Augmented Reality Could Transform Shipping

An article on Marine Link by Alexander Buchmann tells of how Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology game-changer set to improve the shipping industry.

According to PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ survey 24 percent of executives will make a significant investment in AR in the next three years.  Those benefits tend to appear in the real-time delivery of relevant information to employees regardless of location, the fact it will enable greater flexibility, increased operational mobility and improved efficiencies. IDC research is drawn upon – their estimation that augmented and virtual reality headset device shipments will reach almost 100 million units in 2021, up nearly 10-fold from the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016.

  • While shipping companies have traditionally been slow adopters of technology many are now embracing technology to optimize fleet management, automate their processes and improve communication between staff on ships and on shore.
  • Augmented reality, like any other cutting-edge technology, can help shipping companies to accelerate and simplify their processes.
  • It will also improve the performance of workers. For example, in the aviation industry it was reported that the use of an AR headset to help a technician wire a wind turbine’s control box improved a worker’s performance by 34 percent on first use.
  • There are nearly unlimited possibilities, especially as the technology progresses. For example, instead of looking at a GA plan on a screen, workers could look at the entire ship in 3D on a table in front of them. They could look at it from all angles, virtually highlight certain areas or display the main engine making the interaction feel more natural instead of looking at a screen.
  • Using AR-devices means screens and monitors could also become obsolete, with employees able to access cloud-based data wherever they are working. Additionally, it will render a lot of hardware redundant. Just as the smart phone included the functionality of a lot of gadgets such as camera, telephone, calendar or calculator, AR devices are one more step forward.
  • For ship inspections for example, inspectors will no longer need to take additional equipment with them because the questionnaire could be displayed directly in the room and pictures could be taken with the camera within the device.
  • There are also communication benefits e.g. virtual meetings.

The article goes to on explore who is likely to benefit most in the shipping industry and when that is likely to be.

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