International Maritime Security Associates’ (IMSA) maritime intelligence software product ARMS (Automated Risk Management Solution) has completed testing and been installed on IMSA’s first client, a large yacht. FreightWaves reported on the initiation of testing last October.
Vessels at sea receive a steady stream of alerts from the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), but the information is not geo-specific. Every ship receives alerts about everything from severe weather events, piracy, canal delays, and even disease outbreaks from all over the world. Crew members are forced to constantly monitor the GMDSS, and discard the vast majority of the information in order to find the few items that may pertain to their vessel. The GMDSS wastes crew members’ time and increases the risk that they overlook important information.
ARMS changes this paradigm by only sending specific, actionable intelligence to vessels based on parameters defined by the ship’s captain. The captain can draw a geofence around his ship to look at immediate problems, or define an area where the ship will be at some point in the future to plan ahead. The targeted, realtime data stream can be quickly checked by a crew member who can then get on with his or her work, secure in the knowledge that any new developments will generate an alert in ARMS.
IMSA will launch ARMS in the large yacht segment first, before moving to commercial vessels and then cruise ships. FreightWaves spoke to Corey Ranslem, IMSA’s co-founder and CEO, by phone. Ranslem, a Coast Guard veteran, has worked for years as a maritime security consultant.
Ranslem said he was launching ARMS first in the large yacht market, which amounts to about 6,500 vessels, in order to get traction and deal with any issues before scaling up to the cargo vessels market (about 55,000 ships).
“We need to approach the cargo market with some good data and information,” Ranslem said. “We will launch fully at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at end of October, and customer deliveries from that sales push will start in December.”
IMSA will then turn to the cargo vessel market at some point in the first quarter of 2019, said Ranslem. We were interested to know how the final build of the ARMS software platform developed.
“We had a really good idea when we started the final build about six months ago of what needed to be in the platform from our conversations with clients, potential clients, and industry people,” Ranslem said. “That helped us refine what the needs of the market are. We wanted to help solve a really substantial problem of being able to take data and information and get it into a useable form and deliver it to a vessel to help the crew make a better decision to improve operations and save lives.”
Ranslem noted that each of the three markets (large yachts, cargo lines, and cruise lines) had different needs and interests.
“Large yachts tended to care less about port delays, but were much more interested in medical issues like disease outbreaks, while cruise lines are more affected by port delays,” Ranslem pointed out. “We found that our customers really wanted a solid shoreside management user interface, so they could send Twitter-sized texts and the vessel could quickly respond.”
IMSA has not needed to raise large amounts of capital to develop the ARMS platform because Ranslem and his business partner, US Navy veteran Frank Fenner, are funding it with the profits from their existing maritime security consultancy practice, which employs 55 people. Right now, about six people are developing the ARMS platform, but once the new operations and intelligence center is built out, Ranslem and Fenner will gradually fill it with about 100 employees over the next two years.