What is Telenor’s role in the development of the HullSkater solution?
What we have contributed with is the solution's telecommunications channel to Norway (Jotun and Kongsberg Maritime). We are providing a mobile Internet of Things (IoT) solution for vessels using the HullSkater. So, for example, when the vessel arrives in port, it can start transmitting data, including videos, from the HullSkater device back to Norway over the local mobile network.
We started working on this particular project back in 2017 when Jotun and Kongsberg Maritime identified the need for a telecommunications specialist, especially in the area of IoT communications. Put simply, the flow of data across borders creates opportunities to deliver new services. At the same time greater freedom of data flows needs to be balanced against the provision of adequate data privacy, security and protection. Telenor works to balance these objectives and help companies develop viable solutions such as Jotun’s HullSkater technology.
Interestingly, almost all industries now depend on the ability to move data across borders or analyse it in real-time as a fundamental enabler of their operations, value propositions, and business models.
Why is this important for Telenor?
It is important for us because we are a global player in the telecommunications sector and IoT technologies are developing rapidly both here in Norway and internationally. We see that more and more intelligence is being installed in sensors and robots around the world and all of this intelligence needs to be gathered, processed and used going forward.
From a strategic perspective, it is therefore important for Telenor to maintain its leading position in this sphere and be involved in the development of exciting solutions such as this one. Ultimately, it is about connecting customers to what matters most to them.
Any challenges during the development phase?
We experienced some challenges at the start. First of all, we had to come up with a telecommunications system suitable for use around the world. Of course, Telenor has a lot of roaming partners that we have agreements with, a prerequisite for securing such a solution to work satisfactorily in a global operation. Even so, in the beginning, we developed a test terminal to help us measure the coverage around the world and see if the 4G coverage was good enough.
Video usage proved challenging due to the sheer data volume it generates, and there were also a few countries where selecting the right roaming partner was essential to secure predictable and sustainable price per MB transferred. Initially, we also did see the need for an increased degree of compression of the data, due to the huge amounts of video and data transferred. Work is still ongoing to optimize the solution.
The cooperation between the other partners has been very good, and we have addressed the issues experienced by the partners in a collaborative way. The solution is now looking very good for Jotun and its customers.
Can the HullSkater technology help address the global biofouling issue?
We think the new solution will help combat the global issue of biofouling since it will be installed on vessels and can be used anytime, anywhere. This, as we understand it, makes the solution unique compared to other solutions currently in the market and will help operators to address fouling settlement at a very early stage.
Also, offering this solution as a service makes sense as it has a lot of market potential, especially when one considers the increasing market and regulatory pressures to operate sustainably.
From our side, being able to participate as partners in the development of this solution is highly rewarding. Partnerships like this, where large Norwegian enterprises pool their competences and create a unique and future-oriented solution that can be brought to the world, are extremely interesting and make us proud. Norwegian companies have a lot to offer, especially when they work together. They can make a real difference on a global scale.