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An integrated approach
to voice recognition
As previously reported in WorldCargo News
Total Soft Bank is testing a new, patented
(August 2009, p21), voice recognition has
been deployed at Centreport in Welling-
container job processing system that in-
ton, New Zealand, where the Vocollect
Voice recognition engine was integrated
cludes voice recognition technology
with Jade Software’s JMT TOS to pro-
vide a voice direction system for straddle taken a different approach at Korea Ex- tion features from crane PLCs. At KBCT,
carrier drivers. In that application, voice press Busan Container Terminal (KBCT) RFID readers capture information on
recognition replaced radio data terminals with its “Smart-Client System,” which in- containers and trucks and GPS-tracked
(RDT) in the straddles. tegrates voice recognition with RFID, vehicles send equipment movement in-
Total Soft Bank (TSB) of Korea has TTS (text to speech), GPS and automa- formation automatically to the TOS.
TSB’s Smart Client system, which includes
voice recognition technology, is being tested at
a terminal in Busan, Korea
Jobs are still displayed graphically in
crane and vehicle RDT displays, but driv-
ers send and receive job information with
voice commands rather than entering data
or pushing buttons on RDT units.
Hybrid approach
This type of hybrid approach highlights
the different ways in which voice recog-
nition technology is likely to be deployed
at container terminals in the future.
Centreport is a small terminal with
around 10 straddle carriers and its drivers
find voice recognition sufficient as a
standalone system. In other applications,
HMK the
however, travel distances, and the greater
number of containers in an RTG block,
limit the utility of a spoken coordinate
for a container location.
Terminal operators originally went
from text to graphical RDT terminals
because a graphical representation of the
container yard was more efficient than a
text reference. A graphical reference is still
likely to be easier to work with than an
aural command in many situations.
TSB says the combination of systems
provides the most efficient solution. GPS
and GIS (Geographic Information Sys-
tem) provide more accurate traffic infor-
mation, such as travel routes and opera-
tional rules, while also helping terminal
operators “detect unnecessary duplication
of equipment handling and thus increase
the operational productivity of terminals.”
Using voice recognition to allow drivers
to send and receive job information such
as confirming a move or requesting an-
other job is simpler than working an
RDT terminal and enables them to con-
centrate on the task.
The Smart Client System is equipped
with two voice recognition engines:
VoiceTEXT for Text To Speech (TTS);
and VoiceEZ for speech recognition. Both
were developed by Voiceware of Korea
and were chosen to support Korean voice
recognition for domestic customers. TSB
has completed a successful test at KBCT,
and is now in discussions with several po-
tential customers.
Top Performers
Early days
Voice recognition technology is still in
its infancy at ports and intermodal ter-
minals. Since its first installation at
Centreport ,Vocollect is monitoring these
sectors, but does not market and sell to
them directly, working instead through
integrators and channel partners.
Dick Sorenson, strategic product plan-
There is technology available
ning manager for Vocollect, says the
Centreport installation is “validation” that
voice recognition can deliver value in
to get things moving in over
these markets in the same way it has in
“picking and packing” applications. More
specific benefits for port operators include
90 countries of the world. safety, accuracy and simplification of work.
Indeed, it is hard to dispute the safety
argument with regard to straddle carri-
ers in particular. These large, free-rang-
ing vehicles are frequently involved in
accidents where drivers hit containers,
light poles and other machines. Receiv-
ing and confirming move instructions
through voice means the driver does not
have to change his field of vision between
short and long distances.
Operating a vehicle mounted compu-
Gottwald Port Technology GmbH • Postfach 18 03 43 • 40570 Düsseldorf, Germany
ter adds another layer to driving and, in
Phone: +49 211 7102-0 • Fax: +49 211 7102-3651 •
some jurisdictions, creates a labour demar-
cation issue that could possibly be avoided
with voice recognition technology. ❏
WCN_Kolumbien.indd 1 18.02.10 12:31
February 2010
18_pos22_WCN_Feb.indd 1 04/03/2010 15:27:46
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