Ulf Siwe, Communications Officer of the STM Validation Project, Swedish Maritime Administration suggests to support industry initiatives that aim to ‘containerise information’ which means that instead of requesting information in different shapes, weight and packaging, let the industry define the information containers.
Information is the basis for all services which make up more and more of our economy, and adds to the value of products. The shipping industry is in itself a pure service industry delivering transport services to goods and people.
To communicate the information needed for the services in an efficient and cost-effective way decreases the cost of the service delivery. This usually helps the growth of existing services and the innovation of new ones. Some good examples come from the telecom sector: the GSM standard helped lowering the cost for mobile phone calls paved the way for a new service – text messages. The Bluetooth standard lowered the cost for wireless machine to machine connections, a technology which is paving the way for the Internet of things. In both these developments it was a common standard with open interfaces that helped the industry develop. And in both cases the commercial industry actors were very active in developing the standards. GSM through the industry community, and Bluetooth as a vendor consortium making a de-facto standard.
The shipping industry is more fragmented than many other industries. There are many more actors involved both in the actual transport service as well as on the regulatory and administrative sides of authorities. A proud history and a long legacy have made the industry very flexible and decentralised. But when it comes to standardisation the legacy can be a burden.
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