explore innovative construction methods that reduce the reliance on adhesives and other potentially harmful substances. It can help us suggest alternative materials which may be a functional and aesthetic match to those specified, but more sustainable, leading to more environmentally friendly interiors. Moreover, deconstruction is a vital consideration for sustainable design, and with AI’s assistance, we can create structures that are easily disassembled, facilitating responsible disposal and recycling at the end of their lifecycle. 

Like any new technological advancement, AI brings with it a set of advantages and potential disadvantages. The most significant benefit is the boost in efficiency. By leveraging AI’s processing power, we can automate many repetitive daily tasks, freeing up our highly skilled workforce to focus on the more complex aspects of marine interior outfitting and communicating with clients – both key to a successful project.  

Precision is also a big win here. Having an AI companion leads to fewer human errors in mundane tasks, minimising costly reworks and allowing for faster project completion and increased efficiency.  

However, AI is not intended to replace human talent. At Trimline, we consider our team’s collective experience, knowledge and creativity as our most valuable asset. While AI and machine learning can aid the creative process, human intuition and specialised skills are irreplaceable. Hence, Trimline remains committed to preserving the invaluable human touch, ensuring that each project reflects the passion and skills of our talented professionals. 

To successfully navigate the future of marine interior outfitting, businesses such as ours need to constantly adapt, evolve, and ride the technological wave. As AI systems become increasingly prevalent and more sophisticated, we must strike the right balance between embracing these new technologies and nurturing the human touch that truly sets us apart. 

We’re thrilled about the transformative potential that AI and machine learning present to our sector, and Trimline will always take the helm to steer the marine interiors industry to a future where technology and human creativity seamlessly co-exist. Ultimately, the integration of AI will empower Trimline to provide unparalleled marine interior spaces that not only meet, but also exceed, client expectations.  

Nick Farrell is co-owner of Trimline 

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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