Sperry Marine - Smart maintenance

Sperry Marine - Smart maintenance

Nathan broadened Monochrome’s technical capabilities considerably… Nathan is a passionate developer who strives for quality in his work and from his team.

Simon Elgar - Director - Monochrome ltd.

Project Overview

Smart Maintenance System for Sperry Marine

In collaboration with Monochrome, I led a team in developing an experimental smart maintenance system for Sperry Marine. My responsibilities included system architecture, DevOps, client interactions, and serving as the technical lead throughout the project.

This sophisticated distributed system collected logs and performance data from critical systems on ship bridges, securely transferred it to on-shore servers over unreliable connections, stored it securely, and made it accessible to engineers working remotely.

Key Challenges

  • Security Requirements: Ensuring top-notch cyber security.
  • Unreliable Connectivity: Buffering data and transferring it when a suitable connection was available.
  • Big Data: Efficiently handling large volumes of information.
  • Usability: Developing an intuitive online interface for easy information retrieval.


The solution involved creating a resilient and scalable system capable of securely transmitting and processing large amounts of data under varying network conditions.

Technical Implementation

  • Apache Kafka: Utilized for building a complex, distributed pipeline, providing massive scalability and reliability.
  • Riak: Chosen as the primary data store, it efficiently managed large amounts of unstructured data, with Solr integration enabling advanced search and filtering capabilities.
  • Phoenix Framework: Used to build an efficient, reliable RESTful API, facilitating seamless data interrogation by the front-end application.
  • Vue.js: Powered the front-end web application, offering the flexibility to develop a large, dynamic interface.
  • Docker Swarm: Employed for container orchestration, it ensured manageable deployment of each component of the distributed system.


We successfully built a complex system that performed exceptionally well.

  • Deployed an end-to-end prototype on a commercial container ship, which sent data back to shore for a period.
  • Attended a trade show in Shanghai, where Sperry Marine were showcasing its capabilities.

Unfortunately, my involvement with the project concluded with the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown.


This project was a significant part of my professional journey, enabling me to grow as a systems engineer and programmer. I enhanced my skills in system architecture, system engineering, and programming, gaining experience with both familiar and new technologies.