From L – R: Mr Jeremy Nixon, Mr Sahril Bin Mahmood and Thomson Ting

Held on 12 February 2019, BLOCK71 had our very first Kopi Chat Deep Dive session on the topic “Sailing into Digital Waters”. Moderated by Mr Kelvin Tan, Director, NUS Enterprise, our panelists consisting of Mr Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express, Mr Thomas Ting, Deputy Director, Research and Technology and Industry Development Division, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Mr Sahril Bin Mahmood, Chief Digital Officer, HAKOVO, spoke on the ripples made by technology being harnessed in the shipping industry.

#1: Don’t use technology for the sake of using it.

In the words of Mr Sahril, “Do not get seduced by technology.” He emphasizes on the importance of budding deep-tech start-ups to truly understand their target segment, and whether it is necessary for them to incorporate complicated technologies for simple functions. Start-ups with state-of-the-art digital solutions can only maximize their profits if their solutions solves their client’s pain points.  

#2: Adopting AI in potential, unsuspecting sectors.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an extremely useful tool for companies to tap on. Its ability to consider multiple factors at once in order to improve hardware operations – such as ocean vessels – and managing data to determine risk management factors have made it a common application in the industry. However, this technology can be further applied to other areas away from sea and nearer to land. Trucking has been identified to be a ‘high-hanging fruit’, with untapped potential. Due to its laborious nature, people are not as keen to take up these jobs. With the application of AI, companies could increase their efficiency and decrease their costs in the long run.

questions during kopichat deep dive

#3: A Hybrid Workforce

As the landscape of maritime businesses rapidly evolves, companies have to learn how to assemble a dynamic team to support their operations. The key, according to Mr Jeremy Nixon, is to have a “blend of wiseheads who have a lot of industry experience, with young smart people who are good with problem solving and processes but not so much at understanding the core issues that are actually causing the problems”. As older employees combine their experiences with the younger employees’ ability to be process-savvy, counter measures can effectively be put into place to nip problems at the bud. A lean, hybrid team would add value to the organization by enabling better, smarter and quicker decisions to be made.

Watch the full Kopi Chat Deep Dive here:

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