‘Solid business case’
While the Security module, part of the Kraken Tools product suite, focuses on ISPS-related issues, Neowit’s smart Access Control system represents state of the art in Gate security for ports and terminals. “Their award-winning, app-based system is to our mind the most modern and resource-efficient solution on the market,” says Steinnes. “Its low Capex and Opex make a convincing business case for customers to include this extended functionality as part of our integrated turnkey Security offering.”
Access Control is the flagship product in Neowit’s mission to improve the quality and safety of modern workplaces through advanced automation and AI. “Ports also need to keep up with the rapidly changing technology environment, and this is a great example of how they can do it,” says Key Account Manager Hanna Lindland.
The Neowit platform was first designed for real estate and can be used in everything from offices to hotels. “We wanted to help other industries like ports as well, and we’ve worked extremely hard to build an innovative solution offering seamless security that is touchless, reliable, mobile and secure,” says Lindland. The platform extends to cloud-based camera surveillance systems, as well as air and noise sensors.
Lindland notes that some of the big established suppliers in the ports space continue to market security systems based on technology from the early 2000s. “Ours is totally new and we aim to disrupt the market, so to speak. You can’t compare it to anything already out there,” she adds.
Access Control systems built on legacy technology tend to be slow, with limited functionality. They typically require servers on site that have to be maintained, and are vulnerable to security breaches. Keycard administration is an additional drain on resources. “In contrast to older systems that are hard to manage and to access, our system delivers a great port user experience. No more staring at a computer screen dealing with access control issues,” says Lindland.
Cloud-based, touch-free and secure
Neowit delivers both hardware (readers) and app-based functionality fully integrated into the Kraken Tools Security module. Users have a unique ID on their phones and can use the system app to gain touch-free entry to a Gate or door by either swiping the phone in front of a wall-mounted reader or remotely through the app using Bluetooth – for example from a truck cab or similar. Face recognition affords a higher ID security level, if required. “You can basically open and close the Gate automatically from anywhere,” says Lindland.
Moreover, the solution doesn’t require any server hardware as it is entirely cloud-based. “We can also resolve any issues that arise remotely, as part of our online service agreement,” she adds. “With no servers there’s also no need for regular software upgrades and patches. Data compliance and encryption is built into every level of the system to protect against cloning, sniffing and ID theft,” she says.
Reduced Opex, enhanced efficiency
Operational costs are reduced because you don’t have to waste time on keycards, while directory integrations mean there’s no need to manually import new user data. Remote unlock capabilities and real-time reporting means port managers can better serve logistics providers and effectively manage assets. As a low-cost addition to Kraken Tools it provides future-proof security and significantly improved Gate management. “It’s also easily scalable and works across all forms of entry across an entire site. Which means you spend less but get more,” says Lindland.
Another benefit is speed of integration. “Less up-to-date systems are typically hard to integrate because of outdated coding and lack of open API. Our system is new since 2016 and in constant development. We also want to accommodate users’ ideas for new functionality, and will take those enquiries to the R&D people to develop,” Lindland says.
Ports were a completely new sphere for Lindland when she joined Neowit. “The fact that it’s a conservative industry I see as a fun challenge. Investments may be slow, especially in the case of public tendering processes, but what has surprised me is how eager port managers are to learn about futuristic solutions and digitalization,” says Lindland.
“Another thing I’ve noticed is that although you might think different ports have the same general requirements, each has security issues that are quite unique. How they want to manage these is a big differentiator. It’s not always straightforward, so we have to really understand and deliver what they want. Getting customers involved in solution development also helps us to grow and evolve.”
Fascination with China
Lindland studied International Marketing in Oslo before going on to study Chinese in Singapore and completing a Masters in International Business at Shanghai University. “I wanted to learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture just because it’s so different to Norway,” she says.
In Shanghai she worked part-time for a local solar tech company and acted as joint head of the Nordic-China Start-up Forum connecting Nordic start-ups with the Chinese market. “Living first in Singapore and then in Shanghai exposed me to many different people and businesses. The start-up scene in Shanghai is very ambitious and draws people from all over trying to solve new problems, so it was a great experience.”
Living in China also taught her how important it is to be open and adaptable. “I basically said yes to every invitation I got, and I’d like to think I bring the same attitude to my role at Neowit. Mostly I want to add value to my surroundings and customers, ports included!” Lindland says.
Neowit has offices in Sweden, Denmark and Finland but Lindland will be the contact point for ports in the Nordics. “Hanna is very welcome in an industry that we all know could do with more diversity. It’s great having her on board as a partner,” says Steinnes.
Lindland added: “Our cooperation with Grieg Connect is just beginning and of course I’ve still got plenty to learn about the industry. I hope to contribute by bringing fresh eyes and a willingness to listen closely to what port managers have to say. There are so many interesting people to meet!”