If your knowledge of Bluetooth technology is limited to your earphones or the speaker you listen to music on in your downtime, it might come as some surprise to know that Bluetooth actually has some wide ranging uses that extend further than blasting out your favourite playlist! Bluetooth technology is increasingly being used in businesses across all sectors, and the maritime industry is no different.

Bluetooth is a wireless technology and is all about connectivity so perhaps you’re wondering what the main difference between Bluetooth and WiFi is? While Bluetooth is generally used to connect certain devices without the need for messy wires and cables, WiFi is used to access the internet. Bluetooth works by transmitting short range radio waves and has a more limited physical range than WiFi, usually only working within a 30 foot radius. This is why it’s traditionally been a popular means of connecting personal devices such as keyboards or digital cameras to PCs, or headphones and earphones to MP3s and smartphones.

The world is changing and ship owners and managers are increasingly jumping on the Bluetooth bandwagon and harnessing the technology to drive productivity and profitability within maritime companies. Bluetooth is being used to boost everything from quality control processes and tracking to accountability in logistics operations. And while WiFi and the internet are still essential for larger scale communications, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Bluetooth in shipping is a viable solution - particular when you consider the devices it works with are low energy and therefore low cost.

Another cost saving aspect of Bluetooth is that because it isn’t powered on data and as such is not connected to the internet, it can transmit information to other devices for free. It might seem like the cost of accessing the internet is small change compared to other outlays, but any opportunity to control spending is one that shouldn’t be overlooked in any industry.

On a practical level, that transmission could be the relaying of information about how close cargo is to a Bluetooth-enabled device. The ability to then track shipments and provide updates in real-time to tracking and management systems will enhance accuracy, encourage timeliness and enable shipping companies to deliver an overall better level of service to their clients. This also means that the manual scanning of cargo can be eliminated, further saving on time and costs.

And talking about service levels, if there’s one thing that’s bound to throw ETAs out of sync and let down customers, let’s not forget about the dreaded downtime. No internet connection is infallible - especially not at sea and every minute a network is down, will cost shipping companies potentially huge sums of money in wasted time. Devices that are Bluetooth-enabled communicate directly with each other, eliminating internet connectivity issues entirely. This lack of internet connection also addresses ever-present security concerns: Bluetooth technology enables the secure transfer of information about cargo and shipments, ensuring that only those parties who are meant to see it, will see it.

If you’re trying to drive productivity while saving costs within your shipping company, talk to Martide today and see how we can help you streamline your recruitment and crewing processes.