Case Study / Remote technical support
Harvest facilitated remote expert communication for a global offshore services customer who provides subsea engineering and specialised tooling for the energy sector.
Since 2020, Harvest has been collaborating with this customer providing technology solutions to enable remote expertise by utilising ultra-low bandwidth video and audio streaming onboard vessels.
The customer specialises in the manufacture of subsea tooling and engineering solutions for energy sector customers. To install or inspect equipment on vessels, the customer’s technicians often need to be present in remote locations.
For one project, a vessel crew in Southeast Asia needed communication and expertise from technicians based in the customer’s Australian headquarters to commission equipment. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the customer was prevented from sending its technical experts onto vessels for planned inspection and commissioning activities due to travel restrictions. Therefore, it needed to be done remotely.
Additionally, the vessel had limited satellite bandwidth. In order to avoid disrupting the project schedule by diverting the vessel into port, the customer sought a technology solution using low bandwidth to allow the crew to effectively communicate and receive guidance from technical experts in Australia to ensure continuity of operation of the vessel’s equipment.
Harvest provided a remote inspection solution that allowed the customer to give technical instructions from Australia to the crew onboard the vessel in Southeast Asia over restricted, poor quality bandwidth. The solution consisted of a wearable headset embedded with the Wearwolf™ encoding software application for crew members to wear, and two NSM™ decoders located in each of the technical experts’ home offices in Australia.
Onboard the vessel, a local crew member conducted the physical component of the inspection and testing wearing the Wearwolf™ headset. Instructions and technical assistance were provided by the onshore technical experts. The crew members and experts were able to communicate with each other in real-time, respond to visual cues, and assist with commissioning and operating equipment. This allowed for 24-hour support to cover day and night shift operations.
Wearwolf™ provided decision-making quality video over ultra-low bandwidth of less than 100kbps. The team were able to adjust the bandwidth, frame rate and latency within the available vessel bandwidth to get the best quality output.
This solution enabled the customer to have two experts remotely commission and supervise equipment operation using the crew onboard.
As a result, the customer was able to successfully commission and operate its specialised tooling on the vessel, without the need for technical experts to travel, streaming audio and video over ultra-low bandwidth. Previously these experts were required to stay on the vessel for the duration of a project charter, even if the vessel was required to complete other project tasks. Using technology, they were able to carry out the supervision of operations from their home offices in Australia. This meant the customer could maintain 24-hour operational continuity despite COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Another key benefit was the increase in operational efficiency by reducing the number of people needed on the vessel, which in turn reduced the cost of the operation for the customer as well as the cost of port visits to transfer personnel. The technicians were able to stay at home, out of harm’s way and remotely complete their scope of work. This also reduced the environmental impact of the customer’s operations by eliminating the need for extra travel.
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