Visy participated in Business Finland funded Co-Innovation project Smart Terminals – SMARTER, between March 2021 and February 2023. SMARTER is a part of the Sea4Value program, which focuses on the digitalization of the port-to-port logistics chain. The goal of SMARTER and the entire Sea4Value program is to develop solutions that benefit ROPAX and RORO traffic in reducing emissions by optimizing harbor operations and improving cargo and people flow.

Read more about SMARTER


Visy’s contribution: Artificial intelligence for lightweight terminal access infrastructure

Visy has a mission to develop solutions that replace parts of the port access control infrastructure with software. Traditional access control systems require significant infrastructure to operate, but developments in computing hardware and machine intelligence enable a new approach to execute operations that brings significant CAPEX savings and improved flexibility and accuracy to traffic flow management processes. Replacing parts of the system infrastructure with software means faster system installation and deployment and less downtime and manually handled exceptions, which all contribute to a lower total cost of ownership for the customer.

SMARTER project


Project background

Traditional access control solutions are very hardware-intensive, consisting of physical infrastructure such as ground loops, laser scanners, driver kiosks, and imaging portals. As the level of machine intelligence has developed, replacing physical infrastructure by intelligent software components has become an attractive option to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Specifically, we focus on three aspects of digitalization of access control, logistics, and asset management in international ports:

1. Innovative mobile services for port end customers

2. Situational awareness and surveillance of yard logistics using artificial intelligence on low-cost surveillance cameras

3. Exploitation of Edge AI for solving port logistics challenges


1. Visy’s solution: Innovative mobile services for end customers

In most ports today, the check-in process of cargo traffic is based on traditional infrastructure: the driver checks in manually either at service counters or physical driver kiosks at the cargo entrance gate. However, following the trend of, for example, airports, we believe the check-in will transform into hand-help apps in the near future. A mobile solution reduces the check-in time, enables smooth access to the premises, reduces the need for physical hardware, and gives a better understanding of the people who are inside the facility. The application is one way to increase the level of identification of the driver without extra personnel cost.

The system is being piloted during spring of 2023 in Finland. The different kinds of users of the system will be interviewed and their experiences will be helpful for further development of both the software as well as the user experience. Stay tuned for official product launch!


2. Visy’s solution: Situational awareness and surveillance of yard logistics – Visy Area

Traditional methods for tracking the cargo flow in the yard rely on physical infrastructure: for example, intermittent checkpoints with vehicle identification either by RFID or license plate recognition. Alternatively, vehicles have been tracked using, for instance, cellular or Bluetooth signals emitted by the drivers’ mobile phones. However, all of these options involve compromises in accuracy, additional costs, or delaying the traffic flow.

Following our low-infrastructure approach, we are piloting a track-and-trace system that uses overview cameras. The cameras work together facilitating a smooth handover of tracked vehicles between cameras. The solution integrates data with the Visy Gate Operating System and license plate recognition, thus keeping track of vehicle and cargo identities and locations throughout the entire facility.

Knowing the identity of every vehicle (to the level of license plate, container/trailer codes, contents inside the cargo unit, even the driver name if that is registered during check-in) is a unique feature not available from competitors. In an ideal case, the system enables a perfect situational awareness of the entire yard: a map of allocated parking spaces with full ID of every cargo unit available at all times.


3. Visy’s solution: Edge AI for port logistics – Virtual Trigger

Visy’s machine learning expertise is among the most advanced in the industry on static recognition locations, such as the gate or the quay. As commercial-off-the-shelf hardware develop, we also want to bring this intelligence even closer to the edge, running the recognition models inside the camera.

As a great example of the benefits of edge computing, in the pursuit for lighter infrastructure, we have implemented gate event triggering directly from the video stream instead of physical ground loops, photo cells, or laser scanners. This feature has been in production for years already, but during the project we have moved the AI component from the server to the edge (inside the camera). This decreases the need for CPU power, network bandwidth, and configuration, and also facilitates a higher level of privacy without compromises: in the selected applications we can promise that no images will ever leave the camera.

Recognition at the edge has been a success for Visy. For example, replacing physical detectors with software-based ones at the gate has been transformative to how gate environments are designed nowadays. Many Visy customers only accept the new software-based solution, as they know that all hardware components will eventually fail – usually resulting in losses of productivity, uptime, and efficiency of the facility.


Heikki Huttunen

CTO, Visy Oy