Digitalisation and the utilisation of data hold an important key for reducing emission

Shane McArdle and Deepak Kumar Swain in this joint interaction highlighted the role of the newly launched Indian Capability Centre in Bengaluru, in solving the tech challenges for global markets and the strategic significance of the facility.

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Konsberg Digital announced the opening of its new Indian Capability Centre in Bengaluru, which will house some of the most specialised talent catering to technology solutions for maritime, oil and gas companies.

Service continuity is critical in the energy, maritime, and utility industries, and these industries necessitates direct interaction with customers or end-users. The digital industry is already well on its way to lowering its own emissions also it would make system monitoring, handling, management, and maintenance easier and more efficient.

In this interview Shane McArdle, Senior Vice President of Digital Energy, Kongsberg Digital AS & Deepak Kumar Swain, Managing Director, Kongsberg Digital India tell us more. Excerpts:

DQ: What are the needs for digital solutions and transformation in the energy, maritime and utility sectors?

Shane McArdle: Advanced technology is transforming the way energy and utility companies operate. Renewable energy sources, regulatory changes and shifting consumer expectations are some of the challenges forcing energy and utility businesses to re-evaluate their processes and develop more efficient and cost-effective operations. 

Reducing emissions is crucial for a company’s survival. With stricter regulations and measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses in all sectors, companies will have to focus on achieving their targets. 

Digitalisation and the utilisation of data hold an important key for companies to gain control over their emissions, be compliant, optimize production and operations, and reduce emissions. It is also about behaviour change and elevating transparency of a facility’s carbon footprint across an organisation. If people are aware of their actions and how they contribute to increasing emissions, they will start to work differently and can immediately track that impact in a Digital Twin for example. If you drive that at scale, can you imagine the cumulative impact that would have.

Kongsberg Digital supports clients in the energy, maritime, and utility sectors all over the world by supporting their digital journey, for more cost-effective, safer, and greener operations. With the combination of deep domain knowledge, strong technical skills, and industry know-how, we are at the forefront of revolutionizing industries.

DQ: How is Kongsberg Digital India playing an important role in providing digital solutions to the energy, maritime and utility sectors?

Deepak Kumar Swain: The India centre is house to one of the most technologically advanced teams that caters to solving the tech challenges and complex business problems for the company’s global customers in the energy and maritime sectors. The center helps in accelerating innovation, leverage scaling capabilities and faster time-to-market. Together with our geographically distributed teams, we build products and solutions for the global market and global customers. Together we are trying to solve the complex challenges of energy and maritime industries.

One of the many solutions offered by Kongsberg Digital is Vessel Insight, a SaaS-based solution that provides vessel-to-cloud data infrastructure capturing and aggregating quality data cost-effectively and securely. The solution provides instant and easy access to fleet overview, vessel-specific dashboards, and data analysis tools. One of the main goals for Vessel Insight is to drive sustainability in the shipping industry by providing actionable insight from analysis of operational vessel data. The consistent and standardized way of collecting data through Vessel Insight enable quality reporting, empower transparency, and allows for in-depth analysis to optimize vessel and fleet performance. 

Furthermore, our Kognitwin® a Digital twin Software-as-a-Service platform enables operators to integrate and contextualize data from their IT and OT systems and enable advanced process and flow simulation to drive higher degrees of asset performance and collaboration. Kognitwin enables a wide range of energy facilities to derive value from data to reimagine how we work in the heavy asset industry. Beyond being a virtual replica of your industrial asset, Kognitwin delivers a rich framework for advanced digitalization and analytics, including a range of solutions that can be customized to attend to your needs.

Our Sitecom® Platform  is targeted towards Oil & Gas companies, operators, and oilfield service companies and helps them drill safely and reliably while optimizing cost of operations . This platform helps in improving predictability and automation on complex business workflows to eliminate or reduce manual work processes thereby helping oil companies accelerate towards their green energy targets​

Through our digital platform K-Sim Connect, we also offer a range of cloud-based simulation solutions for maritime education and training. Kongsberg Digital’s cloud-based training solutions enables the instructor to provide the students engaging and realistic exercises for practice anytime and anywhere.

DQ: What is the role of the newly launched facility in solving the tech challenges for global markets?

Deepak: Kongsberg Digital recently announced the expansion of its Indian Capability Center. This modern state-of-art office will enable further collaboration and innovation through agile working as well as will support the hybrid work model. Since its inception in 2016, it has continued to grow with a strong momentum. It has increased its headcount by 40% year on year and is expected to grow in the similar lines in the upcoming years as well.  What started as a delivery centre, KDI India has now emerged to contribute towards end-to-end product delivery across all product lines. It is now a center of strategic importance contributing all lines of product development with a footprint in the product development of all the products of Kongsberg Digital. The focus is now increasingly on high value activities such as product ideation, building competencies around emerging technologies and setting up COEs.

DQ: How are the emerging technologies like AI/ML, blockchain, and analytics creating opportunities for Kongsberg Digital to move forward in the post Covid-19 era?

Shane: With the emergence of the digital era and the increasing uptake of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data analytics, cloud, internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA), organisations across sectors are undergoing major business transformations globally.

The energy, maritime, and utility sectors are rapidly realizing the disruptive roles these technologies can play in enabling business growth and process efficiency and have become the key accelerators of this transformation story. 

