Director of Product
We don’t know about you, but we sure love September. Here in Canada, it’s when kids head back to school with backpacks full of new school supplies. At Helm, we’ve got a few huge new features coming out later this year (more on those later!) but to tide you over in the meantime, we’ve filled our next release of Helm CONNECT with numerous improvements and fixes suggested by you, our customers. Grab a seat, open your notebooks, and let’s dive into what’s new about Helm CONNECT 1.16!
Improved audit workflows
Over the past several releases, we’ve been adding warnings in strategic places to alert you if someone else is working on the same item. We’ve received really positive feedback about these alerts because they help prevent users from saving over each other’s work by mistake. One place they were missing was on the Compliance > Audits tab where it’s especially important to enter information correctly. In Version 1.16, you’ll now see a warning during the Record Audit step if someone else is working on the same audit, if they’ve updated any items in the audit, or if they’ve completed the audit and moved it to the next step.
We also acted on feedback that it was tricky to tell where the problem was if you clicked Complete Audit but nothing happened. Now, the Checklist sub tab will turn red and shake if you try to complete an audit but haven’t filled in all the items yet.
Artificial intelligence and advanced integrations
As you may have heard, we recently announced a new partnership with PortX that will link Helm CONNECT Jobs with OptiPort, the world’s first AI-assisted dispatch support system. OptiPort is an amazing new technology that combines Helm CONNECT with weather and vessel data so dispatchers can optimize their schedules, maximize revenue, and reduce fuel and charter costs. To build this integration, we added a number of new API endpoints to Helm CONNECT in Version 1.16. Check out our release notes and API documentation for all the details.
If you’re as impressed by AI as we are and want to learn more, we hope you’ll join us at Helm Conference to see PortX’s General Manager, Patrick Everts, demonstrate how this technology can optimize vessel dispatching. He’ll discuss the incredible potential of the Helm CONNECT and OptiPort integration, as well as the role AI plays in taking dispatching to the next level.
Giving crew dispatchers information at their fingertips
Crew dispatchers who use Helm CONNECT Personnel told us they’d love to see key information in one place, instead of having to click around in the product and find it themselves. To make their wish come true, we gave the Current Crew subtab within Crew Changes a face lift. We made the tab easier to read by improving the formatting and the sort order, and also added the following new information:
- The date and time someone crewed onboard
- The number of days someone has been onboard and the number of days in their scheduled rotation (if they have a configured rotation type)
- A warning if someone has worked longer than their scheduled rotation, or if today is the last day of their rotation
What’s coming next?
Version 1.17—coming later this year—will see the release of one of our biggest, most powerful features yet: Maintenance by Metric! Until now, Helm CONNECT has only supported maintenance routines triggered by dates or by running hours. With Maintenance by Metric you’ll be able to trigger your maintenance routines with any cumulative reading, whether that’s running hours, fuel burn, number of tows, or any other metric you choose. We’ve heard first-hand from our customers how maintenance could be improved (and costs reduced) by basing it on fuel burn, and we’re excited to make that possible in Helm CONNECT.
In Version 1.17, we’ll also introduce a couple of cool new tools in Helm CONNECT Personnel so payroll clerks can automatically top crew members up to full paychecks from their banks, and crew dispatchers can use special pay rates while they’re planning crew changes.
That’s it for now. Be sure to check out our release notes for all the details about Version 1.16. And don’t forget that Helm Conference 2019 will be in Nashville, Tennessee from October 7th to 9th. Tickets are selling out fast, and we’ve got some great things in store for attendees. The conference agenda is now available, so head over to helmconference.com to take a look and register now!