Navis takes the middle road
As gate automation becomes an increasingly complex mix of technologies and systems, the challenge is how to integrate all of these efficiently and cost effectively.
"We are seeing tremendous demand for gate automation these days, from very simple to very highly automated, like the system we are implementing for Georgia Port Authority," says Michael Dempsey, vice president Edge Technology Solutions.
"The question is, how do I most effectively integrate technologies into the GOS (gate operating system) but at the same time keep costs down and allow for maximum technology flexibility?
"We know that technology isn't going to stand still.We know that to date most of this kind of automation has been done in terms of point-to-point integration - involving interfaces that are very expensive to build and maintain.
"So we took a different approach and have introduced into the gate automation area our concept of middleware. There are a very large number of devices and technologies that need to be integrated into the gate and this becomes ever more complex - OCR, RFID, biometric server, for example, and the gate systems themselves.We believe middleware is the way to integrate it all - it provides clients with maximum flexibility longterm, while producing lower costs."
Another key issue for Navis is using extended visibility to effect an "intelligent response" within the terminal.Why wait until the truck is at the gate to gain information via RFID tags? The idea is that RFID readers could be located at strategic points on the highway, in order to feed advance information through to the terminal about which trucks are on the way.
"In this way you can begin to get sequence information on how the trucks will be coming through the gate, and begin to plan better," says Mr Dempsey."This extended gate visibility can activate the RTG and crane operation in the yard itself."
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