Virtual Watch Tower prototype introduced in Singapore

The prototype for a Virtual Watch Tower (VWT) system, a digital tool to improve maritime transport efficiencies and build more resilient supply chains, has been displayed by research institutes RISE of Sweden, VTT in Finland, and Singapore’s A*STAR IHPC.

VWT’s primary goal is to drive on-demand collaboration around specific shipments based on data sharing through a push mechanism, with data control staying with VWT community members. The system prototype was demonstrated to attendees at Singapore Maritime Week.

The objective is to offer situational awareness of essential transport and logistics assets, such as cargo and containers, supervised by logistics control towers that can monitor activities and share private data enriched by public data.

It is financed by Singapore Maritime Institute and Vinnova and supported by technology companies Transporeon, Marine Benchmark, YLOAD, and Fujitsu. Scania, Here Technologies, Einride, Chalmers, and the University of Gothenburg are also supporting the initiative.

“The Virtual Watch Tower (VWT) project was conceptualised to develop a solution to enhance cargo visibility, tracking, and early warning for potential disruptions in the maritime supply chain,” said Tan Cheng Peng, Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Institute.

“A collaboration between A*STAR’s IHPC and RISE under the SMI-RISE Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2022, the solution seeks to foster collaborative decision-making amongst the various stakeholders in the supply chain.”

“The unveiling of the VWT prototype during Singapore Maritime Week marks a significant milestone, and we look forward to the transformation it will bring to the maritime landscape.”

The VWT initiative aims to provide automated, real-time updates on supply chain activities to all related parties, as well as acting as an integrated standard platform to power shipping applications.

Over the past year, VWT members worked together to develop a system that could address these issues. The result is a terminal-centric initiative driven by cargo owners, with a tower-controlled, data push mechanism governed by a commonly accepted code where no central database or infrastructure is required.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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