With increasing marine legislation and improvements in alarm and monitoring systems, crew are faced with an ever-growing list of alerts.
Alarms, beeps and buzzes are generated from a wide range of onboard systems from engines to heating, air conditioning to ballast tanks, bow doors, AVIT and Security. We met with Mat Johnston, Head of Product Development at Net-Logic Marine to discuss this issue and how the VesselWatch software is elevating alarm headaches.
What drives your thinking?
Many years ago we developed the world’s first wireless BNWAS solution and like all manufacturers followed the harmonised standards.
These standards had specific ways to notify crew allowing them to take action. This was fine, however we quickly realised that everything onboard was giving a beep or a flash. We noticed the crew were increasingly using digital two-way radios and we saw an opportunity to integrate further to the vessel and deliver discrete, instant alarm messaging straight to the crew member.
How important is integration for crew members?
Very. This is why we are always increasing our comprehensive list of approved interfaces, from complex OPC, PRTG and ModBus alerts through to simple serial data and contact closure outputs. We have the ability to interface with a wide variety of onboard systems and work closely with manufacturers to create custom alarm listeners. This goes beyond onboard alarm and monitoring, extending further to security and the hospitality requirements of the vessel.
How do developments in VesselWatch assist the crew?
We have observed many crew members choosing to fix their radios onto their belts and use earpiece accessories. We saw this as an opportunity to further improve VesselWatch, incorporating Voice Alerts to give even more flexibility to the crew. Our system now offers messages via a humanistic artificial intelligence, capable of converting the alarm outputs into voice notifications. These are not just pre-recorded messages that are being played back; our system creates the voice output in real time. An enhancement that has been welcomed by many for its convenience.
Crew also have the flexibility to use both display and non-display radios, as appropriate to their tasks. VesselWatchallows those with budget control for onboard comms a wider selection of radios to match specific crew roles onboard. For example, the Motorola SL4000 is a fantastic radio intended typically for the interior team, but for deck crew and engineers we recommend the DP range as they are more robust with a higher IP rating. The ability to add Voice Alerts to different types of radio gives even more choice, which can only be a good thing.
Any other developments?
We have taken the VesselWatch notifications a step further with our mimic panels. Realising that many of the repeater panels for the vessels key systems are in fixed locations, we wanted to offer flexibility to the crew member. Crew may have everything they need in their cabin, but what happens when their cabin is inaccessible to them whilst undergoing refit, or even swapped? In these instances, smart devices may be the only way crew can access crucial information. Custom mimic panels for our solution can be created on smart devices from Apple to Android, permitting the crew member to see critical data anywhere onboard the vessel.
Net-Logic Marine will be at MYS supporting its partners and will once again be showcasing its solutions at the METS trade show later this year.