The revolution of mobile computing is not news; it has been for some time now a major force of change in the lives of individuals as well as the way many retail businesses transact with their clients. The pace of penetration into the industrial sector, or the business-to-business space, has logically been much slower.
In the business of ship management, expensive and impractical versions of mobile computing have been put to test repeatedly over the past three decades, and repeatedly failed to become a standard. The principal reasons for this failure were high costs and the inadequate quality of hardware. Both these barriers have been removed with the widespread adaptation of iPhone and Android devices in the hands of virtually all employees of every company. This is a fundamental change.
The bridge that has been crossed by every employee holding a device with a standard operating system installed on it, and is always-on as far as connectivity is concerned, has transformed the user infrastructure. The next challenge will be software and an applicative universe of opportunity that the industry will embrace in the near future. This development will redefine the way ship managers handle the distance between the vessel and the office.
There are some companies that have touched the tip of the iceberg with very thin versions of primitive applications for checklists and other repetitive tasks. The adoption rate of those features has been impressive. Further, of particular note has been the pressing demand for finding ways to use smartphones in the work environment, especially as seen at the user level in their professional capacities as opposed to their employers.