ScanReach – a groundbreaking Norwegian wireless connectivity company

An interview with Jacob Grieg Eide, Chief Business Development Officer

ScanReach, the Norwegian maritime IoT company with headquarters in Bergen, has developed a revolutionary technology for onboard wireless connectivity. What potential do they see for the technology? And what's their view on the maritime industry development? We interviewed Chief Business Development Officer, Jacob Grieg Eide, to hear his thoughts.

For those who are not entirely familiar with ScanReach – can you tell us a little bit about the company and what you do?

ScanReachhas worked over the past five years to solve one of the big tech challenges in the maritime sector – to enable wireless connectivity in steel environments, such as onboard ships, rigs, and wind farms. Without wireless connectivity throughout the asset (vessel, rig, windmill), it’s difficult and costly to improve anything from safety and sustainability to efficiency. The thought of onboard wireless connectivity has existed for a long time, but it’s only recently that we’ve managed to develop a wireless sensor technology to solve it. Our wireless IoT platform is a key enabler for innovation and problem solving on board.

"If we look at the revolution that happened on land with the help of connectivity, we can imagine the potential that the ocean-related industries hold.”
Jacob Grieg Eide, CBDO, ScanReach

You're on an exciting innovation journey, where EGGS is involved – can you tell us about that?

Yes, we have created the ConnectPOB, a wireless connected safety solution for ship crews. It makes it possible to quickly locate crew members during training or in an emergency. It is the only solution in the world that can know where you are, which is extremely important onboard. POB stands for Connecting People Onboard, and its goal is to save lives, simply put. EGGS has been part of the project, contributing to the development of the user experience. We’ve also worked together on the roadmap, strategy, and early-stage conceptualizing. Like I mentioned before, wireless connectivity enables many different new products and services in the maritime industry – this is only one, but maybe the most important with the focus of saving lives and increase onboard safety.

Connect POB connects crew members and enables instant localization in the case of an emergency.

What made you choose to work with designers, and EGGS specifically?

We knew we needed to work strategically with design and the user experience, and we didn’t have all the necessary in-house capacity. Going for EGGS specifically was a natural choice. EGGS had the relevant industry experience, with a track record of successful projects in the maritime sector. EGGS also showed that it had the necessary understanding of industrial processes. And, having a Head of Ocean in Espen Jørgensen was an important factor. I called him, and we immediately hit it off.

What are your plans for the coming year?

We have global ambitions. This year, 2020, mainly consisted of preparations and pre-commercialization. Next year we plan on scaling. There's a lot of planning, logistics, and details involved in this. We’ve already solved the tech-part – we have the offering. Now we need to make the whole value chain and ecosystem scalable, removing friction and optimising the customer journey from A-Z.

“The best people today want to work for companies that do good, where they feel they can contribute to a better world.”
Jacob Grieg Eide, CBDO, ScanReach

Do you have any tips on what business who are on similar journeys to yours should think about?

To succeed, you need to be solving someone’s problem. Otherwise, no one will be interested in what you offer. Preferably this problem should be a high-mission one; something that contributes to a better world somehow. If not, it will be difficult to get the right people to work for you. The best people today want to work for companies that do good, where they feel they can contribute to a better world or society. You also need to be customer-centric and optimize the customer journey. This is essential as it’s impossible to scale without customers. One last tip is to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. Whatever you’re not the best at and is not part of your core, you should try to outsource. Oh - and be nice. Be good. Having a healthy organizational culture is vital.

Any pitfalls that should be avoided?

Growing too fast. That’s also why it’s important to outsource whatever you can. If you grow too fast, you risk creating too big of a cost or not being able to deliver what you’re selling. It’s also important to maintain a good balance between customer-centricity and your own internal innovation power. If you become too customer-driven and only innovate based on customer input, you might be missing great opportunities for more revolutionary innovation.

"A good consultancy makes the client better. They provide knowledge that we can also use in other projects."
Jacob Grieg Eide, CBDO, Scanreach

What has the experience of working with an external design and innovation team been like?

It’s been important for landing a good customer experience. We know a lot about the design field ourselves but needed strategic help, especially on the UX design part. From the start, we've been clear on that we want to absorb as much as possible so that we can use toolboxes and approaches ourselves and develop our own competence over time. This gives a sense of ownership and is also good for the business, of course. I think this is necessary – a good consultancy makes the client better. They provide knowledge, tools, and systems that we can also use in other projects.

What challenges do you see for the future in the industry? And for ScanReach?

The megatrends that we see within the ocean industries are sustainability, safety, and digitalization. And this is influenced by both regulatory institutions and consumers. There are higher demands on safety, less pollution, and increased accountability. The changes we make now will have tremendous consequences for the future of the ocean industries. And there's a lot to be done – there's new technology available to be used, such as electrification, automation, connectivity, AI/ML, and Big Data.

From ScanReach’s point of view, we’re so far not driven by regulatory changes. There’s no regulation yet saying that it’s necessary to know the location in training and emergencies. So, it’s up to us to advocate for the value of safety and POB control without the help of regulations. And, considering the pace that international regulations are created, I believe the customers will demand this increased safety before the regulations do.

And what opportunities do you see?

There are immense opportunities related to onboard wireless connectivity. If we look at the revolution that happened on land with the help of connectivity, the competitive landscape has changed in the last 5-7 years. We can imagine the potential that the ocean-related industries hold and what changes we can expect.

Onboard Wireless Connectivity enables the creation of endless new integrations and services. We just need to find, together with our clients and the industry, what's the next big problem to solve and continue to develop an ecosystem of services based on this technology. But the industry is lagging, so it will be up to those who understand the power of onboard connectivity to harness it.

According to Jacob, Onboard Wireless Connectivity can be used to solve numerous problems. Apart from increasing safety and communication possibilities, it reduces cabling costs when you need access to sensor data or to connect to assets, cargo, or equipment. Our system is entirely wireless and can be installed in hours, even while vessels are in operation.

Bergen is often said to be the maritime capital of Norway. How do you see the maritime industry development in the area?

Bergen has a long history of being the maritime capital, with a big fleet, research institutions, a university, maritime clusters, and so on. We’re also lucky enough to be a media city, with know-how within visualization technologies, which will become important also for the maritime industry. This is important for innovation and an essential driver for the development of services for the future. Another significant advantage is that there are relevant clients – shipping companies, aquaculture, fisheries, navy, energy - available to test new products and services. The only thing that we need more of in Bergen is capital and investment scaling companies such as ScanReach globally.

Sounds interesting?

Espen Aleksander Jørgensen

You should talk to Head of Ocean Space
Espen Aleksander Jørgensen
+47 930 02 430

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