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The increasing volume of global trade has led to a corresponding increase in opportunities and challenges in the maritime industry. In tackling these challenges, advanced technologies are being deployed by industry practitioners. Innovations like the Internet of Things, smart devices powered by sensors, hybrid propulsion systems, and big data analytics are at the forefront of progress in Maritime.

These systems also come along with their own unique requirements such as the need to specially train personnel in using them. More importantly as well, they have to be  deployed in ways that are environmentally sustainable, keeping GHG emissions at the barest minimum.

IoT, Virtual Reality, Big Data…

So, going into the new decade, which of these technologies will stand out? Which ones are worth paying special attention to? Below is a list of 5 innovations that we think you should be on the look-out for:

Virtual And Augmented Reality: Virtual Reality has been very useful in making navigation systems work. Through maps and interactive displays, VR has made it easy for vessels to find their ways through international waters. The next evolution of this technology is Augmented Reality in which actual pictures and videos will be combined with already existing VR systems. This cannot be coming at a better time as the industry is looking towards self-navigating systems for vessels and AR will be an important feature in making it happen.

Hybrid and Alternative Propulsion: The necessity for this technology is a result of rising concerns about the environmental effects of Maritime activities such as GHG emissions. The industry is looking to take advantage of renewable energy sources and other alternatives to reduce the carbon footprint and keep the planet safe for us all. In the immediate, hybrid systems- combining renewable with traditional are helping to bridge the gap and make progress. Beyond environmental sustainability, hybrid systems also help to reduce energy costs (by about 20% in some vessels).

Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is a system of harvesting data from a host of connected devices, especially through their embedded sensors. The information is relayed in real time to cloud servers, and in many cases, devices within an IoT system are even able to share data and communicate with each other. This tech feature will be an important tool in vessel maintenance and will be critical in extending their life-cycles. Consistent data collection will enhance preventive maintenance by alerting operators to fix faults  before they escalate.

Big Data and Analytics: This is related to IoT. As streams of data are collected on a minute by minute basis from various devices, this huge chunk of data can be aggregated and analyzed using machine learning and predictive analytic tools. Maritime companies will be able to make more accurate forecasts based on historical data. Budgeting and logistics planning will become much easier as companies have reliable predictions to work with.

Optimized Vessel Design and Building: By combining advanced materials with intelligent design, the shipbuilding processes of the new decade will be faster and far more environmentally sustainable. Smart features like self-cleaning and self-repairing materials will make vessels inherently safer and less expensive to maintain even before they commence operations.


We are excited to see how these technologies will make the maritime industry improve safety, efficiency, and profitability. Learning more about them will help to improve your value and position you at the heart of progress in the industry