HomeConnectivityPort of Rotterdam extends private LTE setup to drive automation and intelligence

Port of Rotterdam extends private LTE setup to drive automation and intelligence

Dutch industrial tech provider Koning & Hartman and Irish private-network provider Druid Software have extended their work to bring automation and intelligence to operations at the Port of Rotterdam. The pair have established a private LTE network at the port, using spectrum licensed by the Dutch regulator for local usage. It is being used for multiple applications, including private communication, site automation, and IoT connectivity.

Wicklow-based Druid Software has been engaged with Koning & Hartman on similar Private LTE projects for automation and industrial IoT in harbours. They have just extended their own cooperation across enterprise telecoms, industrial IoT and healthcare solutions. Their work on private networks has typically involved 4G small cells from US based Airspan. Druid Software’s Raemis platform is a virtual ePC and used for management of private networks.

Until the middle of last decade, Rotterdam was the largest port in the world. It has since slipped to 11th, edged out of the top 10 by a rush of six Chinese ports, as well as Singapore, Busan, Hong Kong, and Dubai. Even so, Rotterdam remains Europe’s preeminent maritime trading hub, and a focal point for the region’s Industry 4.0 assault. Its key partnership for digital transformation is with IBM, and Cisco by extension.

Rotterdam wants autonomous ships by 2025-2030. To achieve this, it is planting sensors and software across its 42-kilometre port area, with the objective to create a digital twin of the site’s set-up and operations to mirror, track, and pre-pilot everything from shipping movements and infrastructure to weather and water depth. IBM and Cisco have integrated their Watson IoT and Kinetic IoT platforms, respectively, for data processing at the edge.

Oswald Coene, chief executive at Koning & Hartman, commented: “Cargo handling is an information intensive business and is fiercely competitive. Shipping companies are quick to embrace new technologies to gain competitive advantage. The real time positioning application and control of unmanned vehicles requires dedicated data and very low latency. Druids Private LTE application in combination with Airspan’s carrier grade base stations helps us to provide this and gives us easy control and management of the network.”

Liam Kenny, chief executive at Druid Software, commented: “These private networks help logistic companies achieve greater efficiencies. At the same time delivering a safer working environment for their employees.”

The Raemis platform takes cellular radios from any vendor and unifies them into a high-quality mobile network that can be managed easily by IT technicians. “The focus is not placed on cellular network elements and interfaces, which are over-engineered for business use cases, but instead on plug and play installation and management,” the company said. Integration capability with IT management technologies such as LDAP and RADIUS is a key attribute of the platform allowing IT technicians to manage the network in much the same way as they manage their existing IT systems.

Meanwhile, Druid Software has struck a deal with Corning to provide a one-stop-shop for US enterprises planning to deploy private LTE using CBRS. Their package includes service and support, and relieves enterprises from the burden of integrating the various network components, they said.

Michelle Engarto, vice president of wireless solutions product line management at Corning, said: “Our work with Druid highlights Corning’s unique co-innovation approach: We collaborate with industry leaders to develop solutions that increase network capability and deployment speed, while reducing our customers’ total cost of ownership.”

The CBRS band is made up of 150 MHz of the 3.5 GHz (Band 48) spectrum. The FCC has authorised for its usage with small cells as shared access spectrum, suited to provide private in-building and campus networks for enterprise.

Druid Software, with experience of private LTE in healthcare and ports in Europe, wants to grow business in the US. Its target verticals are, hospitals and healthcare, industrial campus, maritime and ports and industrial IoT.

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