ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Centers set a new standard for 24/7 remote vessel support

Digitally driven services through ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Centers bring decisive shift towards remote vessel management techniques.

Twelve months after Miramar, Florida, became the third of ABB’s “Level 1” Collaborative Operations Centers to open its doors, 24/7 remote support for ships anywhere in the world is already the new normal for close to 1,000 vessels.

The U.S. Center opened in May 2017, joining the two “Level 1” centers in Norway and Singapore, where “Level 1” stands for the first point of contact for customers. Miramar has made it possible to “rotate” the first point of contact for ships at sea, delivering on ABB’s “Electric. Digital. Connected.” strategy through truly “always awake” service support.

With this, Miramar completes a unique integrated global network taking care of the full scope of ABB systems from afar.

The U.S. Center is backed by expertise in Level 2 centers that specialize in domain-specific knowledge –Finland (Helsinki – Azipod® propulsion), the Netherlands (Dalfsen – Advisory), Italy (Genoa – Automation & Control) and Shanghai, plus core competencies in Singapore (Drilling Systems) and Norway (Billingstad – Electrical Systems, Oil & Gas).

Digital Service Manager Stian Braastad, who has overseen the roll-out of the Collaborative Operations Centers, recognizes a decisive shift away from reactive service support of ships at sea, and towards automated ship systems logging equipment performance anomalies and automated data exports to ABB Centers. Here, an ABB Technical Support Engineer is always available to offer first response within an hour to automated notifications or trip alarms.

In picture: Digital Service Manager Stian Braastad (left) and Head of Marine Service Norway Andree Underthun.

Collaborative network
Remote problem solving is not only quicker; it is collaborative, “meaning that a technical superintendent or a vessel manager can look at the same data as an ABB engineers on real-time KPI monitoring, predictive warnings and critical trip notifications,” says Braastad. “Ultimately, more analysis of data will help customers move from time-based maintenance intervals to optimized maintenance intervals.”

Petter Häusler, Manager at the Billingstad Collaborative Operation Center and part of the original team leading the concept’s development, concurs: “Now, we are really global, collaborating as one unit that draws from different resources and their key areas of expertise,” he says.

In the first instance, however, the culture shift made possible between customers and ABB engineers in 12 short months merits separate acknowledgement, Braastad says. “We have brought proactiveness into the picture.”

Proactiveness demands good communication and technical resources. An incident that tripped alarms at the end of a shift at a Level 1 Center in 2017 meant not only alerting an incoming Level 1 shift elsewhere and input from specialists at a Level 2 Center, but brainstorming with an ABB factory. With the original Level 1 Center manager staying in post to liaise by phone with the client, ABB experts elsewhere emailed remedial advice to the ship’s crew so that the vessel could continue to the next port, where a fully-prepared ABB engineer was waiting to complete inspections.

In picture: Collaborative Operations Center Manager Norway, Petter Häusler (right), with a colleague at the Billingstad center.

In picture: Collaborative Operations Center Manager USA, Luis Miguel Moratalla (front left) with colleagues working on a case.

Frontline response
The addition of Miramar brought a location also selected for its proximity to the major cruise companies into the Collaborative Operation Center network. Miramar Center Manager Luis Miguel Moratalla says: “It gives us an additional benefit because many cruise vessels are operating in the same time zone. We communicate with the cruise vessels as things are happening and we don’t have long delays when it comes to support.”

Nevertheless, the greater benefit of the collaborative operations center approach lies in prevention, in preference to intervention. The first year of 24/7 Care has seen the ABB Collaborative Operation Center approach applied to 918 ships resulting in 6,288 “tickets” (items raised), with the average time it takes to close a ticket given as 45 hours.

As the collaborative approach takes flight, the remote support capability also puts ABB in a better position to adapt to changes in the markets it serves: exemplary is the emergence of expedition cruising as a distinct mainstream tourist, where 24/7 support is essential, especially for polar operations. “We need to be there,” says Braastad. “There are also bigger and more complex vessels being built than ever before, while inland waterways, rivers and lakes across the continents will see more vessel traffic in the years ahead. We need to be there too.”

As the anniversary of the “always awake” vessel support approached, Singapore Collaborative Operations Center Manager Kenneth Joseph sums up what has been possible to achieve in one year. Customers can now be assured that a service engineer is available, that data can be retrieved automatically, and that updates will be provided to systems experts at the earliest opportunity, he says. “While we may have face-to-face contact with customers in their offices here in Singapore, our priority really is the vessels. Whether the vessel is alongside Sembawang or in the Arctic, we approach the support request in the same way. Technical staff and analytics are now our frontline response.”

In picture: Collaborative Operations Center Manager Singapore, Kenneth Joseph (right), with a colleague working on collaboration table at the Singapore center.

Media enquiries:

Margarita Sjursen

Global Communications Manager
ABB Marine & Ports
Bergerveien 12
1396 Billingstad


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