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Shipping fleet monitoring tools now, more important than ever

From a ship owner’s point of view, being able to monitor and manage all of his ships’ operations, while they are at sea, is an invaluable tool, in making informed decisions about their employment, their procurement needs, safety, fuel needs etc. It can also be of service, when it comes to evaluating the performance of specific upgrade components, as well as a particular newbuilding design. As such, the presence of a powerful monitoring tool is of paramount importance, as it can help reduce operating costs, prevent potential damages and help detect inefficiencies.

Christina Anagnostara

Christina Anagnostara, Advisor to Prisma Electronics, LAROS platform

According to Christina Anagnostara, Advisor to Prisma Electronics, LAROS platform, the company’s innovative wireless data collection system for vessel performance management promises to deliver exactly the above and more. “What is unique about LAROS, is its ability to collect, filter and normalize the varied data from any system in a vessel, produce unified reliable reports onboard and onshore, and provide key information for daily fleet management and decision making. The ship owner has access to reliable information anytime and anywhere, therefore he makes the right decisions based on proven and indisputable data “she explains.

The company is growing fast, as more and more owners are using the solution on board their vessels and is actively expanding overseas.

What does Laros do and how does it work?

LAROS is a revolutionary proactive IT solution, a wireless smart sensors platform for vessel performance management and the leader in Internet of Things technologies focused on the shipping market i.e. “The Internet of Ships”.

LAROS connects vessels at sea to ship owning company headquarters, providing accurate and reliable onboard data for vessel performance and automated reports for internal and external use and decision making.

LAROS interconnects with any subsystem on vessel through wireless intelligent sensors. Data is immediately transmitted to a central datacenter for remote monitoring, maintenance and performance analysis of ships.

How is LAROS different than Ship Performance Management Systems?

LAROS does not replace the existing Ship Performance Management systems, but adds value to them by integrating them.

Existing and emerging tools that manage individual aspects of ship systems, may operate on partial or inaccurate equipment data and theoretical models. As a result, ship Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used for key day-to-day decisions may be inaccurate driven by varied sources of data and conditions at sea.

What is unique about LAROS, is its ability to wirelessly collect, filter and normalize the varied data from any systems in a vessel, present unified reliable data to existing applications onboard and onshore, and combine data to create custom KPIs that fit our customers’ specific needs.

How is the data presented to the owner of the vessel? Is it easy to come to useful conclusions, or does it take a specialized engineer to work through the data?

The results of the analysis are presented in fully customizable dashboards and reports. LAROS has powerful software tools with a lot of options for diagrams and graphic representation of the data, maps, statistical analysis, filtering, data mining, etc.

The LAROS software platform supports any media devices for the presentation of the data in any format, anywhere and anytime. LAROS is designed for tablets and smart phones for the presentation of the data including maps, graphs, alarm lists and reports.

LAROS is a bespoke solution for each client and not a one-size fits all approach. We ensure that the software is fully fine-tuned to accommodate each client’s needs and goals. Reports are user friendly and provide meaningfull information and useful conclusions. As a result, specialized technical knowledge is not required to read the reports.

A library of KPIs is available to the users for fuel management, vessel efficiency, trim optimization, plan and condition based maintenance, etc. The users can select the KPIs that meet their demands. Additionally, the users can easily change or add any new KPIs in the system.

Which are the main benefits of this technology? Is it necessary or not for a ship owner?

The LAROS platform was developed to enhance the Information Intelligence between onboard and onshore departments of the Maritime Companies and their fleets.

Such Information Intelligence has been proven to be a smart investment for companies in the shipping business as it improves fuel consumption, emissions, safety and regulatory compliance, while increasing operational efficiency and control of expenses, as well as charterer’s trust.

LAROS simplifies the daily procedures across departments in ship-owners operations and improves fleet efficiency by providing the right information at the right time to various users. With LAROS, users make actionable decisions which help reduce fuel consumption, increase vessel efficiency, and provide visibility for performance based maintenance and accurate forecasting decisions.

The ship owner has access to reliable information anytime and anywhere, therefore he makes the right decisions based on proven and indisputable data.

Where can it be applied? Are all vessel types/sizes covered?

LAROS can be installed in any type or size of vessel no matter age or maker. However, LAROS provides the highest value and Return On Investment (ROI) to vessels like containers, tankers and bulk carriers, that gather many measurements from multiple and diverse points of interest.

The LAROS turn-key solution can be installed in a few days by trained technical teams while the ship is at sea, or at a port. Data is immediately transmitted to the maritime company’s datacenter for remote monitoring and performance analysis of ships.

LAROS can also incorporate and integrate measurements from machinery from different vendors. In addition, the smart collectors can be calibrated remotely by onshore personnel for any vessel to adjust for equipment changing parameters such as aging, load, or conditions at sea.

Which are your clients today and what’s the estimated cost for a typical vessel, for instance a Capesize dry bulker?

In the last two years, LAROS has been installed in hundreds of vessels from well-known Greek and European ship-owning companies, which is indicative on how easy it is to adopt the system.

About 800 engineers and technicians in Maritime are using the data and the information provided by LAROS in their daily work and decision making. LAROS system handles about 1.2 million measurements every hour and we have estimated that using LAROS has been saved almost 100 thousand hours of data analysis the last year alone. And of course customers receive fleet information for their fleets every hour instead of once per day.

The cost per vessel depends upon fleet size, number of measurements per vessel and scope of services needed by customers. We can say with confidence that LAROS ROI is approximately 1 to 3 months with a one off installation cost per vessel and an annual service fee.

How was the system of Laros developed? Give us some information on the background of the company and its founders.

LAROS was developed by PRISMA Electronics, a CERN award winning Company with 25 years of experience in ICT and Electronics for defense, space and enterprise software.

Prisma Electronics was established in 1991 focusing on hardware and software technologies. Since inception, the Company spends on average 25% of its revenues on R&D. Such commitment has enabled the Company to consistently remain at the forefront of technology.

Furthermore, Prisma Electronics has ongoing collaborations and R&D relationships with over 100 researchers from Universities and Research Institutes across Europe. It has participated in more than 25 collaborated research projects in the last 8 years’ worth over EUR 45 million.

As part of its continuous effort for technical development and excellence, LAROS received the Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping 2015 Technical Achievement Award.

The Company has established presence in Greece, UK and USA.

Do you have any similar or other products/services in your lineup?

The R&D dedicated team is working non-stop for the upgrade and continuous improvement of the platform. The company is currently developing advanced products and upgrades of the platform for Big Data storage and analytics that can handle our growing installations.

Which is the projected business growth plan for the future? Which will be your next moves/plans in the coming months and years in the maritime market?

Our revenues and vessel installed base are growing rapidly and the company is now looking to expand its operations overseas and increase share and impact the global shipping market.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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