A new initiative designed to increase innovation within Wilhelmsen and create new industry partnerships has opened its doors in Oslo, Norway. Other shipping companies and digital solutions providers attended the launch event of the Maritime Innovation Lab.

The core idea is simple: to support vendors and startup businesses with easier access to maritime knowledge and experience.

The benefits are many and varied. By using the Maritime Innovation Lab as a test-bed, startups can benefit from extensive industry experience, while Wilhelmsen is able to help shape the digital solutions of the future. The opening of the lab is a key building block on the journey for Wilhelmsen to be a shaper of a digital maritime industry.

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Acess to skills and experience

Startups accepted into the lab will be provided office space, and access to skills and experience both in the Wilhelmsen global network and from global companies like DNV GL, Aker BP, and the Kongsberg Group. Startups will also get to pitch their products to industry experts at regular demo days.

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At the industry event, Nor-Shipping 2017, Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) unveiled an augmented reality (AR) app that allows users to view information such as product performance, spare part compatibility, usage and safety data, videos and infographics, while browsing the product portfolio. Developed in conjunction with Austrian technology company Imagination Computer Services GesmbH, the technology is a shining example of what can be achieved through collaboration.

Thinking like a startup

While the Maritime Innovation Lab will host vendors and startups, it’s also open to anyone across the Wilhelmsen group. The hope is that with time, companies in the group use the lab for all types of strategic initiatives.

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The lab can function as part of their extended team, by taking challenges and projects out of the everyday operational environment.

This will encourage entrepreneurship, and create a problem-solving start-up culture that will be critical for future success.

Collaboration is the future

Gone are the days when one company can do everything itself. From the customer perspective, deep sea shipping is just one piece of a logistical puzzle that may involve many other players. For this reason, future technology solutions should be geared towards collaboration and the sharing of data.

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Some companies propose solutions that attempt to solve everything using algorithms and big data. Wilhelmsen understands the complex nature and customer requirements of the deep-sea business.

By opening its doors to such companies, Wilhelmsen can help shape the digital products and services that can solve real industry problems.