Big Data: Automation At Sea

Big Data: Automation At Sea

As fascinating as we find big data’s potential as a management tool, the sources of big data also need to be considered. Anywhere an electronic signal or impulse is recorded, there is a potential data point. In isolation, these data points can be used to increase process efficiency. Collectively, they are making cultural and societal changes, increasing efficiency but eliminating jobs.

Anyone who has watched Discovery Channel knows that an aircraft carrier is an incredibly complex device. My service in the Navy was on a ship much simpler in scope than a nuclear powered carrier, but in my time aboard I was able to see the collection, as well as the transformations made by big data.

“Beans, Bullets, and Bulk Fuel”

My ship was a Fast Combat Support Ship, basically the fuel and grocery delivery system for the fleet, and I worked in the engineering department. The only hulls in the fleet larger than ours were the carriers, although we did our job with one fifteenth of the crew.

With their nuclear power plant, the carrier can stay at sea indefinitely. However, her aircraft needs fuel, parts and ammunition, and her crew needs food. The fleet supporting the carriers’ mission needs these same things, and it was our job to deliver them.

The Watch-Stander’s Lot

As part of the engineering crew, my job was to assist in monitoring and maintaining the ship’s machinery, both for propulsion and auxiliary functions. Most of the equipment, ranging from the gas turbine main propulsion engines and huge diesel generators, to boilers and water distillation plants, refrigeration equipment, and air compressors to fuel and oil pumps, had to be kept in operation 24 hours a day while the ship was underway. The only way to keep all the equipment pieces running at peak efficiency is to constantly monitor their performance so that potential faults can be repaired before there is a catastrophic failure.

Monitoring meant that every hour of every day, someone like me had to go around and read every gauge on every piece of machinery, and record the readings on a log sheet. Some pieces of gear had only a pressure and a temperature gauge, others had as many as fifty different gauges and parameters that needed to be recorded every hour.

Automation Comes to Sea

Near the end of my tour on the ship, the Navy began installing sensors in the place of most of the gauges on the machinery. The readings that would take a team of watch-standers most of an hour to complete before they had to be taken again are now constantly recorded electronically, more completely and accurately than live sailors could keep them, not to mention the reams of paperwork eliminated.

While I was aboard, the ship had a hardworking crew of around 380 sailors and officers. Today the same ship spends even more of her time at sea with a crew of 176 civilian mariners. Automation and the use of what is essentially big data analysis are the factors that keep her at sea, performing her mission.

The sailors whose jobs were eliminated by automation were all reassigned to other vital tasks, but how many jobs in industry have been eliminated by automation, and more importantly, what has happened to the middle-class wage earners who held the jobs?

By Peter Knight

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Bimodal IT Is Not The Death of Traditional IT

Bimodal IT Is Not The Death of Traditional IT

Not The Death of Traditional IT If you are a CIO, no doubt you are getting pressure from your line of business managers to provide a more agile IT environment so they can take advantage of faster, easier to use cloud applications. If you’re not providing those services, they are probably using them anyway and…

Cloud Email Marketing Services vs. Transactional Email Services

Cloud Email Marketing Services vs. Transactional Email Services

Cloud Based Email Marketing Services Every business can benefit from successful implementation of email marketing strategies, but the variety of SaaS on the market can be a little overwhelming at times. Whether you’re interested in learning more about email marketing or hoping to clear up any confusion surrounding transactional email, a little research into these…

The Internet of Things And The Knowledge Revolution

The Internet of Things And The Knowledge Revolution

The Knowledge Revolution Think about a few things in your life right now. It really doesn’t matter what they are, as long as you interact with them daily. They could be your phone, your shoes, your watch, your car, your refrigerator, your garage door opener…you get the idea. What do all of these things have…

Basic Cloud Risk Assessment Tips

Basic Cloud Risk Assessment Tips

Basic Cloud Risk Assessment You should worry about the risks of cloud computing. But don’t get too scared. With a few simple steps you can easily get a basic understanding of your risks in the cloud and even have a good start in managing these risks. If you are a large corporation in a regulated…

Banking On Recurring Revenue In The Cloud

Banking On Recurring Revenue In The Cloud

Recurring Revenue In The Cloud Many common traditions have held up for centuries (Thanksgiving dinner, anyone?), but the post millennial world of business and technology has perennially followed the idea that traditions are meant to be broken. Take a look at the radical change in the way content is consumed.Traditionally, cell phones were used as…

Hybrid IT Matures Just In Time To Tackle Complex Challenges

Hybrid IT Matures Just In Time To Tackle Complex Challenges

Tackling Complex IT Challenges Sponsored by Hybrid IT: The Next Evolution in Enterprise IT, NetApp and Verizon. Today’s sophisticated business environment demands a dynamic and robust IT infrastructure which is a far cry from the closed, controlled environments that most IT departments were created to handle. A hybrid IT infrastructure, drawing services from multiple cloud-based…

Featured Sponsored Articles
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems

The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems

Cloud-Based Phone Systems This article has been sponsored by RingCentral, provider of state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure. Although today’s businesses rely on a host of modern technology, the century-old telephone call is as essential as ever. Of course, businesses today aren’t relying on simple analog voice calls for effective interaction with partners, suppliers, colleagues, and customers, but…

Featured Sponsored Articles
Working With Cloud White Label Partners

Working With Cloud White Label Partners

Cloud White Label Services Sponsored by CloudMGR The benefits of consolidating your cloud to one of the giants such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are improving as competition increases, with pricing wars between the service providers meaning better savings for businesses utilizing these services, and an abundance of features at user fingertips as…

Featured Sponsored Articles

CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, infosec, big data and the internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Sponsor