Kongsberg announced Wednesday it has acquired Danish software company COACH Solutions, expanding the Norwegian maritime technology company's range of solutions for vessel performance and monitoring.
The newly rebranded KONGSBERG COACH Solutions will be integrated within Kongsberg Digital’s Maritime Digital Solutions portfolio, supplying vessel operators, owners, pool managers and technical managers with a suite of software tools for vessel performance, weather routing and noon reporting.
COACH’s vessel performance monitoring system was developed by Danish shipping company Clipper Group before COACH Solutions was established as an independent company in 2016. The firm has since grown, with more than 900 software licenses currently running.
While Kongsberg Digital has been primarily focused on the more advanced IOT side of vessels, COACH’s more basic solutions cater to the majority of vessels which still rely on the noon reports, Vigleik Takle, SVP, Maritime Digital Solutions at Kongsberg Digital, told Maritime Reporter TV.
COACH's easy-to-use solutions, which are complementary to Kongsberg's Vessel Insight data infrastructure solution and the Kognifai Maritime Ecosystem, are stepping stones on the path to digitalization. They allow customers to optimize energy consumption and receive constantly updated weather routing, assisting them in making large economic and environmental savings from their operations. These fill a gap for customers who don’t want to have more advanced IOT solutions on board their vessels, Takle said, adding this is still an emerging market.
"COACH has had a fantastic journey up until now—steady growth, very happy customers. We saw that it's a very good fit into what we are doing. They have some basic building blocks that we have not focused on, but we're seeing that the market still wants these more basic solutions," Takle said.
For Takle, the acquisition is about more than the solutions offered. "We don’t buy companies based on their software. We buy it for the people, the domain knowledge, the skillset they bring to the table, and of course the footprint they have in the market," he explained.
"The strength of COACH Solutions’ product offering is evident in their rapid growth. Their ability to deliver solutions that address the most urgent needs of their clients demonstrates the team’s insight into the customers’ pain points and level of digital maturity," Hege Skryseth, President of Kongsberg Digital, said in a statement.
The acquisition was finalized on June 30, 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt businesses globally. One effect of COVID-19 observed within the maritime industry has been the accelerated uptake of digital solutions.
"For the last two years we have thought a lot about the underlying drivers pushing the market to digitalization, like regulations, like high focus on cost efficiency," Takle said. “What we’re seeing now is with COVID-19, it's probably the biggest driver of them all.
"Of course it’s a bit too early to say, but I think more and more are starting to see the benefits from utilizing digital solutions," he said.
Takle said Kongsberg has been implementing remote services out of necessity amid the global health crisis, with good feedback from customers. He said the increasing number of documented use cases that demonstrate what customers have achieved by adopting digital solutions is going to be key to the industry's transformation.