Reducing 40% of emissions on professional speedboats fleets with IoT and AI

Case study of a project with
Oria Marine

Project genesis

Zodiac Milpro is the global leader for professional and military RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) and inflatable boats.

We approached Jérôme Hervé, the former Director of BCG in Paris and current board member of Zodiac Milpro, a professional boat manufacturer.

We introduced him to Lift-off, a 10 weeks of consulting work where Sparkmate comes and identifies business opportunities that can be addressed through tech.

Jerome was looking for ways to increase the value of Zodiac while reducing its environmental footprint and asked us to work on the subject.

Reducing 40% of emissions on professional speedboats fleets with IoT and AI

The challenges we faced

Genesis of the project

Zodiac Milpro is the global leader for professional and military RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) and inflatable boats. Guillaume, CEO of Zodiac Milpro, and Jérôme, the founder of JH Next and key Investor of Zodiac Milpro,  aimed to find a way in generating a recurring revenue stream by valorizing data whilst reducing climate impact. 

They brought in Sparkmate as external consultants for a period of 10 weeks to help them identify potential solutions. 

We helped them imagine, build and launch a digital venture to bring environmental and financial value to boat fleet owners. Our collaboration continued to last more than a year with the result of a spin off as a separate entity based on the project solution Sparkmate built, known today as ORIA Marine (ORIA). 

The real challenge

The marine industry was lacking an accessible method to comprehend how boat behaviors and operations impacted both financial outcomes and the environment. So we had to come up with a solution that would answer the questions “How do we make it not just financially feasible, but profitable, for fleet owners to be good for the environment? And how can we help Zodiac Milpro and their investors realize this mission, and what technologies must we invent to make this a possibility?”

During our early discovery we realized that while data was available through the existing boat electronics, it was not being utilized effectively. Fuel consumption was identified as a major budget concern for customers, as well as environmental impact and reducing down-time due to maintenance.. 

The challenge for this project was to build a product with a standardized hardware and a Cloud-based software accessible on a browser (with the potential for a “local” variant for users seeking confidentiality). This enables the possibility to increase the number of users and equipped boats while keeping low variable costs (Cloud + Network + device manufacturing). The most environmental and financial impact with the least financial and effort-based costs:

The solution we built

Fast forward to a year after “lift-off”, Oria Marine (incorporated subsidiary of Zodiac Milpro) addresses the challenges faced by professional boat owners in optimizing the performance of their vessels in terms of operations and environmental impact. 

Boat owners are under pressure to reduce and monitor their environmental impact due to public and political scrutiny. Additionally, increasing fossil fuel prices make it challenging for boat owners to maintain reasonable operating costs. Oria Marine's solution involves collecting data from a fleet of boats through its ORIA Box, analyzing the data, and providing actionable insights to improve operational and environmental performance. 

With Oria Marine's solution, boat owners can reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, extend the lifespan of their engines, and optimize the maintenance of their fleet.

Project Journey

Phase 0 - Week 1 to 10: Proof-of-concept / Find your spark

Milestone 0-1 - 10 weeks

In our “find your spark” phase, the Sparkmate team worked alongside  Zodiac Milpro's board members, operational teams, and customers in identifying market opportunities, customer pain points, and potential concepts. Through the workshops, it was discovered that although  there was some data already available through the boat network, this data  was not being utilized effectively.  Customers still had many untapped ways to save on fuel consumption, if they could only understand and leverage this data more effectively.. Three concepts were identified and the proof-of-concept (POC) was established. POC was developed with the focus on reading the data available through the boat networks (NMEA networks), storing data onto an SD card and creating high-level excel graphs. The Zodiac Milpro team worked with Sparkmate to run some incredibly insightful on-site testing days, pushing boats and operators to the limit to truly understand the story that the data was telling us.. The milestone also included the development of a venture vision statement and the product roadmap was completed.

Phase 1 - Week 11 to 25: Launching the alpha testing

Milestone 2-4 - 15 weeks

In the following milestones, the team launched a CEO hiring process and iterated on hardware and software products V1. The iterations focused on the reading, storing, retrieving(SD card and  valorization of data in Excel (done is better than perfect!). The team worked on product design for the physical device, IoT infrastructure, and software platform. They conducted alpha testing on around 15 boats with Zodiac Milpro's teams and customers in Spain, France, and the UK. Sparkmate and Zodiac Milpro also lead client presentations to devise  the most effective  roll out strategy for sales .

Phase 2 - 6 months in: The beta version

Milestone 5-8 - 20 weeks

At this point the idea was formulated and the business model penciled out, now it was time for the team to begin iterating on the product V2; this time improving the retrieval process by leveraging  4G and valorizing the data through a dynamic web platform, rather than static Excel. Sparkmate worked on branding and a landing page, reengineered the product for Design for Manufacture and pre-industrialization, and conducted small-batch production. We conducted beta testing on 50 boats with Zodiac Milpro's teams and customers in Spain, France, and the UK. We also introduced new valorization features and performance upgrades to the software platform, and worked on data processing and analysis.

Phase 3 - End of Year 1: The handover

Milestone 7-10 - 20 weeks

Sparkmate and Zodiac Milpro had now built a technology that provided customers with comprehensive data to their fleet and boat usage. What was now needed was a way to truly sell this data, turn this platform into a product, and save clients money while making the ocean cleaner. This is when, together, we formed ORIA, and Zodiac Milpro hired Aymeric de Cagney to prove this technology as a sellable product. 

We began handing over the technical aspects of the Web platform, the Data valorization technologies, and the Monitor Boxes technology to the newly-formed ORIA team. We provided operational support for production, optimization, and features testing. We conducted small-batch production and introduced new features and upgrades to the software platform. At the same time we focused on optimization and scaling up data processing and analysis.

Evolution of the various prototypes and milestones, in orange the first version, to the left, the 2nd, and in the box, the last iteration.

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