Developed IoT app for shipyards worldwide

“Give us a week, and we’ll have the app ready,” says Christoffer Lange, Industrial IoT Product Manager at Digitread.


For Digitread, IoT is fairly simple. It’s about the low hanging fruit that gives enormous bearings.

“The IoT-implementation in the industry doesn’t always need to find its beginnings with a gigantic IT-project. It is more fruitful to get started in smaller projects. Let’s start connecting the sensors and start seeing what we data we can pull,” Lange says.

“Engineers are creative people. Good ideas happen when they have the data in their hands.”

Digitread is a small engineering company with 27 employees, situated in Sandvika right outside of Oslo. This small company cut its teeth in solving problems for the oil/gas, shipping, and offshore industry.

Their latest app, Smartdock, makes it easy to monitor floating dry docks. Through the help of sensors connected to Siemens MindSphere cloud, operators can monitor the floatingdock’s live state and receive error and deviation warnings on their smartphones.

“Look, I can monitor a dock all the way in Germany,” says Digitread’s chairman, Helge Kjelien, pointing at his phone. The panel shows water levels in the different tanks as well as other key information from the floating docks.

“Operators can monitor that everything is running smoothly from their couch at home,” he adds.

Lately, there have been multiple accidents involving floating dry docks throughout the world. Two big dry docks overturned and onerecently caught fire. Expensive ships are usually nested inside of these bigdocks. That being said, a lot of value is at risk in the outbreak of an accident. Not to mention the lives and health of those manning the docks.

Digitread believes that close monitoring can reduce the risk of accidents happening, by benefitting from MindSphere and Digitread’s latest app, Smartdock.

“MindSphere is exciting technology with built-in industrial solutions. Everything is cloud based. You can buy the service and implement it fairly quickly,” Lange says.

“Their solution is a lot like checking into a hotel where all the facilities are at your disposal. Using another service is like walking into an empty renovation project,” he adds.

“Being engineers, we like solving problems. We have a general insight as to how the docks work, given the fact that we develop boats. This why it struck anerve,” says Managing Director Magnus Normann.

“In this industry, I think there is an enormous technological debt. Investments have been made on a technological foundation that has rapidly changed. We need to make a drastic change if we want to keep up.”

“The big revelation today is data capacity. A couple of year ago, we could have only dreamed of having the data capacity we have today. It’s a misconception in the industry today that you only need to have a certain amount of sensors toget the right amount of information. Truth is, you have to secure all of the data, and now we have the tools to treat all data.” Normann continues.

Digitread experiences their customers asking for more information when they first start collecting data from the cloud. Can you, for instance, monitor who is walking in and out of the rig? Can you monitor where all of the trucks and machinery are at a given time? Can you analyze data from the dock and the incoming weather report? There are a constant stream of data-related questions that clients can look up.

“It’s best to start easy. Big investments shouldn’t stop you from starting. No massive pilot programs or costly infrastructures. One doesn’t need to develop new technology. The sensors are there. MindSphere is there. The only thing we need to do is work together and start connecting,” Normann says.

The data is loaded up in real time. Solutions can be predicted or foreseen when data is ready to be analyzed in light of historic data. For instance, data tracking the dock’s movement can indicate that a large ship is about to pass. The dock’s movement can then counteract by filling up the ballast tanks. Also weather data and tides will affect the dock at a given time. Part of Smartdock’s functionality is to quickly retrieve data that can prevent something from causing a ripple effect.

Digitread was originally meant to provide a monitoring-solution for a single customer. However, it quickly became clear that this product could play a larger role in the industry. The app will now be available in MindSphere’s own app store, so dry docks across the world can benefit from the technology.

Normann points out that the data loaded into MindSphere’s cloud will exclusively be owned by the customer. MindSphere has encrypted all of the data before storing it safely in the cloud. Safety is the standard. The customer does not need to think IT-infrastructure ahead of IoT’s built-on MindSphere project.

“Digitread is a great example of a MindSphere partner from the operational technology domain with specialization in Marine, Naval architecture & PLM software who has brought actionable insights leveraging IoT capabilities of connectivity, cloud computing & communication to life”, said Paul Kealey, Senior Vice President MindSphere global partner ecosystem.

“Their Smartdock app demonstrates how a partner’s domain-specific knowledge can combine with the capabilities of Siemens to help build globally deliverable solutions on MindSphere. Digitread is a Hybrid Operational technology partner ”