For the last five years, Boskalis has partnered with PortXL, a Dutch organization scouting and selecting innovative new companies that can serve the needs of the global maritime industry, bringing external innovation inside the company.
In 2020, as a result of this partnership, we were able to implement a Remote Assistance device using Augmented Reality technology, which allows employees to effectively collaborate from different locations by adding a device to helmets or bump caps to record the perspective of a colleague working on location. The device broadcasts its images to experts that offer their assistance remotely by leaving notes and comments that the local colleague can see on their device. Complex challenges used to involve an engineer being flown to the location, with associated cost, time loss and carbon emission.
COVID-19 restrictions increased the urgency to change our ways of working, but this solution has proved so successful it is being scaled up across the company. As well as 24 of our dredging vessels, Remote Assistance has also been implemented on several individual projects, departments and offshore vessels. During the pandemic, the device saved many days in mandatory quarantine.
Two other innovations to emerge from our involvement with PORTXL in 2019 – monitoring with satellite observations and monitoring devices for soil settlements, have proven their value and are being integrated into our commercial offerings.