AN innovative program projected to make waves in the maritime industry and seen to alter the mode of seafaring education in the country is set to unfold in the coming years, as two committed individuals in the maritime industry are eager to modify the old teachings of maritime studies which is only confined in the four corners of classrooms of maritime schools—this is with the help of augmented reality (AR) through hologram technology.

In an interview, the proponents of the technology, seasoned seafarer Ephrem Dela Cerna Jr. and IT specialist Christopher Misola said they formulated the Seaversity “to embrace the paradigm shift of learning in maritime education in line with the emergence and the advent of new technology.”

Guided by its mission to keep up with the country’s high maritime professional development standards, the two advocates reiterated that they are dedicated in customizing solutions and higher level of technological adaptive systems to address the needs of maritime education and training, and the maritime industry as a whole.

“Seaversity is a tech enabler which focuses on education and training systems in the new generation seafaring industry. Our dynamics are focused on the visualization of complex structures and processes to enhance future seafarers’ engagement in the profession,” said Dela Cerna, a seafarer for 13 years who shifted to Information Technology with a focus on technological advancement of simulators and assessment programming.

Beside this, Seaversity is envisioned to convey proactive and innovative training environment to boost the quality of seafarer’s trainings while meeting the international standards, with optimum consideration to cost efficiency.

Guided by the core principles of competency-based trainings and assessments that prepares the seafarers to be able to perform what they are trained to do in their actual workplace, Seaversity is ambitious to achieve the creation of a realistic and technologically enhanced learning environment; ensuring active mentor-trainee involvement in practical training; continuously develop solutions to cope with the advancement of technology in the maritime field; employ advanced IT solutions in designing that fits the clients’ needs; and providing the state-of-the-art solutions on spatial visualization of complex structures in lieu of actual physical components such as ship machineries and actual ships.

“We saw the need of this technology because sad to say, most of our maritime universities does not have its own training ships. And sadly, our maritime students just rely on the scenario being discussed and told by their instructors. They do not even have the idea of what an engine looks like. With the use of augmented reality (AR), students and trainees will be given the first-hand impression of the high field of view of the scaled size main engine and its components which will bring them to the reality of marine engineering and its basic construction,” Dela Cerna Jr. added.

He said by the use of available technology, trainees and students will now have the access of what a true ship would look like, right before their very eyes.

Seaversity is being programmed by augmented reality (AR) or a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

This is an evolving technology in which computer generated imagery is superimposed over a real world image.

And according to Digi-Capital fundamental “Augmented/Virtual Reality Report Q2 2015”, the AR/Virtual Reality market is going to expand up to $150 billion by 2020.

“Profit aside, we see this project to be advantageous in our maritime industry because augmented reality (AR) is an emerging technology. Its cost-effectiveness will be beneficial to our future mariners that will battle neck and neck to our counterparts abroad. Innovation is inevitable and we are pursuing this for the betterment of our future seafarers.” Dela Cerna Jr. added.

For his part, Misola said that beside maritime education, the Seaversity would be valuable to the fields of maritime industry such as for naval architecture, navigation, port operations, AV technicians and engineers and port ship security.

“Right now, we are in the process of finalizing the project and after consultations and presentations, we have already established a partnership with Acer and Microsoft as development partners who provided us the equipment for testing,” Misola said.

Dela Cerna Jr. and Misola believe that Filipino seafarers are the most in demand in the world because of their outstanding qualities such as technical knowledge, flexibility, reliability, trustworthiness, hard work and good command of the English language and they, in Seaversity, want it to continue that way.

“Our reputation shall be at the forefront. For the past decades, the competition has been on to us, but we will always pursue to be global leaders. We believe that the pavements of our national agenda where we invest in human capital development to match skills and training to promoting science, technology and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity,” said Misola.

The duo is now in the stage of completing Seaversity and mulls to seek as well the help of the government to make Seaversity into reality to produce technologically endowed seafarers, especially to maritime schools being run and operated by the government.

“We call on the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and President Rodrigo Duterte to at least take a look for this project because it is very vital in the seafaring industry, especially for future seafarers,” Dela Cerna Jr. concluded.

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