Maritime digital transformation is driving an advanced generation of internet-based and integrated operational technologies that engender a new way to more efficiently manage vessels, fleets and ultimately, the entire transport logistics chain. The same cloud-based infrastructure, digital platforms and open ecosystems, however, can be used to power change across the entire maritime spectrum, and crew training using simulators a key area of focus.
Taking the Kognifai digital platform as an example, we are seeing the beginnings of a step-change in the way that maritime simulation is delivered to training organisations and their students. Hardware will always be important in simulator training, but digitalisation is accelerating transformation in the training sector with the aim of enabling seafarers to acquire and share more knowledge that enhances safety as well as operational efficiency in.
Initially, digitalisation for training is focusing on three core areas of improvement: Training anytime and anywhere, enabling easier access and sharing of simulation models and content, and connectivity among users.
Today’s knowledge society requires flexible learning environments that can adapt to rapidly changing training objectives and peoples’ preferences for the way they interact and receive information. An important part of the ecosystem is to enable easy access to simulation, so instructors can provide training to their students on any device, even when they are not physically present. This enables students to get more simulator time, to train anytime and anywhere, repeating difficult areas and learn at their own pace.
Instructors can easily adapt and distribute simulator exercises to a single student’s or course participant’s level of competence and learning objectives. Since Kognifai is a cloud solution, the provided simulation system will be less hardware dependent and always be the most up-to-date version.
When it comes to software, models, exercises and study material, digitalisation enables easy and cost-efficient access to required applications regardless of where and when the education or training takes place. Models and exercises, developed by Kongsberg Digital and third parties, can be downloaded and subscribed to accommodate diverse training needs. Essentially, anyone in the Kognifai ecosystem could access a library of high quality simulation exercises that fits their curriculum instead of spending time generating the exercises from the beginning. While this gives instructors easy access to learning materials and simulator assets, it is also a business opportunity for organisations to create and market their own portfolio.
Essential for such a digital ecosystem is the sharing of resources, innovation and collaboration to enhance the community’s knowledge. Kognifai makes it possible for training centers to easily connect their simulators in the same virtual exercise environment. Instructors and students can be located globally, and specialist organisations can contribute remotely, i.e.; a training center with specific domain expertise e.g. search and rescue, can contribute in an exercise organised by a provider without this specialism. Connected simulator exercises are happening today but usually on a customized, special projects basis. With a digital platform it can become the norm.
The benefits of a digital open ecosystem to maritime training are many, and frankly, only limited by the imagination. In the context of Kognifai at least. training providers can better monitor and keep track of courses and students’ progress. It will be easier to follow up on crewmembers’ competence with e.g. automated retraining reminders. By collecting and analyzing data it will be possible to discover in which areas of competence building students are struggling, what courses are the most popular and to adapt the education to present standards and regulations in order to get required certificates. It will simply be much easier to provide, administrate and evaluate training.
The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is a pilot-customer for the cloud-based application of simulation technology and among the first to offer ‘simulation as a service’. By integrating Kongsberg Digital’s K-Sim Engine Thermal Power Plant (TPP) simulator with Kognifai, it will enable students to train anytime and anywhere. Initially, students at BCIT’s School of Energy will use the K-Sim Engine TPP simulator for industrial/utilities engineers, by giving them access to the simulator on their own devices. However, BCIT will extend this to maritime engine rooms.
BCIT is already an innovator in distance learning and has a wide range of online course offerings available to its extensive student body. The ability to provide real-time TPP training with Kognifai allows the institute to extend parts of its Power Engineering program outside the classroom, the campus and indeed the province in a completely new way. BCIT expects to service the training requirements of a wide range of power engineers, from introductory level and fourth class power engineering students all the way to first class engineers and the industrial training market, with the same certification online as on site.
While distance learning is not new, the ability to run a fully dynamic thermal power plant in real time from the cloud certainly is. BCIT clients will benefit from being able to provide employees with the ability to train at their convenience, at designated times or after hours, removing the need to take the workforce out of regular operations for extended periods of time for training. And while K-Sim Engine is the initial focus, Kongsberg Digital will roll out its K-Sim Navigation and K-Sim Offshore simulator capabilities on Kognifai going forward.
New revenue streams
As established, maritime digital transformation is being driven by cost efficiencies, and in parallel to the training improvements, Kognifai and K-Sim together also provide a new financial structure for the training industry. As the solution is provided as a service, the cost could be related to the usage, enabling providers to only pay for licenses that are used.
Cloud-based training empowers training providers to introduce more cost-effective packages for their customers while maximising and creating new revenue streams. Kognifai enables portfolios of exercises to be downloaded and shared within the training organisation. Ultimately, this ability to share content will make exercises of higher quality available to the students and also provide financial value for training organisations that develop and make content available to others.•