Creating value together
The past few years have been demanding, with particularly challenging market conditions in the maritime and energy markets. After a tough start to 2018, however, the second half developed positively with improvements both in revenue and profitability. Our focus on reducing costs and improving productivity remained very much in place, while we prioritized investments in digital processes and services. As a result, we are now even better placed to add value by bringing our technical expertise efficiently to our customers in a decarbonizing and digitalizing market.
In a world increasingly defined by speed and complexity, co-creation with customers and other stakeholders is vital to stay ahead of developments. DNV GL has always facilitated and catalysed industry co-operation, but we are now intensifying our collaborative efforts to enhance safety and efficiency of designs and operations, and to build trust into processes, products and systems.
We also collaborate more broadly, connecting with academia, research institutions, regulatory authorities and other businesses through joint industry projects and digitally enabled ecosystems. By doing so, we are better able to take a systems-level and ecosystem approach to innovation.
It is increasingly clear to us that over the next five to 15 years we will see a rapid energy transition affecting all the industries we serve. For our customers and for ourselves, the energy transition is a great source of risk and of opportunity, and understanding the likely nature and pace of the coming changes is of deep strategic value. During 2018, we released our second Energy Transition Outlook, an updated and more detailed forecast of the energy future towards 2050.
In the maritime industry, the transition will shape the future fleet and alter what is shipped, where and how. Wide-spread change will come through more demanding environmental regulations, and evaluating new fuels and technologies to future-proof ships will be critical.
Growth in natural gas and renewables will characterize this future, but the biggest change will come from energy efficiency, expedited in large part through advances in digitalization. The pursuit of efficiency extends beyond the energy sector of course, and characterizes so much of the new, connected world.
One of our key responses to this megatrend has been to scaleup Veracity, our industry data management platform where co-creation and co-innovation can happen in a much more efficient way than before. Today, we have 1.2 million service subscriptions, and the platform is growing by 100 users a day. There are close to 200 services and apps on Veracity, including several external providers.
To bolster our understanding and expertise in new technologies, we acquired a stake in the Singapore-based blockchain company, VeChain. We launched My Story™, a blockchain solution designed to enhance consumer trust in products and supply chains.
Several other projects are underway to explore new business models in digital assurance. In maritime, machine learning algorithms assist us with routing technical questions to the right experts, while surveyors can now use remote survey tools to further enhance quality and service level.
Speed of development is critical, as is accessing the latest technology and talent around the world. In 2018, we entered into a research partnership to develop artificial intelligence with Norwegian Open AI Lab. We are also opening a technology and research centre in Shanghai in 2019 to further explore digital technologies and artificial intelligence in particular. Last year, a broad cross-section of DNV GL’s senior management completed a ‘Leading Digital Transformation’ course co-developed with INSEAD. This valuable learning exercise has now been extended to hundreds of additional participants across DNV GL.
For our customers and for ourselves, the energy transition is a great source of risk and of opportunity, and understanding the likely nature and pace of the coming changes is of deep strategic value.
By combining our industry domain expertise with digital expertise, we will continue to stay relevant and to add value to our customers in the new world that is emerging. Our purpose to safeguard life, property and the environment instinctively directs our efforts in serving our customers and society at large. The common culture we desire in DNV GL is marked by our employees’ commitment to this purpose, and the values we espouse.