First port of call

Philip Mason looks at how the inventive use of digital communications technology is helping to solve age-old problems within the port and maritime environment

Ports are some of the most demanding environments to kit out when it comes to digital communications.

There are a variety of reasons for this, not least that the terrain in which communication takes place is filled with natural barriers to the transmission of radio waves (in the shape of cranes, enormous metal containers, as well as the vessels themselves). The potential RF noise produced by other radio sources in close proximity – for instance, other ports – also provides a considerable challenge for single-frequency communications.

The converse of this is that ports, and the maritime environment as a whole, provide the opportunity for operators to demonstrate an increased level of invention, particularly when it comes to putting recent innovations to use.

This is something we touched on in Land Mobile’s last ports piece, with a discussion of Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh networking product. This issue, we’re turning our attention to the use of drones to carry out safety inspections of difficult-to-access areas, both onsite and inside vessels themselves.

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