BT and ABP trial IoT solution to digitise port operations

BT, in collaboration with Associated British Port (ABP), are trialling an IoT solution as a way of digitising port operations

BT and Associated British Ports (ABP) are trialling a next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) solution in an attempt to “speed up” port operations and the movement and processing of cargo at ABP’s Port of Ipswich through digitisation. 

Talking about the company’s partnership with ABP, Dean Terry, Managing Director, Corporate and Public Sector, BT’s Enterprise unit said: “It’s fantastic to see the early success of our partnership with ABP as we support their ambitions for the Port of Ipswich to become a leading smart port. In deploying our IoT solution, we’re able to help produce intelligent, actionable insights to support the teams on the ground to monitor equipment in real-time, and make instant, autonomous decisions to speed up the supply chain. This is made possible by combining our award-winning 4G EE network with our deep expertise in sensor technology, network infrastructure, and supply chains”. 

How does BT and ABP’s IoT solution digitise port operations?

To achieve this, both companies say they have installed IoT devices on cranes and transport equipment used for the safe and efficient collection and transportation of cargoes across the port. The data generated by BT’s IoT solution is then captured, analysed, and visualised on BT’s Intelligent Asset platform to make the unloading and transportation of cargoes more efficient in near real-time.

Using a range of port equipment, the solution interprets this data providing a record of time, travel distance, routes taken, and weight of goods unloaded. The information is then automatically sent to port management, allowing them to track the progress of the ship-to-shore operations. “This allows the Port of Ipswich operational team to make rapid, data-driven management decisions, and facilitate more collaborative decision-making with customers, making the best use of resources and assets to meet customer demand”, ABP said. 

As well as being able to track the movement of assets the data collected from the solution, the companies claim that the solution aims to monitor periods of inactivity, underutilisation, and maintenance requirements. “For instance, the data provides a better understanding of the resourcing of crane drivers and uses that analysis to reduce costs as well as greenhouse gases. Cranes are used more when downtime is assessed accurately, and resources can be flexibly deployed to reduce periods of inactivity. 

The solution also gathers insights such as how often the equipment is being used, and how much distance they have covered. This provides an accurate view of maintenance requirements for plant equipment and machinery”, the companies said. 

Andrew Harston, Region Director, Wales, and Short Sea Ports, Associated British Ports, said: “The trial with BT is an exciting step in the Port of Ipswich’s journey to becoming a smart port. The data generated by the Internet of Things solution gives the team in Ipswich the power to manage our resources and assets more effectively, improving our productivity and reducing our costs. Ultimately this trial will help us to provide even better customer service”.



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