The sea is vast and wild. But what if we could tame some of its uncertainties?

The Industrial Internet's potential benefits for maritime industries are huge. According to the Engineering Software Reliability Group (ESRG), the Industrial Internet could create  $20B in new value within this sector. Specifically, its biggest impact will come in three areas: maintenance, fuel and energy efficiency, and sustainability.

The Industrial Internet's capacity to support optimized asset maintenance on dry land has been widely discussed. Industries, from electrical utilities to airlines, use sensors and analytics to monitor the health of their assets and can now quickly respond to failures or perform preventative maintenance well in advance. But maintenance in marine industries is uniquely challenging. Often, replacement parts have to be air freighted at a high cost to wherever a vessel breaks down. With the kind of predictive knowledge enabled by the Industrial Internet, maintenance could be scheduled at more convenient and cost-effective times, when vessels are docked, or deployed in areas where supplies are readily available.

Marine equipment is also generally complex and requires greater expertise to fix. Having a constant pulse on the health of assets and the best ways to take action would help onboard technicians handle maintenance much more effectively. Ultimately, the the key benefit for asset maintenance that the Industrial Internet provides is a shift from a "break-fix" model to "predict-optimize-prevent" one.

"Prevent-optimize-prevent" drives improvements in the area of fuel and energy usage too. Unlike energy utilities, marine industries have to worry about power on both the generation and consumption levels. The complexity in optimizing both requires smart machines and advanced real-time analytics. On top of that is the challenge of balancing energy consumption, finding the optimal point between fuel for propulsion and energy for the storage and maintenance of goods (e.g., refrigeration). The ability for Industrial Internet devices and services to do these tasks already exists and could offer a great deal of savings if implemented properly.

But savings isn't the only benefit of the Industrial Internet in marine industry. Maritime activities generally have a large ecological impact, and the Industrial Internet can help to further goals of environmental responsibility and regulation compliance. According to the ESRG, the transportation sector accounts for 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and marine applications which largely run on oil account for a significant portion of these emissions. The Industrial Internet can help decision makers monitor resource usage not only in terms of efficiency, but also in terms of environmental impact, by monitoring emissions and limiting ecological harm.

The Maritime Industrial Internet has the potential to combine together the most advanced communications technologies of GPS, satellites, control systems, sensors, and advanced analytics to completely transform business at sea. The projected benefit to individual vessels could be high as $1M, but the benefit to the environment and global supply chain could, of course, be far greater.

About the author

Jan Helbing

Marketing Communications Lead at GE Software