“The more people tell me something can’t be done, the more excited I get,” says Richard Browning in issue 182 of The Superyacht Report, “because it means there’s a chance that what you could do could completely change the rules.” Browning has become something of a social media sensation in recent months, primarily because of one thing – his jet-powered personal flying suit. Aside from the tech involved, it’s his views on the attitude toward innovation – particularly in a corporate environment – that really provoke thought. In an industry that – in some quarters at least – remains moderately conservative, it is the insight of people such as Browning that could really inspire new approaches to how we run, design and manufacture in this world we call superyacht. It’s why I think his presentation at TSF about the jet-powered suit and how such an idea made it from his imagination to reality in just two years will be something you won’t want to miss.

In a similar vein, innovative strategist Alf Rehn will deliver a motivating, thought-provoking and at times brutally, humorously shocking look at what innovation means, how it so easily gets stifled, and what we should be doing to encourage it. Having heard Rehn speak earlier this year, I can attest that the audience will be gripped and will leave with a completely different mindset – it will be another session not to be missed no matter which sector of the industry you work in.

Of course, TSF also has some far more detailed technology discussions, all of which will be looking to the future to fit in with our theme of A 10-year Blueprint for the Superyacht Market. Atollvic Shipyard’s Anxo Mourelle will discuss how 3D printing offers extraordinary possibilities for designers and for shipyards during the construction process, while Pinmar CEO Remy Millott and Gareth Thomas – technical support team manager, speciality coatings at AkzoNobel – will be among a distinguished panel discussing electrostatic paint spraying technology, and how it is changing the face of the superyacht industry.

Of course, being something of a tech-head myself, I have to profess a certain proclivity for data, and this in turn leads naturally toward artificial intelligence (AI). For the latter Oskar Levander – Rolls-Royce’s VP innovation, engineering & technology, marine – will be talking about how Rolls-Royce is innovating in the field of AI and in doing so potentially changing the way vessels navigate on the high seas. Is this a future for superyachts? If you would like to know the answer, then this session should definitely be on your list.

Finally, one thing that is certain is that data creation itself is on the rise in all aspects of a superyacht’s systems, from the main engines to the lighting system. These vast new streams of information have the potential to transform all aspects of a yacht’s operation and maintenance – but only if certain considerations are met at the design stage. Further, what use is all this data if it is either overwhelming for the engineering team, or if it can’t be beamed off the yacht for analysis or use elsewhere? To address these questions we have compiled an extraordinary panel of experts who will talk through each stage of the data chain – from the amount of data coming off modern engines, to how data is handled by onboard networks, how manufacturers and shoreside support operations could use it, how to present it in a usable way to crews, how AI and machine learning could become a key part of onboard systems, and how new generations of satellite technology could finally mean a fully data-connected superyacht fleet. It will be fascinating. And, of course, as chair of the session I will be there too – but perhaps that's one bit of data that is a little irrelevant..

Image: Richard Browing at SEC; courtesy of Gravity

 

This year’s The Superyacht Forum takes place 13-16 November at Amsterdam RAI. Following a theme of A 10-year Blueprint for the Superyacht Market, the forum is set to be the networking highlight of the superyacht calendar, with 800 delegates and key decision makers from the technology, operations, owner and family office, project management, yard and construction sectors brought together to discuss the key factors affecting and influencing our industry. To book your place and for further information, click here.