We talk to Georgina Gavin, Sales and Marketing Director at VesselsValue.com on valuations, big data, and the small matter of tracking 35,000 ships.
"In May 2011 we launched the industry's first online, fully automated ship valuation service – VesselsValue.com
Immediately we received a lot of attention across the shipping press. TradeWinds wrote, "the game has changed forever… Many areas of shipping have lagged behind the financial world in embracing new technology but when a computer can handle millions of calculations in the time it takes to check the deadweight of a tanker, then it appears to be a no brainer" TradeWinds Opinion Pg 2, 13/05/2011.
After several years of development, this was music to our ears! However, there was no time for complacency. As TradeWinds quite rightly identified in the very same article, 'But don't forget that a computer is only as good as the information it is fed'.
Automated valuation relies heavily on good quality data. Whilst broker involvement and deep market knowledge will always play a critical part in completing the puzzle, from day one we knew we had to maintain the same high standards of data collection and verification.
So much so do we recognize the importance of data quality that we recently decided even new sales and marketing employees should complete a 3 month induction program with our Research Team of analysts, mathematicians and developers. It is important to see first-hand the processes behind the gathering and cleaning up of data. CEO Richard Rivlin (pictured right) is also a firm believer that this exposure is key to building up good shipping knowledge.
Over the past few years the Research Team at VV have found ever more sophisticated ways to handle data, and more recently 'Big Data' as a result of new advanced ship tracking and analytics service 'VV@'.
Big Data has created so much excitement that everyone wants to use it, but the technical challenges it brings mean it is no small undertaking. Each day we process over 5.5 million rows of raw vessel positioning data. That's tracking 35,000 ships and over 8,000 ports! Simply storing this data safely and efficiently requires careful consideration, and whilst data storage costs have come down over the years it still continues to be expensive.
At VesselsValue.com we want to make it easy for shipping professionals to benefit from Big Data – save time and money, reduce risk, identify opportunities and better their competition by basing their decisions on better data.
We are obsessive believers in speed, usability and convenience, so have deliberately designed the website to be as quick and easy to use as possible. Clever infographics allow you to see trends at first glance, but the numbers are also available as downloads so you can dive into the detail if you want.
VesselsValue.com now has three core services: Vessel Search (VV+), Valuation (VV$) and Mapping (VV@). Put together they integrate seamlessly and become even more powerful. Not only can you take full advantage of interrogating our data, you can move from ship position to ship valuation in just one click.
In general, the amount of data available to all of us is growing at an exponential rate, and the ability to analyse it faster is more important than ever. The speed at which decisions are made has already reached a point where the human brain can’t keep up.
VesselsValue.com draws on advanced algorithms, huge data, industry experts, personal relationships, innovative analytics and cutting edge technology, while always being firmly grounded in commercial reality and application. Most importantly, it is continuously updated, tested and optimised."
If you'd like to know more about VesselsValue, contact Georgina at [email protected]