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Author(s): Rodrigo Garro, Industrial Engineer, Orbita

In this paper, Rodrigo Garro, Project Manager of gate automation provider Orbita, defines the term 'Big Data' in the commercial space and explains how port operators can apply Big Data practices to ensure that they can plan-ahead to make their operations more efficient and error-free. Mr Garro highlights that Big Data is most widespread in health-care and retail, however there is a lot of potential for ports and shipping lines to adopt this technology and they cannot afford to be left behind.

What is Big Data?

Big Data consists of the acquisition, storage, model analysis and representation of massive data collected over time. Usually, this data is bigger or more complex than traditional data processing, so there are some challenges in every part of the process:

• Acquisition: almost everything can be sized, measured or quantified. In the industrial sector, there is a wide range of sensors capable of measuring speed, position, presence, consumption, flow and weight. There are lots of models and types of sensors for different sectors and industries that can support harsh environments; dust, marine or explosive zones, for example. The analogue and digital signals obtained can be collected by programmable logic controllers through industrial networks and sent to higher-level systems

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• Storage: maximum data in minimum off-time means that a massive amount of space is needed to store information. From the point of view of IT leaders, the big challenge is how to handle this. In some applications, the size needed could be a lot of terabytes or even petabytes. There are some structured databases on the market ready to handle billions of variables of data…

Featured in the Edition:

The Journal of Ports & Terminals – Top 30 Technical Papers 2014-2016

PTI Edition 72 • Digital & Print
Edition 72 is a special hardback collector's edition collating the Top 30 Papers from 2014-2016, covering cutting-edge automation, mega-ship challenges and supply chain trends. Chosen from PTI's library of over 1,400 technical papers, the top 30 have been chosen based on their popularity with our readers in terms of downloads, views and shares.