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Access projects from any browser and any device with a thin client version of NaviSuite

29 April 2020

During EIVA Days 2019, we announced the software development team were working on a thin client version of NaviSuite software. It is a big feature expected to have an even bigger impact on the way our software is used by our customers. Now, several months into the development process, we have a few details to share about the benefits and functionality of the thin client version of NaviSuite.

A multi-beam harbour survey visualised with 3D software

A combination of laser point clouds and multi-beam echo sounder (MBE) data forming a digital terrain model (DTM) in the web browser version of NaviSuite

What are the benefits?

Platform independent – The thin client version of NaviSuite will run in any standard web browser, which means it will function on operating systems such as Windows, iOS, Linux and Android – including mobile devices – without any problems.

No need for installation – By ensuring that many of NaviSuite’s features become universally accessible across platforms, it will reduce the need for client-side installation of NaviSuite software packages, specifically on the end client’s systems. This removes the need for juggling dongles and downloads in order to gain access to a visualisation of project data.

Access anywhere – NaviSuite projects and any stored data will be made available to any device with a reasonable internet connection. During an operation, data and projects will be shareable, and due to the way the data will be stored, projects can be shared and viewed by any of the team who have been granted access, as well as end clients.

No need to copy data – One challenge faced in the maritime industry is transferring vast amounts of data at sea where there is little data bandwidth available. Even on shore, it can take a long time copying data to, for example, an FTP server for delivery to an end client. With EIVA’s new NaviSuite thin client solution, the data is accessible to the end client on their preferred device from where it is located on a server or in cloud storage. Online access reduces the need to copy and transfer data after an operation.

For those of you who have used NaviSuite before, you can see the images don’t look a lot different to those produced by the desktop version of the software. This is because the performance of 3D graphics and networks have come a long way recently, which is why the thin client version of NaviSuite has close to the same performance as the traditional desktop version.

Point cloud data from a harbour survey visualised in 3D software

Point cloud data visualised in the thin client version of NaviSuite and deliverable to the end client

Diving into the details of the NaviSuite thin client version

The thin client will be able to display all the data in a NaviPac or NaviModel project:

  • Point clouds
  • DTMs (Digital Terrain Model)
  • Lines, runlines, etc
  • Waypoints
  • 3D models / 3D Mesh
  • Track / live objects such as vessels, AIS tracks, etc
  • Events
  • Imagery and video
  • Sonar views
  • Background maps, WMS services, etc

Thin client components

  • Thin client – what you see in the browser.
  • Projects in a file system – either locally hosted on a file server or cloud storage.
  • Server – the web service or server opens the requested project and provides the data and functionality to the thin client. The server can handle thousands of clients and as many projects as the server’s hardware allows.
  • Server admin tools – for managing who can see what, and where projects are located.

What functions will it offer?

  • Project viewer – deliver the data to the end client by simply providing a URL
  • Operations monitoring – a remote client can follow several operations by connecting directly to the vessel or USV on a VPN over SATCOM or 3G/4G networks
  • Remote QC – quality control from the comfort of the office
  • Data analysis tools – measurements, volume calculations, and other features currently found in NaviModel Analyser are available with the thin client

How the thin client is expected to function with NaviSuite

The thin client version will enable an end client to remotely connect to, and monitor, ongoing operations in the same way NaviSuite Helmsman’s Display enables them to today, which is currently a feature offered with NaviPac Pro. NaviPac Pro is acquisitioning software that provides positioning and navigation features for surface and subsea vehicles. This new functionality will allow the end client or project managers to connect to ongoing operations from any device.

A multi-beam harbour survey visualised with 3D software on a phone

The thin client project viewer running on an iPhone

With the thin client, subsea specialists will be able to install servers within their own IT infrastructure such as on vessels or at the office. This will enable data sharing between employees and the end client.

The NaviSuite thin client version will also be available as a cloud solution through EIVA’s website. Projects can be uploaded to, and hosted in the cloud, and then shared in a controlled manner to the end client. With a cloud solution, the need for on-premise servers and IT infrastructure to support many of NaviSuite’s features and software is reduced.

The vision for the thin client version

The workforce dynamics are expected to change with this extended functionality; data can be accessed anywhere in the world, which facilitates the addition of processing personnel or even crowd-source processing for single or multiple projects.

The ultimate vision for the NaviSuite thin client version is for it to have all the functionality of NaviPac and NaviModel in a browser, the latter of which will add complete remote processing of data. NaviModel produces high-performance digital terrain models (DTM) in 2D and 3D and high-tech tools for model analyses and manipulations.

The first release of the thin client will support the viewing and analysing of projects and is expected late 2020.

Do you have a vision for the thin client and how it could add value to your offshore operations?

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