Charting New Waters: How Virtual Labs are Shaping Maritime Data Science at SeerBI

By Owain Brennan

In the vast and ever-evolving expanse of the maritime sector, SeerBI has consistently stood as a beacon of innovation and progress for the past 2 years. Our core mission has been to navigate the intricate challenges of this industry, using data as our compass and advanced analytics as our vessel. As global maritime operations grow in complexity, the need for cutting-edge research and development becomes even more paramount.

For centuries, humans have taken to the seas, relying on natural cues and experience. Today, while the essence of maritime hasn’t changed, our tools have. Data science, with its immense potential to extract meaningful insights from vast datasets, has slowly but steadily begun to reshape the maritime industry. Whether it’s predicting shipping routes, increasing trade efficiency, maker maritime safer or optimizing port operations, data-driven methodologies are steering the way.

However, like every evolving industry, the maritime sector isn’t without its challenges. Traditional research methodologies, although tried and tested, often find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and dynamism of modern maritime operations. And that’s where the vision for SeerBI’s virtual lab was birthed.

Standing proudly alongside our physical lab based in the North East UK, our virtual counterpart isn’t just a digital extension, but a new frontier. It represents SeerBI’s commitment to harnessing the very best of both worlds to propel maritime data science into uncharted waters. This is our voyage into the heart of this transformation, and we invite you to journey with us.

A ship at sea surrounded by data

The maritime industry, known for its vastness and complexity, has been navigating the waters of innovation for centuries. As ships evolved from wooden vessels to massive steel giants, and as navigational tools transitioned from stars and compasses to GPS systems, and trade collected more data from the introduction of digitalised systems the undercurrent driving these transformations has always been knowledge and information.

Enter the era of data science. In recent years, the maritime sector has witnessed a tidal wave of technological advancements. Data science, with its ability to churn vast amounts of data and translate it into actionable insights, has rapidly become the modern compass guiding the industry.

Historically, maritime decisions heavily relied on human expertise and experience. While invaluable, this approach had its limitations. Predicting weather patterns, optimizing shipping routes, or managing fleet operations were tasks often prone to errors or inefficiencies. The need to harness the ocean of data generated by maritime activities became evident.

However, as with any transition, incorporating data science into the maritime industry was not without its challenges. Traditional research methodologies, while reliable, often lagged in speed and adaptability. They sometimes struggled to keep up with the dynamic nature of oceanic conditions, geopolitical scenarios, and rapidly shifting trade landscapes.

The thirst for real-time insights, predictive analytics, and data-driven decision-making started to amplify. And so did the need for innovative platforms and labs that could facilitate such advanced research, leading establishments like SeerBI to rethink and reshape their R&D strategies.

A image of a man between two ships with AI around him on the sea

In the vast expanse of the maritime world, the challenges are as deep and complex as the oceans themselves. At SeerBI, we’ve always believed in innovative solutions to address these intricate problems. The creation of our virtual data science lab was a natural evolution of this belief.

The idea was conceived from a simple observation: while our physical lab allowed us to conduct a myriad of experiments and gather invaluable insights, there were limitations to what we could achieve within its confines of both compute power and physical space. Simulating certain scenarios or testing specific data-heavy algorithms would either be too risky or costly. Moreover, the rapidly changing landscape of maritime challenges necessitated a more agile and flexible research environment.

Enter the virtual lab—a digital space where we could mirror real-world maritime conditions, spin up experiments at will, and test theories without the constraints of the physical world. By harnessing advanced computational power by AWS and Azure and state-of-the-art simulation tools, our virtual lab offered the freedom to explore the uncharted territories of maritime data science.

But this was not just about digitization. It was about complementing our physical team’s expertise. It was about creating a harmonious blend where the tangible met the intangible. Our researchers could now float an idea in the virtual realm, see it play out, gather observations, train and test models and then bring it back to the physical lab for further refinement or validation.

The birth of the SeerBI virtual lab was not just a technological advancement; it was a paradigm shift. It embodied our commitment to pioneering, adaptive, and forward-thinking solutions for the maritime sector.

Scalability with AWS and Azure: One of the foremost advantages of our virtual lab is its scalability. Harnessing the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS), we can efficiently manage and analyze vast maritime datasets using Amazon S3, RDS and EC2 instances. Furthermore, Azure’s Machine Learning service allows our team to build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale. As maritime challenges evolve, our infrastructure can adapt and expand effortlessly.

Safety & Security in the Cloud: Both AWS and Azure are renowned for their robust security features. By leveraging services like AWS Shield for DDoS mitigation and Azure Security Center for unified security management, we ensure that our experiments and data are shielded from potential threats. This security layer provides peace of mind, knowing our research environment is both safe and compliant.

Flexibility through Diverse Simulation Capabilities: Our affiliation with the NVIDIA Inception program has supercharged our virtual lab’s simulation capabilities. Utilizing NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated computing, we can replicate a wide range of maritime and trading scenarios with unmatched precision. Whether simulating intricate sensor environments, large scale trading simulations or predicting ship movement, the computational power provided by NVIDIA GPUs ensures our experiments are both accurate and efficient.

Collaboration Powered by Cloud Integration: One of the unsung benefits of cloud platforms like AWS and Azure is their inherent ability to foster collaboration. With tools like Azure DevOps and AWS Collaborate, our researchers, no matter where they are geographically, can work synchronously, share insights, and collectively contribute to the larger maritime solution.

a port using big data seerbi

Streamlining Casper Group’s Operations with Digital Innovations:

Efficiency and Transparency in Focus: SeerBI’s digital lab has been instrumental in revolutionizing the operational dynamics of Casper Group. Our tailored solutions led to remarkable time savings: UCN Customs Claiming by 60%, the generation of Company Reports by 75%, GVMS Processing by an astonishing 99%, and a drastic 80% reduction in the time taken for Developing Internal Tools.

