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Live From Posidonia 2016
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Making best use of big data onboard

Big data is the way forward in ship operations but the challenge is to not only reduce the file sizes of the transmissions but also potentially move more of the decision making process onboard.

KVH Industries vp of marketing Michael Mitsock said at a press briefing at Posidonia 2016 that the company is working with the best in the business to provide software solutions but is in the very early stages of the process and is not making any announcements on partners or rollout timeframe at the moment.

Despite being one of the biggest players in the business, delivering 640TB of data and more than 25m voice calls a year, KVH is not standing still, said Mobile Broadband Group evp Brent Bruun. "We are assessing opportunities with high throughput satellites coming onstream," he said.

Looking ahead, the company will be exploring options to make use of bandwidth to help shipowners optimise their operations, Mitsock said. Some recently announced initiatives include providing AWT's weather data updates for free as part of its IP-Mobilecast service.

The next challenge with big data in ship-to-shore communications is the sheer volume of data that can potentially be generated, Mitsock said. This "vast torrent" of data can run up to 60GB of data per ship per day from a well-managed ship that is generating all the appropriate data and this can cost up to $250,000 per ship per month, thus eroding any savings that can be gained from operational optimisation.

The aim is ultimately to have more of the decision making and analysis done onboard and to give the crew the data analysis tools they need to do so. At the same time, efforts are being made to reduce the size of the files that do need to be transmitted ashore. For example Bruun said typical log files that can be as big as 10MB for 24 hours worth of ship operating data can be reduced to as small a 1KB for transmission to shore if it is cut down to its essentials, Mitsock pointed out.

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