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May June 2020 Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

THE SAFE, COMPACT,

THE SAFE, COMPACT, SELF-PROPELLED SUBMERSIBLE BOAT CARRIAGE One man can easily and safely do dry docking and launching of sailing and motor boats on ramps and slipways with a SUBLIFT. Typical usage is docking for fast service, cleaning of hulls and for winter season storage. 1 12-90 ton sales@sublift.se | www.sublift.se Take a look at our ABC Certificate. It shows our circulation has been independently verified to industry agreed standards. So our advertisers know they’re getting what they paid for. ABC. See it. Believe it. Trust it. To advertise contact Julia Hallam: juliahallam@marinaworld.co.uk Marina World www.marinaworld.com

INTELLIGENT MARINA SYSTEMS Working smarter rather than harder by Vance Young Reflecting on my youth, I can still hear the words of my father telling me to always work smarter rather than harder. Being the son of an engineer, it was quite common to hear such catchphrases and tips offering advice as to how to streamline the activities of one’s life. As a young child, of course, this went in one ear and out the other for all that was currently on my mind was the desire to play. As time continued and I focused on my own career path, it became quite clear that all those years of helpful advice really did stick as I focused on a life journey of producing technology to allow people to work smarter rather than harder. There has always been a natural evolution with the use of technology to enhance daily activities. Think of how far we have come from the creation of the wheel to today’s use of computers and phones to perform our day-to-day tasks. This is particularly relevant with regard to marina operations. With so many matters needing attention within a marina, operators are constantly looking for better ways to manage smarter rather than harder. As difficult as this may be under normal conditions, the year of the COVID- 19 pandemic has complicated businesses exponentially. New catchphrases and words such as “social distancing” and “contactless” have been introduced to our daily lives. While the pandemic situation is quite new to our generation and the long-term effects are unknown, one thing is quite clear: working smarter is no longer a luxury and is now a requirement for businesses to prosper. So, what does this mean to the marina industry? In the most simplistic view, it means that the technological automation process will be accelerated beyond its current natural curve. There has always been a natural evolution of marinas adapting to new technology and processes advancing their “smarter” operations. This evolution has been consistent and steady. Now, with the age of “social distancing” and “contactless”, this trend will drastically accelerate. One of my core beliefs is that when difficult situations arise, we should use them as opportunities to excel. This is really just a twist on the old phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. However, it is a very real concept understood and applied by innovators and good leaders. This is the reason why the adaptation of technology and automation will accelerate the use of technology within marinas and allow operators to work smarter. In a time of difficult situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, innovators will stand and shine. The big question now is what this innovation will look like. For the most part, it should reflect and expand on the innovation already available today. The most obvious is the use of cloud technology. The social distancing concept has caused a record number of people, including marina staff, to work from remote locations. The use of cloud technology simplifies this much more than the use of traditional clientserver or back-office technologies. Cloud systems are designed from the core to allow users to be anywhere at any time. Other areas of innovation may include the expansion of “contactless” technology. For as long as I can remember, society has been used to receiving bills in the mail which are then paid by a mailed in cheque. This includes a lot of touching, a lot of steps and a considerable amount of time to complete. So, what is the smarter way? Innovation provides a way to send out bills by email or text thus allowing customers to pay instantly using electronic means. Not only does this drastically decrease the time it takes to fulfil a bill payment, but also reduces the physical contact and touching of objects such as envelopes and cheques. Other areas of innovation allowing marinas to work smarter and honour social distancing will increase the means of self-service activities. There is a lot of potential in this area and it will be interesting to see how the marina self-service ideas roll out. There are many departments within today’s marina - everything from rental space management to the ship store, fuel dock and service yard – that stand to benefit from self-service. While the level of technology continues to advance and evolve, the underlying reason and purpose remains the same and continues to be passed on from generation to generation. Life continues to present obstacles, and society continues to rise above by working smarter rather than harder. Vance Young is director of technology at Scribble Software, Inc., based in Mechanicsville, Virginia, USA. www.scribblesoftware.com www.marinaworld.com - May/June 2020 41

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