Technology has always interested me. How it alters our lives, makes it more comfortable, more exciting, and shoves us one step closer to what we’ve already imagined as depicted in books, movies, and other forms of art. Though as we think of marketing concepts and our smartphones when we hear the term, digital innovation, there is a much bigger world out there being pushed toward technological advancements through digital innovations. In the article, Top Digital Innovations Changing the Maritime Industry, international shipping and trade CEO, Victor Restis, makes some fascinating commentary when it comes to the global shipping and supply chains.
Supply chains weren’t something many people thought about before COVID-19 invaded our lives. I didn’t know much about how product moved from manufacturing and processing to packaging and shipping. Like many, I simply went to the store, purchased what I needed, and went about my business. COVID-19 made me think about how delicate the supply chain really is and how close we came to a worldwide shut down of products – I’m thinking food – and what would have happened if supply chains were disrupted.
However, the maritime industry stood up to COVID and is now upgrading the technology that makes it all run smoothly. I am particularly interested in virtual reality (VR). This is a leading technology in many industries, and the maritime industry seems to be using it at its fullest and where it matters most – to enhance the human element. The articles state there are more than 2 million seafarers and maritime personnel responsible for processes and procedures that make the supply chain “machine” a well-oiled operation. Implementing digitally innovative measures to upgrade health and safety monitoring for seafarers is an investment in pipeline security and ensures that any future world events that threaten our supply chains are met with more potent force.
Being a futuristic minded person, I am drawn to the idea of robotics and autonomous vessels in the maritime industry. Though Mr. Restis says in the article that self-driving cargo vessels are not something the industry will see anytime soon, it is interesting to learn about how robotics and AI are making the industry stronger. Cybersecurity is a threat every industry needs to protect against, and to prevent cyberattacks against the maritime industry is extremely important. Anything that threatens the movement of vessels, docks, warehouses, trucking, or any other element that could prevent products from reaching our shores and ultimately, our homes and kitchen tables, is job number one. I am relieved that the industry, along with Mr. Restis, is using digital innovations to help thwart any planned attacks in the future.