Tech firm unveils personalized maritime tech

BIGYELLOWFISH, a behavioral risk management platform based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, introduced a new technology that is seen to improve and increase knowledge retention among seafarers onboard a ship.

Reinforced Skilling, set to be launched in the first quarter of 2024, is a technological platform that enables maritime organizations to hyper-personalize learning, thus making it contextual for the right audience at the right time.

Capt. Soma Sundar and Kunal Pancholi, co-founder and director of Bigyellowfish, respectively. PHOTO BY WILMAR ALMERIA

Capt. Soma Sundar and Kunal Pancholi, co-founder and director of Bigyellowfish, respectively. PHOTO BY WILMAR ALMERIA

Capt. Soma Sundar and Kunal Pancholi, co-founder and director of Bigyellowfish, respectively. PHOTO BY WILMAR ALMERIA

“This gives [shipping companies] the opportunity to customize organization-specific training for a certain group of seafarers. It is a Do-It-Yourself model that empowers employers to drive learnings the way it is needed and run their assessments,” says Capt. Soma Sundar, a veteran ship captain, quality and safety coach for a shipping company, and founder and CEO of Bigyellowfish.

Reinforced Skilling is run by a hyper-personalization model that harnesses a pattern of data from a specific user and leverages it to provide more personalized content.

“It uses an algorithm that allows us to see content based on our interests, just like what happens on various social media platforms. Reinforced Skilling understands people’s behaviors and personalizes them so they consume something that they want and need. This tool allows for a more active learning for seafarers,” Captain Sundar explained.

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He added that the platform allows a seafarer to learn and communicate at his own pace through his learning capacity.

Meanwhile, Kunal Pancholi, co-founder of Bigyellowfish, observed that 70 to 80 percent of seafarers are currently composed of the younger generation, from Millennials to Generation Z.

“This generation is known to be more social. If you take that element out of [learning], then you are taking something out of their life,” Pancholi said.

“The ‘swipe generation’ consumes so much information but has a decreased level of attention; the whole aspect of bringing Reinforced Skilling is to take care of this phenomenon. The platform offers bite-sized information captivating enough to retain the attention of a viewer. This makes it age-relevant, not just for the younger generation but also for the more experienced ones who are getting conditioned in consuming these kinds of information,” he said.

Pancholi added that such modular solutions also promote collaboration between people working at sea and shore through mentorship, community building, and bringing real-life experiences into the system.

‘Shipping competency is no longer just navigation’

Captain Sundar also acknowledged that while a good number of seafarers have come into the industry well-versed with technology, some are still lagging.

“There is always a resistance to change, especially with technology, and it takes some time for people to adapt; allow them that space and time. But digitalization has been there for more than a decade, and it is set to evolve in the coming years…. “Seafarers should build their technological capabilities because ships and systems are going to be digitalized. They need to be ready with their skills because competency will no longer be just about navigation. More importantly, it is how they bring navigation to a technological context due to the new equipment coming on board. They need to be proficient enough in operating them and understand how technology works,” he said.

“A lot of seafarers, though, are open to change. They like having new technology in their hands. But when something is seen as an enforced thing, a wall comes up — technology needs to be seen more as an augmenting tool, not a policing tool,” Pancholi concluded.