Exclusive Interview with Ami Daniel, Co-Founder & CEO, Windward

(Image Courtesy: Windward)

“Make the seas safer and help the maritime ecosystem thrive through data and insights,” driven by this idea, Windward today is a global leader in maritime insights and technological innovation. Windward recognizes that the maritime ecosystem needs a new way to harness data to stay on top of dynamic events and emerging trends. The company provides this ‘new way’, by fusing maritime data and artificial intelligence.

Sea News (SN) interviewed the Co-Founder and CEO of Windward, Ami Daniel (AD) on how Windward is assisting stakeholders in shipping and maritime to ease complexities of this vast industry. The excerpts….

Ami Daniel, Co-Founder & CEO, Widward (Image Courtesy: Windward)

(SN) The shipping industry is huge. What is the role of maritime risk analytics in this industry?

(AD) The shipping industry is indeed far reaching and involves many different stakeholders ranging from governmental authorities, banks, insurers, commodity traders, and major energy and shipping companies, which makes the role of predictive intelligence even more essential. Windward’s Predictive Intelligence provides all stakeholders with a comprehensive global view of maritime behavior and risk indicators, thereby enabling the highest level of accountability and transparency to facilitate safe business operations. 

(SN) How does Predictive Intelligence back risk analysis?

(AD) Windward’s Predictive Intelligence incorporates behavioral risk analytics based on over 10 billion datapoints and over 300 behavioral analysis models. Our Predictive Intelligence detects inconsistencies and behavioral irregularities, ship-to-ship transfers, course deviations, transmission gaps, flag hopping, and more. By having access to these insights and understanding the significance of a vessel’s historical patterns, industry players can proactively ensure they only do business with entities that comply with all the latest regulations. With increased sanctions regimes and various complexities related to unique circumstances like COVID-19, the need for Predictive Intelligence has never been greater.

(SN) Tell us more about Maritime Artificial Intelligence Analytics (MAIA™) which was launched recently.

(AD) MAIA™️ is the core of our AI-powered Predictive Intelligence maritime solution used to optimize business and mitigate risk at sea. MAIA™️ screens, searches, and analyzes enormous amounts of dynamic maritime data to connect the dots and discover potential risks. MAIA™️ links this data into patterns and profiles that create new insights that enable businesses and authorities alike to operate in and foster a safer and more transparent maritime ecosystem.

(Image Courtesy: Windward)

(SN) Share some details on the Know Your Vessel (KYV) platform.

(AD) The finance sector taught us the importance of knowing your customer – known as KYC. Similarly, it’s imperative that maritime stakeholders know the vessels and the companies they are doing business with, especially in light of the increase of maritime trade sanctions around the world. This is where Know Your Vessel (KYV™) plays a key role, enabling maritime stakeholders to verify ships’ identities and behaviors, understand historical and real-time operations, and evaluate the potential impact of flagged high-risk activities. KYV™ helps with proactive screening and in the long term mitigates risk.

(SN) Cybersecurity is a major issue the industry is facing today. What steps have you taken to address it?

(AD) Indeed, the four biggest maritime shipping companies in the world have been hit by cyber-attacks in the past four years. In order to mitigate this challenge, we urge the maritime industry to join forces and work together, as the sooner we replace the siloed approach with a comprehensive solution, the stronger the maritime ecosystem will be in the face of cyber-attacks.

(SN) You were in the Navy. Tell us something about Windward and yourself. How it all started?

(AD) My passion for the sea began at an early age and fully matured during my 7 years serving in the Israeli Navy. Growing up in Haifa, a northern Israeli port city, I spent countless hours on the beach where I harnessed a deep appreciation for the sea. I’ve also always had an entrepreneurial spirit; prior to joining the Navy, I co-created a community center and later, I co-founded an NGO. Windward is the product of these two passions of mine: the maritime industry and entrepreneurship.

(SN) What are the challenges in the risk analysis vertical, relating it to the shipping sector?

(AD)The greatest challenge in maritime risk analysis is building and maintaining a 360° view of all aspects relating to vessels – behavior, ownership, cargo, identity, and more. There are various methods that smugglers, sanction violators, and pirates use to exploit the lack of transparency in the industry, making it a challenge to know which vessels are safe to conduct business with. Windward’s solution provides a comprehensive smart profile of each vessel and brings transparency and accountability to the global maritime grid.

(SN) COVID-19 has shaken economies. What experiences do you have to share as a company?

(AD) COVID-19 has impacted the maritime trade industry immensely with crews being stuck on ships for indefinite amounts of time without the ability to re-supply ashore. While each country may have different regulations regarding ports and disembarking, technology is key when creating policy. The pandemic has brought maritime to the forefront of business discussions, as the importance of global supply chain operations has become increasingly critical.

(Image Courtesy: Windward)

(SN) What are your predictions for the future of the Risk Analysis sector? What trends do you see coming up?

(AD) We see a major shift occurring in the maritime ecosystem, with businesses seeking to optimize risk to enable business growth and continuity and make future-forward decisions. While banks have been in the business of compliance and sanctions for decades, this is quite new for the shipping, trading, insurance, and energy sectors. These companies are required to turn around mind set, processes, budgets, and culture to accommodate for this new age of KYV expectations. By using Predictive intelligence to get a 360° dynamic view of each vessel, businesses can operate with confidence.

Ami concluded with the following observation:

“Another trend we are seeing is a shift in sanctions and compliance and with authorities worldwide cracking down with sanctions and compliance regulations, maritime stakeholders can no long afford to screen vessels with only a basic check. We are entering the era of Maritime 4.0, an industry awakening which will be an age of collaboration, transparency, and accountability. Mitigating risk is a global mission, and we look forward to seeing this new era unfold.”

Sea News Feature, October 13

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News