Inmarsat, Thetius and Shell Shipping and Maritime launch 'crew welfare open innovation challenge


Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has joined forces with Shell Shipping and Maritime and maritime digital consultancy Thetius to launch a new ‘Open Innovation Challenge’ for start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The Challenge aims to identify technology that can benefit crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea at a moment when COVID-19 has exposed the welfare of seafarers to global scrutiny.

The six-week Open Innovation Challenge is looking for novel solutions that have the potential to improve crew safety and welfare across four innovation challenge areas spanning deck safety, fatigue, administration reduction and overall wellbeing.

“We are seeking applications for solutions from start-ups and SMEs who want to conduct a proof of concept onboard a vessel supported by Shell Shipping and Maritime and Inmarsat,” said Nick Chubb, Managing Director of Thetius, who will run the Challenge. “Start-ups and solution providers who apply to the Open Innovation Challenge will be required to submit a pitch that details their proposed solution and a proof of concept onboard a Shell vessel.”

From the submitted applications a shortlist will be generated. The successful solutions will be invited to pitch their idea to a decision-making jury at the end of September. The majority of the jury will be made up of serving seafarers, with representatives from Inmarsat, Shell Shipping and Maritime and the welfare sector also taking part.

The team behind the chosen idea will be awarded a £10,000 GBP cash grant to test their idea by implementing a proof of concept onboard a vessel and the winning start-up will also receive support from Shell Shipping and Maritime, Thetius and Inmarsat.

‘Shell is committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of seafarers,” said Richard Holdsworth, Shell’s Maritime Ventures Lead. “We are excited to learn more and help support new technologies that could make a difference to the welfare of crews.”

Last month Inmarsat and Thetius launched a new report ‘Welfare 2.0: How can the next generation of technology enable better crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea?”, which highlighted the current lack of funding for crew welfare technology that has hindered its development so far. The Welfare 2.0 report can be downloaded at http://www2.inmarsat.com/welfare2.0.

“Our report last month shone a light on the need for far greater support and investment in crew welfare technology,” said Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime. “This collaboration and challenge are designed to help nurture and develop solutions that can help improve the lives of seafarers.”

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