Greek Talent Creates US Patented Shipping Platform
An innovative shipping platform capable of predicting where ships might go, created by Greek ship management company Signal Group, was recently awarded a coveted US patent.
The system, called the Signal Ocean Platform, uses a complex algorithm that predicts where a particular vessel can travel for up to 40 days.
“The granting of our first patent in America was a significant milestone for Signal,” The Signal Group CEO Ioannis Martinos said in a recent press release.
“I am really proud of our team who demonstrate in practice that the Greek innovation ecosystem can offer cutting-edge solutions in important global industries,” he added.
Over the past three years, Signal Group software has been adopted more and more often by international oil giants. Signal Group customers currently control over 50% of global crude oil shipments.
The granting of the US patent is another important step for the company and the Greek maritime sector. Greek maritime transport is one of the cornerstones of the global economy and a major facilitator of world trade, while being a pillar of the Greek economy.
Dimitris Tsapoulis, COO of Signal Group, tells Greek reporter that “what this algorithm does, which is quite unique, is that it uses past data and satellite information, it takes commercial rumors into account and combines them with artificial intelligence.”
He explains that in shipping as a whole – not just in Greek shipping – there is little data to use on such platforms. “There’s a lot going on over the phone, through email… Shipping is very ‘person-to-person’, which isn’t great for computers and systems.
“So what the algorithm does, which was not possible before, is that it takes different sources of information and data and combines them to make longer term predictions about the destination of the ships.” , explains Tsapoulis.
“To put it simply, in the past you could predict the course of a ship in 10 to 15 days, but this algorithm will maybe allow you to do a month or a little more.”
The Signal Ocean platform requires no download and no installation. It provides 24/7 secure web and mobile access and enables maritime industry players to instantly view complex travel scenarios, tonnage lists and TCE calculations, using its simple user interface and intuitive.
The platform can benefit Greek and global delivery
The Signal Group executive notes that the Signal Ocean platform can greatly benefit the Greek and global shipping industry.
“If you are a port operator, the platform could tell you which ships will be entering your port in the next month and a half. If you are a shipowner, knowing exactly when your vessel will be available next time will allow you to optimize the baseline and therefore charter the vessel more efficiently.
“If you are a charterer, forecasting and aggregating the availability of vessels, in places where you export or import, can allow you to optimize your supply chain and logistics.
“The algorithm can help so many different participants in the market in different ways,” Tsapoulis says.
He notes that the Signal Ocean platform was originally used to predict crude oil transport routes. However, it is now being extended to dry bulk transport, gas carriers and containers.
“We were very keen to expand our solutions so that we could solve different problems for different types of ships. Because when you transport packaged goods, say iPhones from Shanghai to New York, it is very different from when you lift 100,000 tons from the Persian Gulf and transport to Japan.
“It’s transport, in both cases, but very different logistics, very different freight markets. This type of algorithm can be applied on these segments and create this generality. “
Speaking about the patent grant in the United States, Tsapoulis said, “We are very proud because algorithm patents are not that easy. It’s much more difficult than getting a patent for a physical product. “
He notes that Greece being a global shipping hub, companies like Signal Group can talk to brilliant Greeks who have done business overseas. “Over time, we’ve built an incredible team that allows us to do this kind of artificial intelligence and technological development to global standards,” Tsapoulis says.