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Thursday, April 23, 2020 

A study, sponsored by Inmarsat, and entitled ‘A quiet revolution - the maritime innovation ecosystem in Japan’, explores the commitments to Internet of Things (IoT)-based ship and crew management already made by corporate Japan, then goes on to offer insights into the country’s start-up culture.

The report is the first in a series of profiles into maritime technology and start-ups in specific countries. Like a previous Inmarsat study, Trade 2.0: How start-ups are driving the next generation of maritime trade, it was compiled by Nick Chubb, a former seafarer and Founder and Director of Thetius Maritime Innovation Intelligence, and Leonardo Zangrando, a Naval Architect and Founder and MD  of Startup Wharf.

“We are delighted to be the key sponsor of this latest report,” said Ronald Spithout, President of Inmarsat Maritime. “It offers a perceptive insight into the status of Japan’s growing maritime digitalisation in 2020.”

Japan’s three largest global shipping carriers – K Line, Mitsui OSK Line and NYK Line - are users of Inmarsat Fleet Xpress services, Spithout points out. All three companies are committed to data sharing projects to enable optimised vessel performance, manned autonomous ships and decarbonisation. K Line has worked with Kawasaki Heavy Industries developing a ship performance optimisation platform to manage biofouling, optimise trim, and to reduce crew workload. MOL joined the National Maritime Research Institute and Furuno Electric to develop augmented reality for navigation support for VLCCs, while NYK has developed its onboard IoT platform with Monohakobi Technology Institute, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone and NTT Data.

“Partnerships have been the bedrock for digitalisation in Japan.  As the leading provider of high-speed maritime broadband connectivity via Fleet Xpress, we work closely with the large corporate enterprises pushing the technological envelope. However, this new report highlights other important relationships that are also shaping Japan’s digital future,” said Spithout, “including those outside of conventional networks, such as the E5 Lab on autonomous vessels, the Ship Data Centre and the Maritime Innovation Japan Corporation.”

Earlier this year, Inmarsat began working with Ship Data Center (ShipDC), set up by ClassNK. ShipDC promotes the initiative 'Internet of Ships Open Platform (IoS-OP)' to integrate operational data from multiple fleets.

“Now is an ideal moment for a report exploring the way Japanese maritime stakeholders are engaging in new partnerships, including with start-ups outside Japan,” said Spithout. "Clearly, with innovation remaining the priority, Fleet Xpress connectivity, Fleet Connect and the Fleet Data IoT platform will be key enablers for corporates, their partners and start-ups alike.”

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