Three lessons learnt from BigDataOcean exploitation

BigDataOcean – as an ambitious market-oriented H2020 Innovation Action – has considered the stream of activities related to exploitation as linchpin for making project results sustainable over time and capable of generating returns for project partners and well beyond.

After 30 months of intensive exploitation-oriented action driven forward by Journey from Lab to Market’ (JLM) innovation advisory practice, the Consortium has distilled three prominent lessons learnt exploitation-wise.

Less PPT, more MVP – In the second half of the period, all end-user applications generated by BigDataOcean business cases have been showcased to the maritime community through tangible MVPs. Getting the product into users’ hands, learning from their feedback, and iterating on that learning while continuing to evolve the product proved to be a sound way to validate the capacity of BigDataOcean solutions to meet needs and priorities of prospects involved in business conversations and trial experimentations. Thanks to such an approach, BigDataOcean has been able to gather a community of maritime organizations that recognize the value of BigDataOcean solutions and are eager to adopt them as working tool.

Diversity as an opportunity – A peculiar trait of BigDataOcean project has been to gather a diversified group of partners, including companies, maritime stakeholders, and researchers. This provided the Consortium with a pronounced capacity to observe the complex maritime sector from multiple and complementary perspectives. This has been exemplified, for instance, by the ‘innovation playground’ in Business Case 1 where two sectoral end-users and an innovative ICT company co-created two solutions addressing some of the toughest challenges faced by ship-owning companies of any kind. Similarly, in BigDataOcean commercial partnership, a science-based startup (i.e., HOLISTIC), a technology provider (i.e., Ubitech), and a maritime business champion (i.e., EXMILE) decided to team up to harness the full competitive potential of Big Data in the maritime sector. Even if sometimes the Consortium has struggled to connect two diverse communities, such as the Big Data one and the maritime one, this has been a prerequisite for creating a long-term business destination.

Impact as driving force – During the entire project lifecycle, BigDataOcean exploitation has been considered as a means rather than as an end. By bringing digital revolution to the maritime industry, BigDataOcean has been working to exert relevant impacts on the maritime industry at large in terms of triple sustainability (i.e., environmental, social, economic). Taking into account, for instance, a crucial sector such as the maritime transport – which carries 74% of the European trade – the portfolio of BigDataOcean solutions makes it greener (i.e., environmental impact), smarter (i.e., economic impact), and more secure (i.e., social impact). Regarding our planet, one of the Business Case 1 solution optimizes the consumption of fuel as a function of environmental and journey conditions, thus limiting the environmental footprint of seaborne transportation. BigDataOcean-enabled data-driven maritime transport is also smarter, which means ensuring enhanced reliability and cost-effectiveness of transport services of any kind, either moving passengers or freight: to this end, the other Business Case 1 solution uncovers hidden patterns of equipment failures depending on environmental and journey conditions, thus allowing to implement proactive maintenance programs that minimize downtime and unplanned repairs. Finally, BigDataOcean promotes a more secure maritime transport: Business Case 3 enables real-time situational awareness by proactively detecting abnormal deviations of vessels from their expected patterns. This puts coast guard and customs in the position to tackle in a more effective manner threats at sea like piracy, human trafficking, and illegal immigration.

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