To cater to this demand, Kongsberg Digital plays a crucial role in providing effective digital solutions to support clients in the energy, maritime, and utilities sectors all over the world in becoming more cost-effective, safer, and having greener operations. This means as a software product company we have a high focus on user empathy and how these technologies can make industrial workers lives better. Our focus is to simplify the human technology interface, as we believe the future of work will be about more human-machine collaboration with human-centric solutions that elevates intelligence up and out of the dull and repetitive jobs so many people do as part of their job. 

We are so motivated to be practically and actively contributing to solving the world’s biggest industrial challenges through collaboration and technical innovation. Together we are creating a better tomorrow for people, businesses and society .

DQ: What is the nature of partnerships with the ecosystem, such as OEM manufacturers, independent software vendors, and tech service providers through initiatives such as the ‘Maritime Partner Programme’?

Shane: The Maritime Partner Program aims at collaborating with different partners, that want to create new value and business models and accelerate digitalization within the maritime domain. Maritime OEMs are increasingly looking into digitising their existing asset offerings. Our technology can assist them in not only collecting and transferring data in a safe and efficient manner, but also in providing next-generation customer services within the Maritime Ecosystem.

We have also engaged in some active partnerships with Shell International, ABB Turbocharging, Mintra, Lab021 and ABS that help us deliver digital solutions in the fields of energy, maritime, and utility sectors. 

One of our initiatives with Shell International is to align initiatives across the overall life cycle for well deliveries, through planning, execution, and reporting by shared visibility into each other’s roadmap and to increase the creation of market-driven applications.

We have a cooperation agreement with ABB Turbocharging on edge data collection and ship engine performance analysis. We are working towards a common data infrastructure and accelerating the development of value-added digital applications and services. solutions.  Our partnership with Mintra enables us to provide Mintra with its state-of-the-art K-Sim Connect simulations as cloud-based subscription applications for use with the Training portal. 

We joined forces with ABS to power maritime digitalization and decarbonization, through the product integration of Kongsberg Digital’s Vessel Insight and the ABS My Digital Fleet™ platform. The alliance brings together data acquisition capabilities from Kongsberg Digital and ABS’ business intelligence capabilities to offer shipowners, ship managers, and charterers seamless access to the industry’s most powerful analytics services.

DQ: What is the strategic significance of the new facility for the Indian market?

Deepak: As a strategic partner and an innovation hub, we build products for our global customers and our technology is best-in-class in the maritime and energy segments. Our facility hosts some of the most revered specialised tech talent that caters to both current and futuristic products and will not only be a critical in propelling our growth but will also offer advance solutions to our customers across the globe. We increased our headcount by 40%, and we anticipate continued growth in the coming years. 

Kongsberg Digital India is an integral part of Kongsberg Digital’s growth strategy. We aim to make more investments for the growth of the center and increase the tech talent density. We have already established strategic, innovative, and long-term partnerships with both Tier 1 and Tier 2 universities to attract future talents. The University partnerships extend to Innovation Weeks and Case Study Days where the students have an opportunity to work closely with technology mentors from Kongsberg Digital to ideate and discuss real world corporate challenges and scenarios. We also use various tools and platforms to drive the talent agenda. The Talent Acquisition team enables technology evaluation platforms to conduct science-based evaluation tools for both IQ and EQ. This lays a strong foundation to ensure optimum use of resources and a healthy pipeline of talent onboards. 

Additionally, Hackathons help us to cultivate the  innovation culture as well as helps is Solving core challenges: product evangelization, digital disruption, open innovation etc.. Kongsberg Digital develops niche products which will help on securing more business from India market by helping the Indian customers digitalizing their operation. 

DQ: What are the current challenges plaguing customers within maritime, oil and gas, and renewables and utility sectors? How is Kongsberg Digital is going to address those?

Shane: The maritime and energy industry while undergoing a rapid transformation is still a very traditional and engineering-based industry. The adoption of technology has always been slow here because there’s a lot of data & safety criticality. It is important to ascertain that data is secure and that operations continue to be safe and dependable As you are talking to your assets in a more secure way, the adoption of technology has always been conservative. But we have seen that the trend has changed now. There is a lot of acceptance within the management as well as senior executives and front-line workers

When it comes to change management, we also work with our partners. This has helped us develop Kognitwin® which is Kongsberg Digital’s digital twin Software-as-a-Service platform, that enables operators to integrate and contextualise data from their IT,OT and ET systems and enables advanced process and flow simulation to drive higher degrees of asset performance and collaboration. Kognitwin enables a wide range of energy facilities to derive value from data, reimagining how we work in the heavy asset industry. Beyond being a virtual replica of your industrial asset, it also delivers a rich framework for advanced digitalization and analytics, including a range of solutions that can directly address business process improvements.

For the energy sector, hitting very demanding targets to be net zero by 2050, increasingly stringent environmental regulations and financial headwinds are some of the greatest challenges the industry will face in the coming years. The companies are now targeting carbon neutrality. This is where we can help them with our software.

DQ: What are the investments made so far, and planned for the India market in the next year / 2 / 3 / 5 years?

Deepak: India is a critical base for the success of Kongsberg Digital as a company. The India office contributes positively to the company’s top and bottom lines through strategic business impact. We will continue to grow in India as part of our growth/scale strategy. We will build more business and product centric roles along with R&D .  our ambition that India office will be the delivery & innovation CoE which will contribute the full cycle of product and customer engagement.

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