Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality applications are changing the field of maritime training as they can simulate a real event. SQLearn, one of the greatest e-learning providers in shipping, invests in these technologies including block chain for certificates validation.
Dr. Antonis Frigas, General Manager of SQLearn, explains the company’s new IT solutions in all areas of maritime training and describes the company’s Research & Development activities that aim at disrupting the field of maritime e-learning.
– What are the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in your company’s functions & operations?
Despite the considerable disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, SQLearn remains fully operational, even from the early days of the pandemic. We safeguarded the health and safety of our people by extending remote working. We understand the importance and benefits of being resilient in situations like this and that allows us to continuously service our clients in times where they need our services more than ever.
Further to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the global economy and especially in the shipping industry, SQLearn has developed an e-learning course to create awareness for the COVID-19 pandemic based on IMO advice and relevant WHO guidance. The course, entitled “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Awareness Course, based on IMO & WHO guidance”, aims to assist shipping companies to disseminate the information provided by IMO and WHO in order to keep seafarers and ashore personnel informed and stop the spread of the virus. As everyone is well aware by now, it is critical to follow these advises in order to stay protected from the virus and reduce the general risk of transmission. The information provided by the e-learning course has been gathered from IMO’s official website where relevant announcements, resources, circulars and WHO guidelines are posted. The course is offered to all SQLearn clients with no additional cost.
– Describe your company’s business model in order to meet your clients’ needs and requirements.
Building on the advantages of e-learning over the outdated Computer Based Training (CBT) offered by the competition, SQLearn has a modern approach to maritime training. A large number of companies have embraced this approach as they identify that using SQLearn’s system and courses has largely reduced the administration time required by their Crew and IT departments. Furthermore, the topics of SQLearn’s library being up to date with regulations and industry standards allow companies to easily train and disseminate information across the fleet and across company locations worldwide. It is easily understandable that using SQLearn’s services largely reduces costs associated with travel, classrooms booking and eliminates the need to gather trainees in a specific place. On top of that, the consistent quality of the e-learning courses ensures that all trainees will receive the same high level of training. An integrated teleconference system facilitates the need for synchronous sessions between instructors and trainees. It is therefore derived that successful implementation of SQLearn’s services can also improve risk management as training contributes to identifying, understanding and eliminating risks.
– Describe the range of your company’s IT solutions in relation to the specific operational profiles of your customers.
SQLearn allows shipping companies to continue their training schedule without interruptions by providing ABS certified e-learning system and courses for onboard and ashore safety training on STCW topics. Thanks to SQLearn’s e-learning services, ashore and onboard personnel can be trained quickly and efficiently, without any location restrictions. SQLearn builds the future of maritime e-learning through the introduction of inter- active e-learning courses rather than traditional CBTs, as well as through the e-learning material that is delivered both ashore and onboard using the same system.
At the same time SQLearn introduced real time connection with the vessels, allowing crew managers to have real time reporting, the ability to send new material when necessary and the flexibility to create course enrollments as needed. Also, SQLearn’s system keeps bandwidth requirements to a minimum, since seafarers access the e-learning courses via the vessels’ local network. Furthermore, using SQLearn’s Training Management System, enables the companies to manage all training activities, including e-learning, classroom based training, drills and many more. Additionally, SQLearn has an open architecture that allows any web service enabled provider to receive or send data and provides the ability to the crew managers to gather all data in one system and easily receive relevant reporting.
– Have you diversified your services in cyber security, block chain technology, data analytics tools and other solutions?
Cyber security is the basic prerequisite for the protection of the smooth operation of each shipping company and it can now be secured through SQLearn’s new e-learning courses. The e-learning course “Cyber Security” is intended for ashore personnel, while “Cyber Security on board” for sea- farers on board. Both courses aim to inform regarding malicious attacks and threats which may endanger personal and corporate data. At the same time, the courses provide important information for users’ protection and prevention of cybercrime.
Block chain is something that we are currently trying to utilize in one of our upcoming products so as to ensure the integrity of the seafarer’s training records. We will soon be able to disclose further information regarding this topic.
– Have you exploited the advanced technology AI, IoT, machine learning and other innovations to increase the performance and the efficiency of your customer’s operations?
SQLearn’s new reporting tool gathers training data and uses big data techniques along with AI and machine learning in order to calculate training related KPIs and correlations that help companies better understand the progress of the training process, its effectiveness and how it is impacted by various factors. Crew managers have additional data at hand that help them create better training schedules and provide vessel or user specific trainings when needed.
– What are the new initiatives of your company and your future plans to expand your market share in shipping?
SQLearn already brought a disruption to the field of maritime e-learning and we work really hard in order to keep this edge. While we always follow the latest methodologies for e-learning course development and software development we also closely monitor the procedures followed by major shipping companies as well as the latest advancements in available resources e.g. bandwidth allocation in order to develop new methods and update our products accordingly. Furthermore, we coordinate many EU and national funded research projects where we cooperate with Universities and Research Organizations in order to form future products. Our current research and development activities focus on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality applications as well as establishing a block chain based certification scheme to minimize certificate validation timeframes. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality applications are already changing the training field. Combining virtual reality technology with innovative e-learning resources has been shown to be particularly effective in several industries. In maritime specifically, VR provides the ability to familiarize with situations that would be dangerous, expensive or even impossible to simulate in real life. Experiencing a simulated event of an incident enables trainees to react and gain practical knowledge. SQLearn has already developed in house and offers a VR library focusing on safety related topics e.g. fire safety and lifesaving appliances.
Source: ELNAVI, February 2021 issue / No 566