BT tests IoT technology at English port

  • July 12, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

British Telecom (BT) and Associated British Ports (ABP) are trialling IoT and sensor technology to speed up the movement and processing of cargo goods and digitise the port of Ipswich’s logistics and operations processes.

ABP and BT have installed IoT devices on cranes and transport equipment at the port in eastern England. These are used for the safe and efficient collection and transportation of cargoes across the port. The data generated are captured, analysed and visualised in near real time on BT’s Intelligent Asset platform to make the unloading and transportation of cargoes more efficient.

“The trial with BT is an exciting step in the port of Ipswich’s journey to becoming a smart port,” said Andrew Harston, a director at ABP. “The data generated by the IoT give 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.”

The system interprets the data from a wide range of port equipment, 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 lets the port’s operational team make rapid, data-driven management decisions, and facilitate more collaborative decision-making with users, making better use of resources and assets to meet demand.

In addition to tracking the movement of assets, the data collected from BT’s IoT offering also monitor periods of inactivity, underutilisation and maintenance requirements. For instance, the data provide better understanding of the resourcing of crane drivers. That analysis can then be used to cut costs and reduce greenhouse gasses.

Cranes are used more when downtime is assessed accurately, and resources can be flexibly deployed to reduce periods of inactivity. The system 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.

“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,” said Dean Terry, managing director at BT’s enterprise unit. “In deploying our IoT, 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.”