DockTech - Monitoring water depth for ports

DockTech is a water depth monitoring platform for ports and waterways, offering real-time view of berths and water channels as well as pattern recognition-based prediction.

The company’s mission is to map the underwater world in and out of ports, using vessel data. The platform gives the port authorities an all-in-one, user-friendly system that enables the port to maintain the seabed at the lowest cost. DockTech consists of Uri Yoselevich, founer and CEO; Arie Gavish, port expert and former CEO of the ports of Ashdod and Haifa; Steven Adler, data advisor and former IBM chief data strategist; and Eldad Blaustein, business development advisor and CEO of IGI-US.

Reduces maintenance costs

For all ports, knowledge on water depth is important and a basic service that insures their costumers safe entering and exiting with maximum capacity in the port. In order to maintain the water depth, a designated survey vessel is used. The surveys are quite expensive and not frequently enough as some areas changes more rapidly. Moreover, the ports are forced to apply high safety margins to ensure vessel safety. The DockTech platform uses the vessels in the port as survey vessels, and thereby enabling real time data on water depth. Due to this, the issues are discovered earlier, and the port can adjust its safety margins according to the actual necessary requirements. “With our pattern detection techniques, we enable the port to foresee changes in advance, thus reduce emergency processes,” Uri Yoselevich, CEO of DockTech, explains.

DockTech at Hackathon
DockTech at the World Port Hackathon in 2017

Transitioning from prototype to pilot

The DockTech team presented their prototype at the World Port Hackathon in 2017 where they won 1st place and the “Smart port” prize. They realised that the concept answered to a real problem, and that they should continue to work on validating the project. The start-up’s innovation is currently at the pre-prototype/minimum viable product (MVP) development stage, and the next phase will be to make the transition to a full pilot in port to prove the value of the concept. For this, DockTech needs partners, particularly vessel owners, to generate data for the pilot. The company had just completed raising initial funding in order to implement and carry out the pilot. “People believe in us and in our vision, they realise our capabilities and recognise the potential in our innovation. What we have to offer is actually something of great value to ports around the world,” Uri states. DockTech has already a wide network of partners and supporters, as well as proof of concept, gained during a three-month program in Rotterdam.


The best way to get depth assurance

“Unnecessary environmental interruptions are obviously negative, and during dredging soil and underwater organisms are being relocated. By using our technology, the ports avoid unnecessary dredging, and thereby reduces the environmental disruption of the sea bed,” Uri proclaims. “To be a leading company in the coming decade requires finding the best technologies available and surround oneself with pioneers. This includes working with fast manoeuvring start-ups,” he argues. “Ports around the globe have for years relied on the academic sector to solve the challenges related to water depth. In fact, dredging today is similar to how it was done 100 years ago,” Uri continues. Further, he believes that DockTech’s concept of data analytics is the best way to get depth assurance. Moreover, the company considers a model where the platform and data are available to all contributors. Thus, if you share your own vessel data, you would also get access to all the shared depth data. This makes the approach unique and gives incentives for vessel owners to contribute, and thereby, making the data more reliable.

Ports can be challenging to engage with

“Harbour masters, its safety of navigation department as well as dredging managers are our target users,” Uri explains. However, a major barrier is that most ports around the world are large governmental entities which are challenging to engage with. Uri believes that to overcome this barrier, it is crucial to recognize the early adopters within the companies and thus get internal support. Additionally, they need backing from a higher level, such as an innovation program supporting start-ups.


Images © DockTech

By Martine Farstad