Friday 3rd December 2021

Goodbye port operator pains

Published on July 2nd, 2019

In this piece Chris Mason, director of Business Development, EMEA Market, at Rajant Corporation discusses the challenges today’s port operators are facing and why it is essential that they have a living network which can keep up with its vast operations. He will also explain how together with BT, Rajant was able to digitally transform one of Europe’s largest ports.

The technology landscape is continuously evolving thanks to the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), as more and more sensors, systems, and technologies are being implemented to interconnect people, equipment, infrastructure, vehicles, and other critical assets.

The port industry is no exception to this change and more so now than ever, port operators are looking for ways to apply IIoT technologies to create, enhance, and extend networked connectivity across port environments.

However, if they are to take advantage of the opportunities such as increased productivity and reduced operational costs that the IoT provides, they must have the right network infrastructure in place.

Smart ports

Ports are extremely complex, with countless operational and security functions involved in the successful movement of cargo in and out of ports. To overcome these complexities, connectivity is crucial in helping operators mobilise these functions.

However, movement of the world’s goods requires more than an average network, it requires highly secure, a highly mobile network, which can open doors to new possibilities and revolutionise the way port operators work.

The IIoT is emerging as the main driver of the revolution of today’s ports, aiding smarter yard operations. This level of port connectivity has the potential to not only maximise operational efficiency and productivity, but to also truly transform port business models by giving operators the ability to predict equipment health and performance, create autonomy, and deliver new services.

Digitally transforming one of Europe’s largest ports

If port officials are to exploit the capabilities of the IIoT, they must be backed by a reliable, robust and secure wireless mesh network. One which can turn their network into a strategic, highly-productive asset that can cost-effectively provide port-wide access, expand network reach, and enable network-wide mobility to support a variety of applications.

And as one of Europe’s largest seaports, it is no surprise that DP World Antwerp turned to BT and Rajant for an intelligent, rock-solid IoT infrastructure which could keep up with its operations, as well as overcome its environmental interference challenges.

Rajant’s wireless Kinetic Mesh technology was chosen by BT to help form a wireless backbone concept which could meet DP World Antwerp’s complex demands. Rajant’s “Make-Make-Make-Never-Break” method of forming connections played a great role in this, ensuring that no connections have to be broken for new ones to be made – eliminating DP World Antwerp’s interference challenges.

Thanks to Rajant Kinetic Mesh technology, Rajant’s BreadCrumb nodes are able to create an intricate, yet robust set of frequencies which can send and retrieve signals, whilst continuously shifting to provide the best route for the signal – ensuring that no path was unavailable.

What’s more, the network is also able to dynamically adapt connections to moving vehicles such as containers or large ships, ensuring that DP World Antwerp can keep up with its ever-changing environment. Furthermore, its ability to seamlessly combine fixed, wireless and mobile nodes together ensures that DP World Antwerp’s critical data always gets to where it needs to go, quickly.

Chris Mason

As a terminal which handles 2.5 million containers every year, 3,000 trucks daily and almost 950 ships annually, it is vital that DP World is able to carry out its operations efficiently and effectively. With the help of Rajant and BT, DP World is now able to provide secure and resilient connectivity to 900 of its employees at Antwerp Gateway.

Furthermore, DP World will be able to analyse and optimise its processes and operations, such as the movement of vehicles around the terminal, ensuring that its employees have an end-to-end view of its operations to enable timely analysis and decision making.

But most importantly, the successful deployment of the wireless backbone solution has created a robust and reliable infrastructure for DP World’s future IIoT deployments, ensuring it can make its digital transformation plans a reality.

The future of smart ports

Whilst this highlights the great opportunities the IIoT can bring forward for port operators such as DP World Antwerp, it goes a long way in showing the need for the continuous, wireless on-the-go connectivity these innovative applications demand.

By adopting a network that can readily adapt to constant change – a living network, as such – port operators are able protect their assets with improved situational awareness, whilst meeting the increasing demand to move a greater volume in and out of their ports – ensuring that they are able to keep ahead in an increasingly fast-paced industry and monetise on new revenue-generating opportunities.

The author is Chris Mason, director of business development, EMEA Market, Rajant Corporation

About the author

Chris Mason joined Rajant in June with responsibility for sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Working with distributors, resellers and end-users, Chris will seek to achieve further penetration of Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh technology into these key geographies.

With over 30 years ICT sales experience, Chris has worked for both small companies and in some of the largest global organisations finding IT solutions to business challenges. Over 16 years of this time was spent with British Telecom plc in a variety of sales, business development and management roles, across geographies and industry sectors.

Radio solution have been an integral part of Chris’ background, given his involvement with the UK’s TETRA network for the Emergency Services and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Prior to working for BT, Chris was responsible for worldwide 3rd party distribution for a leading Business Information organisation and has held various senior positions in the IT Industry, including some years working for Burroughs /Unisys.

Chris holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature followed by an MSc from University College London in Telecommunications Business and is a Member of the Institute of directors. Home for Chris is in the South West of the UK in a beautiful part of the country called the Somerset Levels.

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