Regional sales manager for the Americas
Raised and educated in Mumbai, and now a Canadian resident, Malaika D’Souza is one of several Sea Machines new hires, recently joining the company as a regional sales manager for the Americas. She transitioned to Sea Machines from OneOcean, a supplier of voyage technologies for the maritime industries – for which she spent half-dozen years selling digital navigation products and solutions globally. Prior to that experience, she served as a software sales account manager for Schlumberger, a technology solutions company serving the Oil & Gas sector.
Her diverse background has given her a comfortable base in selling advanced technologies to high-profile clients, including British Gas, Shell, Chevron and others. The experience has allowed her to see first-hand the challenges they faced, particularly in offshore marine environments.
“From safety concerns and labor inconsistencies to inefficiencies related to manual work, the marine industry has suffered in many ways,” Malaika explained. “But I also saw how open the Oil & Gas sector was to advanced technologies that could alleviate these difficulties. That is inspiring!”
On a sales trip to Dubai, she remembers seeing a wharf lined with gleaming yachts.
“I envisioned one day owning my own yacht, even though I have no experience captaining vessels on the water. I thought how nice it would be if the yacht could sail itself,” she laughed.
Soon after that trip, she became aware of commercially available autonomous marine technology. Already familiar with the ways automation aided other industries, Malaika took an immediate interest in what was possible for the maritime space, which was still reliant on “paper charts” and outdated technologies.
“What made Sea Machines stand out to me was their products, which are already available on the market,” she explained. “It’s not a proof of concept. The company has customers using the technology aboard workboats and vessels all over the world. I could immediately see the future of the industry shifting to the bright side. ”
When a head-hunter contacted her about the open position at Sea Machines in the summer of 2021, she jumped.
Now operating out of her home office in Toronto, Malaika has responsibility for selling Sea Machines’ SM300 and SM200 systems to workboat and vessel operators across the United States, Canada, Central America and South America.
“Taking the leap from compliance technology to autonomous technology has been an exciting transition, and I can see the opportunities for Sea Machines due to my marine background,” she said.
She says she is thrilled with how much interest there is in Sea Machines’ systems. From hydrographic survey companies to offshore vessel operators, she fields inquiries constantly. Once she gets to know customers, she enjoys wowing them with an eye-opening SM300 demonstration. For these, a shoreside commander based in Boston commands an autonomous workboat in the local harbor. She says it is fulfilling for her to watch as the customer observes the remotely commanded mission from his own desk, taking in the SM300’s autonomous capabilities, live camera views and real-time situational awareness at sea.
“For me, I’m not as interested in telling the world about what Sea Machines can do, I want to show them,” she said. “Once they see it for themselves, it catches like wildfire.”
As for the future, Malaika is eager to learn more about and start educating clients about the company’s coming products that will use AI and computer vision.
“I am certain this technology will be a game-changer for the industry,” she said. “These are exciting times and I’m happy to be along for the ride.”