WartsilaWartsila has opened the first of four Digital Acceleration Centres to speed up what it calls the innovation and co-creation with customers on a range of new business models and solutions, including the industry's most advanced intelligent vessel and other projects.

The first Digital Acceleration Centre was launched today in Helsinki; the second will open in December in Singapore and two further acceleration centres, one in Central Europe and one in North America, are anticipated during 2018. In addition "pop-up" DACs will be tested with customers around the globe.

Opening DACs is seen as an integral part of the company’s digital transformation, which will move it towards a data-driven, insights led, smart technology company that enables sustainable societies, according to a prepared statement.

"The Digital Acceleration Centre is all about getting business outcomes at pace. By adopting a start-up mind-set, we can rapidly prototype ideas with customers; including the use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chain and virtual reality," said Chief Digital Officer Marco Ryan.

The first DAC in Helsinki has already been running as a beta version for a couple of months and several projects have been accelerated there with different partners. Current projects include for example co-creation with one of major cruise companies.

According to Wartsila, one of the greatest concepts incubated so far in the Helsinki DAC is its Intelligent Vessel Strategy.

"The Digital Acceleration Centre shows its true power in such complex concepts like Intelligent Vessels. In a matter of weeks we created an aligned strategy, concepts, roadmaps, and technology requirements that would have taken months or years. Each concept can be cut into smaller projects which are incubated and developed into Minimal Viable Products (MVP) far quicker than ever before. Even if occasionally an idea fails in the incubation phase, we see that as a learning opportunity and a valuable insight into building a better solution," added Ryan.

Wartsila has worked together with Royal Caribbean in optimising fleet and ship operations as well as reducing emissions and cutting fuel costs. Building on this experience, the two companies are now working closely together in a partnership to develop all aspects of the intelligent vessel further, using the DAC to accelerate some of the prototyping.

Wartsila has also partnered up with Accenture Interactive to speed up innovation and go-to-market as well as to help grow talent for creating world-class digital services.