Management Talk

Digital industries

"Digitalization is undoubtedly making inroads into most industries", says the Chief Technology Officer in Kongsberg Digital.  

  • Text:Stuart Brewer

    Photo:Synne Ekren

Q: Which technologies/areas does KDI focus on?

SR: Basically, we're building software as a service (SaaS) for the energy business; that's our digital twin solutions, namely Kognitwin Energy and Kognitwin Grid. We're also targeting the maritime ecosystem with our Vessel Insight solution, in which we connect thousands of vessels in order to collect data. We're creating a marketplace for applications and where third-party vendors can offer their applications and services on top of this platform. Then we have data collection and decision-support solutions for use in the drilling domain, our SiteCom system, and maritime simulation for training purposes.

When it comes to our setup, we have three business areas: energy, ocean, and wells. We have products that we have developed over time and which we continue to build in all these areas. But we don’t work in a vacuum - there are third-party providers, and the customers themselves have their systems and apps. Bringing all these together in Kognifai – our digital platform which combines high-quality data, technology, and domain knowledge – enables us to help our customers make the most of their data to allow the rapid generation of insights and innovation.

Q: What are your main markets?

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SR: These are energy, utilities, maritime operations, and simulator training. Regarding energy, KDI provides real-time data aggregation, visualization, and advisory solutions for all phases of well construction. This includes multiphase flow simulation solutions for engineering studies, operator training, and real-time production and flow assurance.

In the utility sector, we offer production services through Kognitwin Grid. The Kognifai platform also enables Kongsberg EmPower, which allows the full integration of sensors and systems, providing smart data and decision support. In the maritime sector, we are establishing Vessel Insight, a maritime ecosystem for digitalized fleets and connected vessels. We are also a market-leading simulator producer, supporting everything from mandatory STCW training to advanced integrated crew training for the commercial maritime, naval, and offshore industries.

Q: Media reports tell us there's an increasing focus on the use of digitalization across most industries. What, in your opinion, are the main drivers for this development?

SR: Digitalization is undoubtedly making inroads into most industries. There's growing pressure to comply with stricter environmental regulations and a need to control costs and improve efficiency in competitive markets. We also see this in conservative sectors like the maritime and offshore industries. In addition, technologies like the Internet of Things, big data, automation, and robotics are growing in importance and will lead to significant changes, altering the way companies work, creating new business models, and so on. 

For KONGSBERG, it’s all about turning data into tangible, valuable information that our customers can use. We're working on many fronts and see excellent improvement potential in, for example, condition-based maintenance, performance management, and decision support.

We started this work many years ago and have control systems and sensors on about 30,000 ships. We connect and integrate the data, put it into context, and provide a set of more intelligent applications for the owners, operators, charterers, etc.

When it comes to industrial digitalization in general and its impact on business, we think the availability of data powered by digital technologies like IoT, AI, and cloud computing will drive the demand for automation, better asset management, and predictability through enhanced analytics.

Indeed, we think analytics will play an even more critical role in the future; they will become more complex over time. From simple diagnostic data, we can begin to make insight- and data-driven decisions that, in turn, can lead to remote and autonomous operations. For example, we are some way along the road, and are already beginning to see discussions about AI entering the decision-making process.

Q: So, what excites you most about technology development?

SR: It's fascinating and ever-evolving within the software space. There's always something new. With our SaaS models, we can adapt our products and services quite fast, and add new features and change the products as we see opportunities and create value with customers. We can build and deploy products on a completely different scale than before. Some of the technologies are still immature, but the potential is enormous.

So, it's very cool to work in this space, and we're able to adapt faster to our customers' needs, and that itself drives innovation in our technology developments to meet the market pull.

Q: And your thoughts on technology collaboration across the Kongsberg Group?

SR: Collaboration is super important. We provide the Kognifai platform so that our colleagues in the Kongsberg business areas don't have to be experts on how to retrieve data from systems, they can just make the application cloud-side, jump directly to the value creation with the customer, and make a web application or solution on top of their hardware running on customer assets. I think this way of collaborating is really important and will become even more so going forward, as our business area colleagues have the expertise to make applications for their domain and we have the platform, our fast-growing ecosystem of applications and services. This creates value for KONGSBERG as well as its partners and customers.  

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