Access Technology Group (ATG) is an innovative company based in the Netherlands, specialized in ICT services and solutions for wireless infrastructures, safety and security. In 2007, ATG noted an increasing demand for mobile solutions in heavy industries such as refineries and chemical plants. Within these industries there was a need for higher levels of safety at a lower cost. This is about people's safety. VISICS has been developed to support companies in this. VISICS is a digital solution that industrial companies can rent to gain greater safety and efficiency during turnarounds and shutdowns. To set up the digital system anywhere in the world, ATG uses the mobile internet solution from Comgate and its sister company Capestone.
Industrial companies are obliged by the government to comply with fixed periodic turnarounds or shutdowns. During a turnaround or shutdown, a factory closes between 6 and 8 weeks to check all materials and parts and repair them if necessary. For example, the inside of silos is checked for cracks or weak spots.
During this period, extra precautions are required to ensure maximum safety for all employees and contractors involved. It is vital that when working in such conditions, employees can count on the highest level of safety oversight and support, so that they can be sure that their day-to-day work is carried out in a safe manner. Previously, this was done, among other things, by placing a manhole guard at every entrance. This checked access to a room for each employee and registered which employee goes in and out at what time and has the correct permits. Various measurements were also performed manually throughout the day. All of these activities require more staff to be on site, which can pose additional security risks. In addition, the work is labour-intensive, making these expensive operations.
To make these actions digital for companies, ATG has developed a modular mobile security solution with VISICS that can easily be temporarily integrated into the infrastructure. The digital system offers solutions for Digital Confined Space Monitoring, Remote Gas Detection, Access Control and Management, and People and Asset Tracking. With VISICS they provide on-demand observation, registration and communication techniques. By presenting actionable data in real time, safety efforts are increased while maximizing efficiency and reducing costs.
The big advantage for industrial companies is that VISICS is rented during a turnaround or shutdown. This means that no major investments are required and they receive a turnkey solution with all the necessary solutions in one system. Through contractors, VISICS is deployed dozens of times a year at industrial companies worldwide. To unlock data at all these locations, VISICS uses the mobile internet solution from Comgate and Capestone.
ATG was looking for a connectivity partner that allowed a high degree of flexibility. Since VISICS is always used on a project basis, it is important that the SIM cards can be activated or deactivated at any time. This is easily managed by ATG via the Comgate portal. In addition, ATG, as a market leader, always wants to be able to guarantee high connectivity coverage to their customers. VISICS is deployed all over the world, including in rural areas where getting connectivity can be complex. With the various propositions in the portfolio, Comgate can provide VISICS with a strong internet connection with good coverage almost anywhere in the world. Finally, there are also financial benefits. Comgate was able to make ATG a competitive offer for the Mobile Broadband data that enabled ATG to find the right connectivity partner in Comgate.
When it comes to hardware, Capestone comes into play. A number of aspects were taken into account when choosing the hardware. First of all, the router had to support global connectivity. Ease of mounting was also important and the router had to be able to withstand high temperatures. Teltonika's pursuit of innovative and innovative techniques soon made them a favorite and the choice was quickly made. Depending on the wishes and requirements of the customer, ATG usually chooses between a number of Teltonika routers to fulfill the demand.
With VISICS, ATG is one of the few companies that has experienced positive effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the advice on working from home and the demand for digitization, VISICS has been able to welcome many new customers over the past two years who were initially hesitant. Initially, these companies were not interested in changes due to the expected complexity or costs, but were now forced to embrace new techniques.
The pandemic has also brought challenges. A permanent VISICS contractor was unable to travel to a Chinese factory and perform certain activities due to the pandemic. ATG came up with an innovative solution for this. Comgate's VISICS Smart Glasses, cameras and connectivity enabled the contractor to operate in China despite travel restrictions. With pre-installed software and an instructional video, the local subcontractor was able to prepare the Smart Glasses for use and install the cameras. At the same time, VISICS has set up a monitoring room on the contractor's premises in the Netherlands with direct connectivity to both the Smart Glasses and the cameras.
In this project, VISICS enabled the contractor to monitor, guide and manage the required actions, without actually being on site. And with success! The image was very sharp and had less than a second delay. With this new approach, the project was even completed two days earlier than planned.
VISICS is always looking for innovation, Niels van Kooten, Network Infrastructure Architect at Access Technology Group, states: “We are currently working on developments in the field of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). We see that we can still take steps within this field to support our customers even better with data and insights. And where possible, to make the turnarounds and shutdowns even safer and more efficient.” About the collaboration with Comgate, Niels says: “Access Technology Group experiences the collaboration with Comgate as very positive. Especially the convenience of the self-service portal helps ATG in the flexible use of mobile connectivity.”
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