As Chief Commercial Officer I travel a lot to meet with both existing and potential customers all over the world. I consider myself fortunate because I get to talk with all kinds of people who make shipping companies run – from the mariners, managers and operators and all the way to the shipowners at the top.
Meeting all these people has put me in a position to observe and listen to different attitudes to the new technologies that are emerging faster and faster. If I were to describe it, I would say that there is a lot of excitement and curiosity – mixed with worries and unease.
I do understand their worries. Many people say that like the industrial revolutions that has happened before us, going forward is the only way. But we are living in an age of unprecedented disruptions, where technological development has outpaced many companies’ abilities to adapt their organization to all the changes themselves. Long-established ways of doing things are suddenly challenged, seemingly overnight. Many are tempted to put their engines in reverse, or at least slow down and stick with the old ways, hoping desperately that e-Navigation is just a temporary trend that will go away. But with the ECDIS Mandate concluded, the world fleet is well underway in transitioning to digital navigation, and there is no going back.
NAVTOR was established in 2011, just when the mandate was beginning to roll out. To survive in a competitive market, we had to dive right into the digital waters, and in hindsight this was the smartest thing we ever did. By committing to the digital opportunities, we were able to launch solutions that disrupted the industry and resulted in a spectacular growth from start-up to a leading force of e-Navigation technology.
Looking back on this journey has made me realize how optimistic I am about the future for navigators. This is because NAVTOR’s success has been a result of developing solutions that are not intended to replace navigators or make them redundant – but to enhance and supercharge their capabilities.
Our guiding philosophy and promise to the market have from day one been; simplifying tasks, increasing efficiency and improving operations. We strive to help our customers apply new technology to ensure that they have the best possible navigators – with the best possible tools. Just like a carpenter with bad tools cannot realize his full potential, navigators with sub-optimal tools cannot live up to their full operational potential in a digital world.
My message to all navigators out there is to find the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and explore the opportunities that lie within e-Navigation. I am certain you will realize that all the administrative, repetitive tasks related to ordering and managing nautical charts and publications does not have to consume hours of your valuable time. Passage Planning, for example, does not require you to spend hours calculating Under Keel Clearance (UKC) for each waypoint. In a digital world manual tasks can (and should) be automated, allowing you to leave the paperwork behind, free up more time to be present on the bridge and become a digital, supercharged e-Navigator!