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Interview: Nedko Panayotov, Ideagen Tritan

Panayotov

Published Mar 14, 2024 9:46 PM by Jack O'Connell

(Article originally published in Jan/Feb 2024 edition.)

 

A computer scientist by training, Panayotov understands the products he sells. That’s why he’s so good at it – and why Ideagen Tritan has been so successful.

Welcome, Nedko! Tell us about yourself – your background and education. How did you get into the maritime business?

Thank you. I was born in Bulgaria but grew up in Canada and went to school there. Right after high school and before going to university, I got a job through a friend on a cruise vessel. So I got on board, did a couple of contracts and really liked not only the onboard life but the industry in general. And that was my initial introduction to maritime!

What happened next?

I graduated from university with a degree in computer science, worked for a number of companies in the public sector, and when Royal Caribbean bought Celebrity Cruises in 1997 I was part of the team tasked with the integration from one vessel to the other. And that’s when I had further exposure to the business side of things, the shoreside operations, and that further piqued my interest.

I also worked for the Department of Defence in Canada, and there were some Navy projects I was involved with – technology and services – and I realized there's so much more that can be done in the private sector. That really made up my mind. I wanted to work in maritime within all of its verticals. I wanted to work and contribute to the modernization and digitalization of cruise, merchant and river vessels. At the time, the digital era was just starting to peak, and I was fortunate enough to become part of that niche market movement and significantly contribute to it.

A lot in maritime was “pen and paper” only 10 or 12 years ago. Technology was constantly improving. New and innovative solutions were being introduced, but for the most part the maritime industry was not reaping the benefits of all these advancements and the industry was falling behind. So I began looking for opportunities.

And that’s how you wound up with Tritan?

Yes, that’s how it all started. Tritan was looking for such a resource – someone with experience on cruise ships who understood both shoreside and onboard operations and had the desired background to see a project through, from cradle to grave. That was 13 years ago. And now I live in the U.S.

Back then we were called IOS Systems. That name was changed to Tritan Maritime. Tritan Maritime became Tritan Software. And Tritan Software recently was acquired by a U.K. company called Ideagen, so now we’re Ideagen Tritan. Ideagen is a well-established global leader in software solutions with over 12,500 clients delivering world-class, innovative solutions in regulated or high-compliance industries like aviation, financial services, life science, healthcare and manufacturing.

Is Tritan named for the sea god?

Yes, it is. As a matter of fact our logo is the trident – the three-pronged fork or spear. You can see it on our website.

Okay, tell us about Tritan.

Tritan has established itself as the maritime industry’s #1 provider of health and safety software and services. Our list of clientele includes the premier organizations within the industry. We strongly value the trust our clients’ faith in our organization and repay this with the highest levels of service, work ethic and returned value.

Miami is our headquarters and biggest office. Our other offices are in Cyprus (Limassol) and Ireland (Cork City). And we have an office in Singapore that we just opened last year. Ideagen's headquarters are in Nottingham, U.K. Ideagen also has offices in India, Malaysa, Australia, and the U.S.

When was Tritan founded, and by whom?

Tritan was founded by a well-recognized and industry heavyweight, Andrew Carricarte, in 2007. Our Chief Technology Officer, Abel Almeida, and I are the only surviving members of the original team. I joined in 2011 when we shifted to maritime. We all had a vision and ventured into the unknown not realizing what tremendous impact our solutions would have and how they shaped the industry for the better.

What does Tritan do? What are its main products?

We’re a maritime software company. We have a medical platform (SeaCare), a risk management platform (SeaEvent) and a safety management platform (SeaSafe). Nearly all cruise vessels operate on our medical platform, SeaCare. Over half of the industry utilizes our SeaEvent and an impressive portfolio is shaping up for SeaSafe. We also work with river cruises where about 65 percent of that market is supplied by us.

In addition, in the past three to four years we’ve made some formidable headway within commercial shipping where we have over 3,300 merchant vessels using our software and services – tankers, dry bulk carriers, container ships, oil and gas platforms, support vessels, to name a few. So really, anything on the water is who we work with.

Our proprietary ship-to-shore synchronization algorithm and some software functionalities are patented in the U.S. and Europe. We’re really the foremost leader in this space. Our primary products were developed exclusively for the cruise industry, but we took the cruise ship model, stripped some of its complexities and applied it elsewhere in the maritime industry – to commercial vessels in remote locations where there is little or no connectivity. We were able to make it work there as well.

And that changed everything.

You digitalized everything?

Yes, we handle over 130+ million data records, manage over 80+ integrations with third-party systems and medical equipment on board. We have 120+ successful software releases and partner with 750+ ports around the globe. A big part of what we do is provide secure data exchange to maintain EU-GDPR and US-HIPPA compliance.

The digitalization journey we were on when it came to healthcare did not end there. Ideagen Tritan was the first to digitalize and streamline onboard medical operations, public health, case management, crew and wellness initiatives and connect our clients with third-party medical providers around the world, providing the tools to manage medical inventory and facilitate quick access to financial reporting and KPIs.

Furthermore, our systems are enterprise software platforms that allow maritime organizations to report, trend and analyze on marine safety, technical, environmental, health, security, audits and inspections. They allow maritime organizations to produce, revise, track and analyze documents across global fleet operations such as operating policies, procedures, manuals, certificates, compliance and more.

We were the first and only company currently to build an ecosystem and gain rapid global adoption. It’s an ecosystem that vessels, shoreside operations, crew, third-party medical providers and P&I clubs are all part of and all using the same software, enabling them to have full visibility, instant access to reporting and trends, real-time collaboration by multiple parties on the same case without causing any data conflicts.

The quality of care and safety was elevated to levels never seen before. Instant compliance was gained by becoming part of the ecosystem. Management and oversight improved tenfold, which led to unsurpassed operational efficiency.

Who’s the computer genius behind this software? You?

No, far from it. It’s the joint effort of our entire team. Over the years we’ve been lucky to work with some of the best in the business. Also, we had tremendous help from the community. But the true genius from a software perspective is Abel.

My role as Vice President of Business Development is to direct the development and execution of the business development vision, strategy, plans and processes that will drive sales, increase revenue, expand markets and accomplish financial objectives. In this role I identify and evaluate new markets, identify distribution channels for our products, develop a network of strategic partnerships, create and build customer relationships.

Amazing. What's your biggest challenge right now?

Look, we are rapidly growing and the demand for our products and services is immense. The space we work in is of considerable size. What keeps me up at night is how do we make sure we preserve our growth at a time when long-term talent retention is a thing of the past.

What's a typical day like for you?

On a daily basis I am involved in various activities such as conducting market research, attending meetings with potential clients or partners, analyzing data to identify new target markets or product/service offerings. This leads to establishing key objectives and mission realization, considering the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, capacity and products. In addition, I typically travel on business about half of the year.

How do you unwind? What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spending time with my family. I have two wonderful kids and a fabulous wife whom I do not want to be away from for too long. They give me tremendous joy and purpose.

Also, I love to cook. It gives me great pleasure and enjoyment. It helps me to wind down.

Cool. What’s your best dish?

I’m a fan of Balkan Peninsula cuisine. It’s the only thing that holds dear memories of my birthplace. I make a mean moussaka and have been known to make the best Shopska salad there is.

Yummy. What else? Any final message for our readers?

Yes. I would like to thank the maritime community for giving us the opportunity to build together, innovate and dream big. 

Jack O'Connell is the magazine’s Senior Editor.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.