An ICT Prototyping Framework for the "Port of the Future"

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Dec 30;22(1):246. doi: 10.3390/s22010246.


Seaports are genuine, intermodal hubs connecting seaways to inland transport links, such as roads and railways. Seaports are located at the focal point of institutional, industrial, and control activities in a jungle of interconnected information systems. System integration is setting considerable challenges when a group of independent providers are asked to implement complementary software functionalities. For this reason, seaports are the ideal playground where software is highly composite and tailored to a large variety of final users (from the so-called port communities). Although the target would be that of shaping the Port Authorities to be providers of (digital) innovation services, the state-of-the-art is still that of considering them as final users, or proxies of them. For this reason, we show how a canonical cloud, virtualizing a distributed architecture, can be structured to host different, possibly overlapped, tenants, slicing the information system at the infrastructure, platform, and software layers. Resources at the infrastructure and platform layers are shared so that a variety of independent applications can make use of the local calculus and access the data stored in a Data Lake. Such a cloud is adopted by the Port of Livorno as a rapid prototyping framework for the development and deployment of ICT innovation services. In order to demonstrate the versatility of this framework, three case studies relating to as many prototype ICT services (Navigation Safety, e-Freight, and Logistics) released within three industrial tenants are here presented and discussed.

Keywords: 5G mobile communication; IoT-based monitoring; connected vessel; e-freight; logistics; navigation safety; port community system; smart port; terminal operating system.

MeSH terms

  • Industry
  • Lakes*
  • Software*