Navis Q&A: Bring on VR?
As the port and terminal industry prepares for the trials of 2017, two of Navis’ experts; Raj Gupta, CTO, and Scott Holland, VP of Product Management, have answered PTI’s questions on how training will help embrace change – hinting at a VR future.
Gupta (right) has previously held the position of Senior VP of Engineering for enterprise software company Nice System and was also the VP, Engineering and Operations at Oracle. Holland (left) has more than 23 years of experience in terminal operating systems design, development and product management prior to his current role with Navis and was previously VP of Intermodal Solutions at RMI, a GE transportation company.
How can collaboration in the ports, terminals and shipping industry between operational technology providers and other key players solve problems the industry is currently facing?
The shipping industry is going through a wave of consolidation and changes, primarily driven by a need to optimize and become more efficient and in turn be more profitable. Collaboration among all stakeholders is going to be a key part of making this happen and was a central theme to our recent Navis Industry Advisory Board meetings in the Bay Area where carriers and terminals brought their challenges to the table facilitated by industry leading consultants.
Sharing data and information between carriers, terminals, and shippers will help drive more automation and efficiency for all the players. For example, the ability for terminals to get stowage plans and updates days and weeks before a port call will help them be more efficient in terms of container moves needed and loading vessels in a more expeditious manner.
What is Navis doing to ensure its training services are keeping up with emerging technologies that are providing new ways of learning, such as VR?
Navis has recently more than doubled our training staff, and are actively pursuing the use of new technology in the classroom and for virtual training. In the coming year, we'll be launching an e-learning initiative that will include emulation-based online training. We will also to focus highly on classroom training to provide targeted training that is more specific to our customer's operational environments.
What kind of future training environment is envisioned by Navis?
Navis is expanding our training offering from one that was centered almost exclusively on classroom, instructor-led training, to one that combines this classroom training with various virtual training environments. By providing our students with the best of both worlds, we can provide the personal focus that only classroom training can deliver with self-paced training that is best delivered online. Navis's curriculum development is deeply integrated with our engineering development, so that we can ensure that our customers and students learn about all of the newest features and functionality of Navis products first.
How is Navis ensuring that its technology is providing a service that can’t be replicated by port and terminal operators, or even carriers, that want to expand their services to customers?
The openness of our systems is a key differentiation that sets Navis apart and brings ports, terminals and carriers inside as partners in our joint success instead of creating competition. Beyond the most open and extensible TOS on the market, Navis has taken the next step beyond the walls of the terminal and built a cloud application called XVELA.
XVELA is a modern application that brings together carriers, and port operators together on a common platform that is open and can be used by any carrier or port operator. It is not tied down to any specific host application or carrier and provides an independent and open system that allows any carrier or terminal to share data as needed and making global trade smarter, safer, and more sustainable for everyone.
What’s Navis’ future plans for ensuring its technology provides a service that can be used by any port and terminal in the world?
Just as with XVELA above, Navis will continue to provide the latest in terminal specific innovation and products that are integrated and tested with all major equipment manufacturers and which provide sufficient operational and technical flexibility to cover the vast majority of customer use cases. We are investing heavily to ensure we stay abreast of market needs in automation where change and innovation are most rapid, and we are also kicking off some new initiatives to serve the broader market early in 2017 that will further leverage an open cloud based approach.
What kind of research and development is Navis undertaking in order to keep up with changes the industry is currently undergoing, such as mega-ports?
The consolidation of carriers, the growth of global terminal operators and an increasingly hub and spoke operating environment all come together to create an imperative for scalable and robust operational systems. Navis recognises this and has heavily invested non-functional capabilities (e.g. reliability, supportability, robustness, performance, durability, scalability) in our most recent releases while bringing in expert consultants in best practice software development lifecycle and quality processes.
We are investing in architectural and functional simplification of our platform and increasing the challenge associated with our performance and endurance testing so that we can confidently provide definitive proof points to our customer base of our system’s ability to scale as their operations do.