Wärtsilä has opened the first of four Digital Acceleration Centres (DACs) to speed up innovation on a range of new business models and solutions, including the industry's most advanced ‘intelligent vessel’ and other ground-breaking projects.
The first Digital Acceleration Centre has launched today in Helsinki, Finland; the second will open in December in Singapore and two further acceleration centres, one in central Europe and one in North America, are anticipated during 2018. In addition, ‘pop-up’ DACs will be tested with customers around the globe.
Speaking at the launch, Wärtsilä's chief digital officer Marco Ryan described how the new centres fit in with the company’s philosophy, saying “Wartsila is going through a transformation at the moment towards becoming a data-driven, smart technology company. The acceleration centres are one of the tools we have helping us on our journey.”
Wärtsilä's first DAC in Helsinki has already been running as a beta version for a couple of months and several projects have been accelerated there with different partners. Current projects include co-creation with one of the major cruise companies. One of the greatest successes incubated so far in the Helsinki DAC is Wärtsilä's intelligent vessel strategy.
“The Digital Acceleration Centre shows its true power in such complex concepts as intelligent vessels. In a matter of weeks we created an aligned strategy, concepts, roadmaps, and technology requirements that would have taken months or years. Each concept can be cut into smaller projects which are incubated and developed into minimal viable products far quicker than ever before. Even if occasionally an idea fails in the incubation phase, we see that as a learning opportunity and a valuable insight into building a better solution,” Mr Ryan said.
The latest example of the intelligent vessel strategy being driven at pace is Wärtsilä's acquisition of Guidance Marine Limited, a technology leader in the marine industry for sensor solutions relating to dynamic positioning and other vessel control systems.
“The Digital Acceleration Centre is all about getting business outcomes at pace. By adopting a start-up mindset, we can rapidly prototype ideas with customers; including the use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chain and virtual reality,” said Mr Ryan.