Information Mobility project leads to better information sharing

The Port of Montreal’s new Information Mobility project has integrated much of the information that its teams in the engineering, infrastructure management and safety and security departments require when working out on port territory.

Frédéric Pelletier, project manager, and Hoan-Vu La, analyst, network support

This new mobile platform has been created thanks to the efforts of many dedicated experts including information technology employees Frédéric Pelletier, project manager, and Hoan-Vu La, analyst, network support, and his team who met with many different clients to examine their needs.

“There are countless applications for this new mobile platform,” said Frédéric Pelletier, who headed up the Information Mobility initiative, while holding a tablet that is as big as a laptop computer, but more powerful.

This new working tool provides access to an enormous amount of information on the Port of Montreal. More specifically, it regroups all of the applications and information required by various Port of Montreal teams that work out on the port every day: engineers, the infrastructure management team, and those responsible for fire prevention and security.

Pooling of information

The employees, no matter where they are on port territory, have direct access to the mobility configuration of their own department when they open their tablet. They also have access, as required, to certain sections of information belonging to other departments, and are able to exchange information with their colleagues. This integrated and transparent approach facilitates information sharing among different departments where operations cross paths. To optimize this new working tool’s ease of use, the tablet uses the extremely visual Windows 8 operating system.

The tablet works equally well from wireless and cellular networks, ensuring a secure and uninterrupted connection while travelling. Using professional software similar to Skype means that communications can be traced among employees while, at the same time, providing official documentation. Docking stations have been installed at various locations around the port, and all of the back office work has been completed to better manage the full capacity of Windows 8.

Response speed

Reducing the amount of travel on port territory and faster response in emergency situations are the main advantages of this new working tool. It also allows the port to document events that involve employees at its facilities.

If Frédéric Pelletier had to report a problem with the hydrant,
he would stand right next to it. The tablet would then show
his exact location on the hydrant's territory as well as the
hydrant itself, which il listed on the port's maps, same as all
service infrastructures.

Example of use

For example, a fire prevention inspector arriving at the scene of an incident exits his vehicle with his tablet in hand. Equipped with a GPS sensor, the tablet indicates his exact location on a port map throughout his presence on site. The inspector can take photographs, film the scene, and forward live images and sound.

With access to the port’s geomatics database, he can identify the infrastructures around the site, including electric and gas lines, sewer systems, etc. Moreover, if the nature of the incident were to involve, for example, some kind of a spill, the information is automatically transferred to the port’s environment department.

What if the specialist who is needed to intervene in the situation is not on site? Using his tablet, he can remotely familiarize himself with what is happening thanks to real-time video sharing. In some instances, he can even solve the situation that is occurring in the field, saving valuable time that would be needed to drive to the location.

The tool could also come in handy for the port’s control centre coordinators. “If we ever had to evacuate the control centre, the coordinators would leave with their cellphones and their laptops, which have the same functionalities of the tablet,”Frédéric Pelletier said. “It would facilitate their duties in the event they had to move their work stations.”


Ensure precise information

“The use of a truly mobile tool will allow us to eliminate paper and the transcribing of notes and will ensure precise information and data in a more integrated and centralized platform,” said Félixpier Bergeron, director of security and fire prevention.

“The tablet is a very useful tool for us to have quick access to emails and all necessary documents when we are in the field on port territory,” said Yvon Bureau, site coordinator, infrastructure management. “In my car, the tablet takes up less space than my laptop computer, and it is much easier to manipulate. Furthermore, the screen is big enough for me to clearly see what I need to see. I can perform the same operations in the Microsoft suite that I can perform with my laptop. The touch-sensitive keyboard is easy to use. In a meeting, the tablet is much more discreet than a laptop for important and urgent documents that we need to see.

“Thanks to GPS and geomatics, which are readily accessible, I can quickly obtain information about port infrastructure. It’s something I need to do regularly in my line of work. This working tool makes us much more efficient.”