MORE needs to be done when it comes to adopting and sharing new data and digital technologies in the offshore sector, a survey has found.

The independent report, carried out among key stakeholders identified the biggest data and digital challenges currently facing the industry.

The Digital Innovation Priorities Survey, commissioned by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, found that almost all participants (94%) said there is a gap between the way in which the offshore wind industry currently operates, and how it should be operating in order to extract the full value from data and digital technologies.

One-third of the respondents (31%) also admitted to having a low or very low understanding of data and its potential for the sector.

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The survey also looked to uncover what measures could be taken to break down the barriers that exist to realising the potential of data and digitalisation for future growth in the sector. It did this by exploring ways in which bottlenecks can be addressed and how ORE Catapult can help move the industry forwards.

Dr Conaill Soraghan, data and digitalisation team leader at ORE Catapult, said: “We believe that data and digitalisation are a key area of opportunity for the offshore wind sector. The industry generates huge amounts of data and the potential it presents are endless, particularly in terms of improving efficiency, aiding decision making, reducing running costs and solving operation and maintenance issues.

“However, this survey has revealed that there are significant challenges which exist around the effective management and usage of data. Data owners are struggling with data volume, modern digital technologies are not being exploited to process and analyse data, and many digital service providers are lacking awareness of, and access to, the offshore wind industry to develop solutions for the sector.

He added: Concepts and techniques in areas such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are yet to have an impact in offshore wind, and that’s something that needs to change if the sector is to embrace a more cost-effective future.”

Improving the way in which the offshore wind industry gathers and uses data, analytics and insights is seen as vital to the sector’s success and in achieving the ambitious growth targets set out in the recently announced joint UK Government-industry Sector Deal, which will see at least 30GW installed UK offshore capacity by 2030, creating 27,000 jobs.

Turbine data accessibility and an unwillingness for organisations to share data with each other were cited as two of the main bottlenecks the industry is currently contending with, along with a lack of digital capability to understand and analyse data and turn it into actionable insight.

More than a third of people (37%) said the sharing of data needs to be encouraged, while one-fifth (20%) said increasing the standardisation of data formats would help the sector to better understand and take advantage of the information being presented to them.