Don’t overcomplicate software solutions, ports told

"We don't need to reinvent the wheel," Oscar Pernia, Navis "We don't need to reinvent the wheel," Oscar Pernia, Navis
Industry Database

While big data and optimisation are the buzzwords of the moment, Navis’ operational innovation expert Oscar Pernia has stressed that ports do not need to reinvent the wheel to benefit from improved processes.

Speaking at Navis World, Dr Pernia told delegates that ports and terminals should focus on simplification and not on adding more and more software.


“More sophisticated mathematical models will not make a difference at terminals as optimisation alone cannot address operational excellence,” he said. “We need to complement the software we have today with other pieces.”


He said that humans are still needed in port operations, bringing perceptiveness, intuition and creativity to form multi-dimensional assessments. Robots, meanwhile, bring predictability, precision and repeatability.


“Software should be the augmented bridge between humans and robots,” said Dr Pernia. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are proven technologies today that could provide that bridge, he added.


“Information still needs to be transformed into meaningful data and there needs to be better visibility in real time information. AI brings some of the things that are lacking. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel; AI can complement what we already have.”


He gave examples of UIbots that use AI to mimic brain reactions to situations and machine learning to integrate cognition and best performance; databots to manage unstructured data and to perform complex tasks; and algorithms to analyse and correlate data, used in conjunction with ML to train and constantly update models.  



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