“Digitalisation is a tremendous opportunity for aquaculture. The most important outcome we expect is an improved understanding of the fish, the environment, and the interaction between the two. That will provide better fact-based insight that in turn will allow players to produce larger volumes with the same or a lower environmental footprint as today,” says CDO at Grieg Seafood, Trond Kathenes.
“The key technologies will be sensor systems with automatic data collection, the Internet of Things (IoT) that can send data from the facilities and the environment to the cloud, and artificial intelligence that can provide us with new insights. The NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster in Bergen’s AquaCloud project is one example of this. This involves technology that is transforming the industry,” says solution architect Krister Karto at Knowit.
Knowit is currently working together with Grieg Seafood, one of the world’s leading breeders of Atlantic salmon, on a pilot project in which, among other things, we will deliver a prediction model for algae growth in Canada using machine learning.
According to SINTEF, 60 per cent of the current economy will be changed as a result of digitalisation over the next ten years. What does this mean for the Norwegian aquaculture industry?
“Predictions suggest that digitalisation will change the rules of the game in the oceans, but the exact scope and form of that change are as yet uncertain. The winners will be those players able to adapt quickly and take digitalisation seriously,” says Trond Kathenes.
“In general, we are using technology to obtain more knowledge about what affects the fish in their life cycle. When we contribute to improved fish health and welfare, for instance, by ensuring they are properly fed, combined with good economics, we can contribute to a sustainable business model,” says Kathenes. “The winners in the industry will be the players who are empowered to move to a position as international knowledge-based players with a high level of precision and competence. We are at the centre of an ecological framework and can clearly see that our responsibility is to adopt a long-term approach.”
“There is a need for innovation in the aquaculture industry, as in many ways the industry has hit a wall in terms of technology.”
Dag Sletmo, senior Vice President Seafood, DNB Bank at ilaks.no.
You are on a clear journey of digital transformation and have been open about your plans. Is this investor-driven or a way of telling the supplier industry that they need to keep up with the times?
“The one leads to the other, I think. The better we get, the more interesting we are to investors. So we need to demand sustainability from feed suppliers and other suppliers. We see a challenge in relation to our objectives in the fact that a number of suppliers have been late to the game in terms of modern technology with open standards. Unfortunately, we are seeing too much proprietary software and locked-in solutions. At the same time, we are optimistic and are experiencing a growing community keen to define new open standards.”
How will digitalisation change Grieg Seafood’s supplier portfolio. Will you have a brand new set of partners?
“Yes. Our experience is that the new software providers and players on the sensor side have come in directly at the right level when it comes to new technology, while established providers can become ‘disrupted’ quickly. Things are moving slowly but surely for the industry, and it’s great to see new companies with less technological debt now positioning themselves. Our industry is experiencing upheaval, and we can see a window of opportunity for new hypotheses.”
“Our industry is experiencing upheaval, and we can see a window of opportunity for new hypotheses.”
Trond Kathenes, CDO, Grieg Seafood
You have challenged several vendors and cloud platforms, including us here at Knowit on Azure with AI and visualisation, based on the need for better data quality. What new expectations and frustrations do you have for the industry, the supply industry and partners in general?
“In practice, digitalisation means that the value of data is increasing. When we connect data to procedures and processes, our technological framework and, not least, a third factor, our employees, we can see that organisational development and change management are important factors that we need to prioritise,” says Kathenes.
“Open standards enable integration with new technology and functionality. The project provides compatibility with several types of feeding systems, cameras and sensor systems. Grieg Seafood also wants operational and strategic decision support through continuous data analysis,” summarises Fredrik Elgaaen, a strategic consultant at Knowit.
“We analyse environmental data from sensors in the cages, weather stations and satellite imagery in order to identify correlations between environment and algae growth,” says Bjørn Bredesen, Senior Data Scientist at Knowit.
“If we succeed in communicating the potential offered by digitalisation for both businesses and individuals, we can also generate tremendous impetus. Employees who understand and take ownership of the journey we are on constitute perhaps the most important capital. In this sense, both technology and training play important roles. In addition, digital technology and tools can be used in a work environment with good user interfaces and dashboards that provide insight and understanding,” concludes Kathenes.