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Navigating the Digital SeasHow Open IT Architectures Propel Maritime Innovation

How can the variety of systems and equipment on board a ship function together and communicate, let alone make good use of each other, when they do not even speak the same language?

Reading time: 2 minutes

Establishing an association

Telenor Maritime, Color Line, Stena Line, DNV and several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have taken the initiative to explore how shipowners and suppliers can establish an association to promote an open IT architecture with maritime data standards. The initiative is currently in search of additional founding members to realize the vision of establishing a fully operational association. Their purpose is stated as follows:


"A non-profit association, which develops and delivers specifications and standards supporting an IT architecture with open interfaces, thereby enabling interoperability for on-board and back-office IT systems. This will enable the maritime industry to collaborate together to bring speed, cost efficiency and innovation power to digitalization."


The initiators have drawn inspiration and learned from the public transportation sector, which has successfully established such an association, called ITxPT.


The Challenge: Siloed data systems 

Today there are primarily closed, siloed and fragmented systems on board a vessel, and ships are essentially prototypes with unique designs and configurations. A large amount of data is generated from sensors, management systems and logbooks etc. However,much of it remains unused and isolated in its own application or system, providing zero value to other relevant parties.


This lack of interoperability and data-driven collaboration is a great barrier to maritime digitalization. An open architecture and open maritime data standard, would therefore be an effective way to reduce shipowners costs on many levels, improve vessel performance, lower emissions and over all accelerate digital transformation in the industry.


The Unified Future:

The journey towards a unified and interoperable maritime data standard is not just a technological upgrade; it's a pathway to a more connected, efficient and sustainable maritime future. Without unified standards, we cannot unlock the full potential of maritime data.


The initiative ITXMaritime, will be presented at the upcoming Shippax Ferry Conference 2024, 13-15 May on board Tallink’s Baltic Queen.


ITXMaritime an association for open IT architecture in the marine industry
ITXMaritime an association for open IT architecture in the marine industry

Here are some valuable points on what the new association can deliver:

Key drivers and benefits:

  • Cost savings through shared resources: Companies can reduce costs associated to research and development by utilizing a shared collection of open source software and tools. It avoids duplication of effort and spreads the costs among multiple members.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Interoperable digital solutions can streamline operations, reduce manual processes, and minimize errors. This leads to faster changes, improved logistics management, and ultimately cost savings.
  • Access to new and radical innovations: Members gain early access to the latest technologies and innovations developed within the foundation. Early adoption can drive efficiency and cost savings.
  • Improved data analysis and insights: By participating in a network that promotes data sharing and interoperability, businesses can access a richer dataset, resulting in better analysis, more informed decision-making processes, and improved strategic planning.
  • Reduced compliance and regulatory costs: The foundation can work towards one standard across the industry. This will reduce the challenge of complying with various international regulations and can lead to significant savings in compliance costs.
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities: Membership offers networking opportunities with other industry players, potentially leading to partnerships, joint ventures, or collaborative projects that can reduce individual project costs.
  • Training and skill development: Members may have access to training programs, workshops, and seminars, which can be more cost-effective than external training sources. This helps increase the skills of employees and keep them updated on the latest industry trends and technologies.
  • Market visibility and brand enhancement: Being part of a respected industry organization can improve a company's market visibility and reputation. This affiliation can be leveraged in marketing and customer acquisition efforts. 
  • Influence on industry standards: Members can have a voice in the development of industry standards and ensure they are practical and beneficial to their business operations, potentially saving costs associated with adapting to externally imposed standards.
  • Risk mitigation: Shared knowledge and best practices within the foundation can help businesses anticipate and mitigate risks more effectively, especially in technology implementation and digital transformation initiatives.