SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 — Victoria, BC, headquartered Helm Operations reports that it now has more than 3,000 vessels subscribing to Helm CONNECT, its maintenance, compliance, personnel, and vessel operations software. This achievement underscores the rapid growth in demand for the software platform, which was officially released just 24 months ago.
Helm Operations, which is a ClassNK subsidiary, launched Helm CONNECT at the end July 2016 to provide ship operators with modern, user-friendly software for vessel maintenance and compliance. Building on that platform, the company has since launched two additional product lines: Helm CONNECT Jobs, for vessel and harbor planning, dispatching, and invoicing; and Helm CONNECT Personnel for crew scheduling, crew-change management, and payroll.
According to Helm Operations CEO Ron deBruyne, it has been the company's ability to develop powerful tools that address all aspects of vessel operations yet are easy-to-use that has sparked its rapid growth.
"With Helm CONNECT, we focused on combining powerful features necessary to run complex vessel operations, with an easy-to-use interface that is quick to learn and train," says deBruyne. "The fact that we have nearly 150 companies and more than 3,000 vessels using Helm CONNECT just two years after our launch is a clear testament to the success of our approach."
Helm CONNECT is the most widely-used marine software in the North American market, where seven out of the top 10 companies by fleet size now use Helm software.
"In addition to regulations and the business climate pushing companies towards greater efficiencies, we've seen a tremendous trend in the industry worldwide towards newer software systems," says deBruyne. "Companies today want software that's simpler, more flexible, and ultimately better and more powerful than anything that was available even a few years ago."
To respond to global demand, Helm established operations in Europe and South America earlier this year.
"While we've always had global customers," says deBruyne, "the growth of our team in these regions has increased our number of customers in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, while allowing us to offer services like 24-hour support."
Beyond geographic expansion, says Helm, the strongest force driving its success is its commitment to partnerships. This approach was highlighted by its August 2018 announcement of a new partnership with AIS provider, ShipTracks, to provide advanced AIS tracking functionality from within Helm CONNECT. It is an approach that, according to deBruyne, will be essential for all software providers.
"Technology is moving incredibly quickly. From telematics to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), we must provide our customers with the best technology and tools if we're to continue to grow. No company can do this alone, and our approach has always been to partner with the best companies. With ShipTracks, we brought advanced AIS-based vessel tracking capabilities to our customers. Over the next few months, we'll be making similar announcements about partnerships with other leading companies that will make Helm CONNECT even better."