How to Hack a Port
How to develop digital solutions in a port environment, where things happen fast, and many actors must operate together seamlessly? This is the challenge Konecranes presented to developers at Maritime Hack organized on November 26 and 27 in Helsinki.
The third hackathon organized by Konecranes took hackers into a completely new environment – into a port, where the level of automation can be significantly higher than in a factory environment.
Maritime Hack was special also in another way –the event included three separate challenges and was organized by Industryhack in cooperation with Rolls-Royce, the City of Helsinki and Konecranes. The whole event gathered dozens of developers and designers to Arctech Shipyard in Helsinki.
“The whole maritime industry needs a lot of disruption, and there is a great demand for digitalization. It is a good example of an industry with many different players, regulations, and rules. The different players need to find new ways to work together to fully benefit from digitalization,” said Industryhack CEO Petri Vilén, who will be participating in the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2017.
The attending teams were chosen from a great number of applicants and granted access to the application programming interface (API) provided by the event organizers.
This time the teams had a unique opportunity to visit the Port of Helsinki on the week before the actual event. The visit included info sessions by organizing companies and a guided tour to the different areas of the port – the pier, the yard, and to the gate.
Full automation is the big dream – many things can be automated already today
The teams were presented with three different challenges that all concerned the use of digital information flow in port operations: vessel unloading, yard operations, as well as in-and-out land traffic.
“There is still a lot of manual intervention in container port operations. With automated information flow we can reduce the amount of manual work and also the risk of information being faulty. Full automation is the big dream, but there is a lot of smaller solutions that can be applied to existing operations already today,” explained Konecranes Sales Manager Ville Hoppu.
The teams received specialist coaching from a number of Industryhack coaches. The coaching was especially useful in developing the creative ideas into concrete solutions that create value for the customer. As the second day turned into night, many teams still continued to develop their ideas.
Winner team creates an application to optimize truck traffic
On the final day, each team got to present their solutions to the jury. At the demo session, the teams presented solutions to challenges ranging from weather conditions to container yard operations of small ports.
“The whole maritime industry needs a lot of disruption, and there is a great demand for digitalization. It is a good example of an industry with many different players, regulations, and rules” -Petri Vilén, Industryhack
Team Nortal developed the winning solution. The team presented a mobile application for truck drivers that strives to optimize time spent on cargo pickup. Currently there is hardly any communication between the port and the truck driver. This is something the winning team wants to change.
The winning application is set to optimize cargo pickup. The demo included a calendar view and a function that allows the truck driver to schedule an optimal time for cargo pickup. The application is set to improve efficiency and waiting time as well as cut costs. Reducing waiting times by one per cent can result in significant savings as cargo volumes are high.
Juha Pankakoski, Konecranes Chief Digital Officer, was surprised to see that all teams had focused on one theme – improving the information flow related to material flow at the port.
Pankakoski explained that the winning team was able to develop a very practical and well-functioning solution to a very practical problem.
“The winning solution has good applicability, and it can be easily deployed and distributed in actual working environment. It can also be easily developed further,” Pankakoski said.
The key to victory was the insight to tackle a very specific problem and develop a very concrete solution.
“The idea was quite simple, but we spent a lot of time calculating the business case behind it. We wanted to make sure that the solution actually creates value for Konecranes,” the winning team explained.
Tricky challenge, great ideas
Maritime Hack was different from the two previous hackathons organized by Konecranes because it took place in a complex port environment with a lot of different actors, regulations and rules. The two previous hackathons took place in a factory environment.
“Ports are complicated logistics hubs, where many actors have to work together and communicate with each other. Ports are also very controlled environments where functions take place on very designated areas. Different equipment and systems need to work together seamlessly. The environment is demanding and hectic,” Juha Pankakoski explained.
Pankakoski gave credit to the teams for finding novel solutions despite the tricky challenge.
“We noticed that this is by far a more challenging area than that of the two previous hackathons. All the more, I’m happy to see that the teams were able to come up with innovative ideas.”
To see all the videos from the three-day event, go to Konecranes’ YouTube channel http://youtube.com/user/liftingbusinesses
Find out more at http://konecranes.com/hackathon
Image credit: Daniel Taipale / Industryhack