Riding through the waves, Sailing through the storm: A reflection on my internship at GIANTECH

The lightning that was (and still is) Covid-19 struck the world, setting off an extended national ‘circuit breaker’ in Singapore. In a flash, the usual vast array of summer internship opportunities was gone with the wind. In order to ride through the waves of disruption caused by this unprecedented global pandemic, I had to get out of my comfort zone. It was no longer business as usual. I started to look for opportunities in unlikely places. As a political science student with a background in media and

communication, I took a leap of faith and responded to a job listing by a marine engineering firm – despite not having any technical or engineering background. Thanks to the Global Ready Talent Programme by Enterprise Singapore, I was able to sail through the storm, stay the course and secure an internship at GIANTECH Engineering Pte Ltd as a Technology and Engineering Writer from 28 May 2020 to 2 August 2020. Broadly speaking, my job is to drive the company’s content marketing efforts by creating content that elevates the company’s value proposition by positioning it as a thought leader and authoritative voice in the marine equipment industry.

Adopting the maritime figure of speech seems apt as it not only speaks to the zeitgeist of today, but it also alludes to the industry that GIANTECH is in – that is the business of selling and servicing marine on-board equipment. Beyond that, the overriding theme of disruption is also very fitting for this reflection of my stint at GIANTECH as it encapsulates the various aspects of my work. Right now, GIANTECH’s work can be summed up as ‘keeping your marine equipment operational in times of disruption – life cycle management in the face of digitalization, disease and depression.’ (As an aside: that also happens to be the working title of a book I am co-writing with the company’s managing director.) Besides (and before) the Covid-19 disruption, the world today has been in an era of disruption brought about by the fourth industrial revolution – that is characterized by digital transformation and the power of big data. The global pandemic has sped up this revolution. Digitalization is no longer just an initiative to stay ahead of the curve; it is now a necessity for survival as the world shuts down to keep the pandemic in check. We are now in the thick of triple disruptions – of digitalization, disease (Covid-19), and depression (economic fallout from the pandemic).

In this context, GIANTECH has been riding these waves of disruption in order to sail through this triple storm – and I had the thrill to be on board as all hands were on deck to steer the ship (that is GIANTECH) through the turbulent waters. GIANTECH has embraced digitalization and invested much resources into its digital transformation. It has launched an e-commerce shop to sell marine equipment – a unique offering in this industry. On a more fundamental level, GIANTECH has harnessed big data to drive the way it does business. It has leveraged data automation and analytics (from Marine Traffic, Sea-web, Solve 360) to capture leads and drive sales. Recently, it has subscribed to inbound marketing, sales and customer service software HubSpot to bring it to the next level of its digitalization journey. GIANTECH has also forged strategic partnerships to stay at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution and ensure business continuity during a global pandemic. GIANTECH, in partnership with 2359 Media, has developed GoTrix, an intelligent performance support collaboration tool for ship managers and crew to maintain and troubleshoot marine equipment on-board vessels – with ease, and with much less vessel downtime. GoTrix leverages context recognition, natural language programming, machine learning and optimisation to streamline the vast array of information needed to operate, maintain and repair vessel equipment. As the Covid-19 pandemic caused hundreds of thousands of ship crew to remain stranded at sea by travel restrictions, leaving technical managers to struggle on their own when their on-board equipment encounters technical problems, GoTrix offers a lifeline. As a seamless digital solution, GoTrix enables the shipping industry to stay connected and continue operations during times of disruption. Furthermore, GIANTECH has launched tele-consultations to help ship crew continue servicing their marine equipment on-board vessels by themselves as they remain stranded at sea by travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, GIANTECH is exploring a collaboration with Yuvo, a productivity and engagement platform, to develop a mobile application that provides tele-consultation and medication for seafarers. Coming from a non-technical and non-business world, I find it personally fascinating to experience first-hand such technological innovations and data-driven decisions.

In the course of my internship, I have honed my skills in digital marketing, content writing and copy editing. Specifically, I have learned how to write copy for SEO and make data-driven editorial decisions. I have learned how to use the SEO Topics in HubSpot Marketing to create a blog strategy informed by SEO and keyword research. I also had a hand in technical writing, working alongside engineers, and translating their technical inputs into marketable copy. Significantly, I helped conceptualize the editorial direction of the company’s blog GIANTECH Review. I am honoured that the company’s managing director has offered to retain me on a part-time basis as Editor-in-Chief of GIANTECH Review to see the project through as well as to complete the book I mentioned as an aside earlier. On a more macro (or meta) level, I have gained a deeper appreciation of the important role that the maritime industry plays in Singapore’s and, indeed, the world’s economy. I have also gained insights into the technological transformations and transnational regulations in this industry so key to global trade and connectivity – and how these intersect with multilateralism and geopolitics. Herein lies the connection to my study of political science.

Looking back, I am fortunate to have encountered and embraced the opportunity in an unlikely industry for me given my course of study. And I am grateful to GIANTECH for taking a chance on me. In these disruptive, unprecedented and trying times, I am reminded of the old adage that ‘in every crisis, lies an opportunity.’ There may be turbulent waters ahead but with a growth mindset, one will be able to ride the waves, find the lighthouse and, ultimately, sail through the storm.

Bryan Kwa, National University of Singapore