Port Technology: 2038: A Smart Port Story


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Da war er nun mit seinem Vorhaben, einen Urlaub ganz ohne Technologie zu verbringen. Er hatte das „Tech-Free-Paket“ in der Blauen Lagune gebucht, einem beliebten Rückzugsort für gestresste Führungskräfte. Monatelang hatte er sich darauf gefreut, von morgens bis abends in den heißen Gewässern zu entspannen. Ruhe. Kein Communicator, der ständig Klingelgeräusche von sich gibt. Lediglich gedämpfte Stimmen, die sich auf ein Minimum an Informationsaustausch beschränken.

So sah jedenfalls der Plan aus. Aber bereits direkt nach dem Einchecken wurde er jäh aus seiner Vorfreude gerissen. Jemand klopfte an die Tür.

„Entschuldigen Sie die Störung”, verkündete eine Stimme, „aber wir haben eine Nachricht für Sie erhalten, die als dringend gekennzeichnet ist. In Ihrer Reservierung ist vermerkt, dass Sie informiert werden möchten, wenn es um dringende Mitteilungen geht.“

Auch wenn Douglas mehr als unzufrieden mit dieser Vorgabe war, ließ seine Position bei Interpol ihm nur einen kleinen Spielraum in dieser Angelegenheit.

„Möchten Sie die Nachricht jetzt empfangen oder ziehen Sie es vor, zur Rezeption zu kommen?“

„Ich nehme sie jetzt in Empfang“, antwortete er, während er die Tür öffnete.

„Diese Comms-Einheit ermöglicht nur den Empfang und das Lesen der Nachricht. Um einen Anruf zu tätigen, müssten Sie in unsere Pod-Lounge in der vierten Etage. Wenn Sie fertig sind, können Sie das Gerät einfach in Ihrem Zimmer lassen – das Personal wird es morgen wegräumen.“

Dieser Artikel ist ausschließlich in englischer Sprache erhältlich.

Douglas shut the door and sat on the edge of the bed. As his attention fell on the device, it automatically sprang to life, with a disruptive ping. “Authenticating User” appeared on the screen and nearly as quickly disappeared.

“Biometrical Verification Complete, welcome Douglas” the device replied in a soft, pleasant female voice that Douglas was entirely familiar with. Elena, his universal AI assistant, was available to him anywhere from any connected device.

“What’s so urgent, Elena?” He asked.

“Please can you remote-in to the office, we have an urgent situation requiring your attention. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose any further details.” A not so hushed sigh escaped his throat.

Douglas stood up slowly, slipped on his shoes and left the comms unit on the bed. As his attention left the device, Elena let him know that she was logging him off the device.

The short walk to the elevator and ride to level 4 was enough for Douglas’s mood to shift from relaxed to irritable. The doors to the elevator opened directly onto the pod lounge. Eight state-of-the-art pods were organized nicely around a central self service bar. All of them were available. It confirmed what he’d expected in the short ride up the lift - people didn’t go on vacation to a retreat to use a pod.

Douglas wondered whether he should grab a drink to take the edge off his mood – he decided against it. Let’s make this quick he thought.

He picked a pod at random and entered it. The door slid shut behind him and the light from the room disappeared.

“Welcome, Douglas” came Elena’s voice. “Shall I commence an AR call to the office now?”

“No, Elena, audio-only please.” Douglas often disliked having the feeling of being in the same location on these calls. What a nuisance it was to always see the other person.”

His boss’s cheerful voice filled the pod. Despite the lack of video, it sounded as if she was in the room with him now. “I can’t see you. Douglas are you there?”

Douglas replied sharply, “The pod’s broken, just audio available, what’s so urgent?”

She opted to ignore his usual bluntness and cut strait to the point of marketing her intrusion to him. “You are always in the right place at the right time. Really, the odds are remarkable,” she explained in her distinct British accent.

“Please Ann, cut to the chase,” he interrupts, sensing his usual tendency to want to sell her on an idea.

“Of course, Douglas, there’s been a serious accident at the Port of Reykjavik; an autonomous vehicle has hit a person. They’re being treated at Landspitali University Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit; nasty injuries really. It isn’t clear yet if they’re going to pull through.”

Ann, this isn’t new. Why can’t someone from the Autonomous Incidents unit handle this,” he queried.

“I know, I know. They would normally,” she commented. Self-driving, or autonomous vehicles were significantly safer than their manually driven counterparts, however there still average between 10 and 20 incidents globally a year. “However, the individual struck was an anti-tech leader, it is still uncertain if they are part of the faction or not. This is going to blow up if we don’t get on top of it now.” The tone in Ann’s voice shifted from empathy to urgency.

“Add to that all that is going on right now with the port having newly been bought by the European Consortium and all, it would be good to have one of our own onsite. You see, it really leaves me little choice, Douglas,” her tone settled back to one of empathy.

“You’re the best person for the job. I’ve already taken the liberty of scheduling an appointment for you at the port. You’ll be meeting a Ms. Emma Jonsdottir, their COO. They’ve dispatched a transport to collect you. It will be arriving any minute.” Ann ended the call abruptly so as to avoid any further irritation from Douglas. She’d worked with him for years and knew what he’d be thinking.

Douglas stepped out of the pod. The natural light always caught him off guard. He thought to himself, “why are they called pods? ‘Cave’ is a better analogy”. He returned to his room, changed and headed to the lobby. At the front desk he collected his VR glasses and asked the receptionist to forward all calls to him directly.

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