Automated Workflows for Growth: The innovations we’ve introduced facilitate Casper Group’s rapid expansion by automating systems that grow organically with the company. Our emphasis on streamlining eliminated manual Excel-centric tasks, reducing customs document processing times dramatically—from approximately 2 hours to a mere 4 seconds.

Operational Analytics for Enhanced Management: Our operations analytics infrastructure has transformed Casper Group’s organizational clarity. By transitioning from conventional paper and Excel formats to an advanced analytics platform in the cloud, we’ve enabled faster management reports generation, optimal operation strategies, and significant cost reductions. These pivotal changes foster improved safety, compliance, and environmental consciousness, elevating confidence in reporting mechanisms.

Pioneering Maritime Automation: SeerBI integrated an exhaustive set of maritime automation systems within Casper Group’s existing infrastructure. The results? UCN customs process claiming and GVMS processing times reduced by up to 99%. The consequent cost savings, coupled with minimized errors and enhanced operational analytics, have elevated their operational efficiency to new heights.

Alan Appleyard, Director of Casper Group, aptly summarizes our collaboration, stating that SeerBI’s innovative solutions have substantially improved service levels and overall efficiency.

Modern Tech Stack for a Future-Ready Approach: Utilizing the existing tools within Casper Group’s repertoire, such as Destin8, Sequoia, and Sedna, we’ve crafted a contemporary and flexible tech stack using Python, PowerBI, PostgreSQL, AWS, and more, ensuring they’re always ahead of the curve.

A Demo UI Maritime Dashboard by SeerBI in Brand Colou

Embarking on Uncharted Waters: Innovation is never without its hurdles, and our journey with the virtual data science lab was no different. Setting up a seamless integration between AWS, Azure, and the NVIDIA Inception program, while promising, brought about its unique set of challenges.

Data Integration and Synchronization: While our intent was to centralize data sources and provide real-time analytics, synchronizing data from diverse platforms in Casper Group and Exis Technologies posed initial challenges. Ensuring data integrity and accuracy across systems was paramount.

Operationalizing Advanced AI Models: While we could develop sophisticated AI models in our virtual environment, ensuring they translated effectively into real-world maritime applications was an exercise in iterative testing and optimization. Achieving a balance between model accuracy and real-time operational efficiency was a learning curve.

Stakeholder Onboarding: Incorporating cutting-edge technology into traditional maritime operations required significant stakeholder education and training. Ensuring that teams both understood and trusted the AI-driven insights was pivotal to successful implementation, whcih we achieved in our AI workshop onboarding programs.

Scalability and Cost Management: With cloud platforms, while scalability was at our fingertips, it was essential to keep an eye on costs. Managing resources efficiently, especially during the experimental phase, was vital to avoid spiraling costs.

Key Learnings and Forward Momentum:

  • Iterative Approach is King: We learned the importance of a feedback loop, continually refining our solutions based on real-world feedback.

  • Collaboration is Essential: The success stories with Casper Group and other clients highlighted the importance of close collaboration between tech providers and stakeholders. Together, we could tailor solutions to fit exact needs.

  • Stay Agile and Adaptable: In the fast-evolving world of AI and cloud computing, staying updated with the latest tools and methodologies was key. Our virtual lab’s adaptability ensured we remained at the forefront of maritime data science.

By navigating these challenges, we have emerged stronger, with a deeper understanding of integrating AI solutions into maritime operations. The lessons learned have been invaluable, shaping our approach and ensuring SeerBI’s solutions remain both pioneering and practical.

The SeerBI Data science approach

The potential of a virtual data science lab in the maritime sector is vast and largely untapped. At SeerBI, we envision a future where real-time data analytics, AI-driven insights, and automation become industry standards. Our roadmap includes:

  • Enhanced AI Models: Focusing on even more precise predictive analytics to foresee maritime challenges and propose preemptive solutions.

  • Global Collaborations: Expanding our partnerships beyond AWS, Azure, and NVIDIA to collaborate with global maritime entities, pushing industry standards forward.

  • Sustainable Solutions: Exploring data-driven approaches to make maritime operations more eco-friendly, emphasizing reduced carbon footprints and sustainable growth.

  • Quantumn Capabilities: Our recent enrollment onto the UK Government QTAP programs gives us capabilities and support in rolling out quantum capabilities. 

The creation and application of SeerBI’s virtual lab has been nothing short of a transformative journey. What began as an idea to blend the physical and digital realms has reshaped how we, and our partners, approach maritime challenges. From monumental time savings in processing to the creation of future-ready tech stacks, the lab has proven its worth time and again.

Yet, what stands out most is the collaboration – the coming together of diverse teams, leveraging each other’s strengths, and striving towards a shared vision. As we reflect, it’s evident that while technology is our tool, it’s the human spirit of innovation, perseverance, and collaboration that drives us forward.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the maritime sector, the potential of data science is immense and transformative. If you’re intrigued by the possibilities showcased through SeerBI’s virtual data science lab and wonder how these innovations can reshape your maritime operations, we invite you to reach out. Whether you’re interested in leveraging our lab’s capabilities or exploring tailored data science solutions for your unique challenges, our team at SeerBI is eager to collaborate. Let’s sail together towards a future where data-driven insights steer the maritime world to uncharted territories of efficiency and innovation.

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