in Defence

Smarter Technologies’ Orion supporting HMNB Portsmouth's operational efficiency

Posted 17 January 2024

His Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth has started using Smarter Technologies’ Orion IoT Data Network to drive port operational efficiency.



Above: HMNB Portsmouth Basin 3.
Courtesy Smarter Technologies


Smarter Technologies has been supporting the digital innovations team at HMNB Portsmouth, with their proprietary Orion IoT Data Network, to maximise the efficiency of port operations.  

HMNB Portsmouth is home to the majority of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, including the flagship aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the formidable Type 45 destroyers, Type 23 frigates and mine countermeasures squadrons.  

The harbour at Portsmouth is one of the busiest in the United Kingdom, with around 130,000 significant movements annually and it is also the home for ship repair and maintenance.  

HMNB Portsmouth, like many defence establishments, is a large and complex estate that presents significant infrastructure management challenges and requires significant focus and innovative thinking to run efficiently, maximise operational capability and minimise costs. This is especially true where the estate is historic in nature and is not designed or constructed to meet modern operational needs.  

The Infrastructure Asset Management team at HMNB Portsmouth wanted to adopt digital innovations and subsequently Smarter Technologies assisted with the provision of real-time data from multiple sensor platforms across a large geographic footprint, in order to inform critical operational decisionmaking.  

Following an earlier demonstration of their smart sensor technology and Orion real-time IoT data network, Portsmouth invited Smarter Technologies to install depth sensors in each of the dockyard’s key operational and historic basins (No 3 Basin alone, holds over 300 million gallons of water) and transit locks to monitor water levels.  

Via an intuitive and customer-configurable dashboard, the sensors provided the Asset Management and Waterfront teams with the empirical evidence they needed to adjust how and when the locks and pumps were used to optimise water levels, assets to target for remediation to minimise unintended water flows and maintain effective waterfront operations.  

As a result, unnecessary pumping operations were avoided, both long and short term targeted mitigation measures were implemented and material operational efficiencies were realised.

Simon Kierstan, the Navy’s Strategic Infrastructure lead at Portsmouth, said: “The management insight that Smarter Technologies have brought to the waterfront operation has been incredibly helpful, and it’s been amazing just how quickly it gave us the evidence-base we needed to do things differently and do things better. This is just one part of a much broader digital innovation programme at Portsmouth Naval Base, which is gathering momentum and delivering significant step-changes in capability with each enhancement.”

Mark Read, CEO of Smarter Technologies, said: “We’re just delighted to be working with Simon and the management team at Portsmouth and to deliver value for them. We pride ourselves in delivering the end-to-end solutions that our customers need. It’s our knowledge and expertise, working in partnership with our clients, that enables such digital transformation programmes to succeed and enable end users to improve their critical operational decision making using real time data.”

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