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Integrated System Offerings for Naval Applications
Publication: C²I² Press Release Issued: Date: 1998-05-01 Reporter: C²I² Systems

C²I² Press Release


C²I² Systems, a Cape Town-based company specialising in real-time network-based solutions for mission-critical applications, has developed two integrated systems for sea-going vessels be they naval, merchant or leisure.

They are the Information Management System and the Platform Management System.

According to managing director, Richard Young, the Information Management System (IMS) is a ship–borne network, based on SAFENET, that manages the transfer of time–critical command and control messages, multimedia streams and background file transfer from many sources to many destinations. 

The IMS architecture supports unicast, broadcast and reliable multicast transfer types. It also provides for network synchronisation and message timestamping as well as sophisticated built-in test and network management.

The IMS offers bounded packet latencies, message-level priorities, synchronous bandwidth allocation, high overall performance, determinism and reliability.

Young points out that, apart from ship-borne applications, IMS is also finding application in real–time vetronics systems as well as tactical command and control systems.

"The C²I² Systems Information Management System (IMS) communications architecture follows the dissemination architecture designed for real–time communications," he says.

"This supports many–to–many connections which is best suited to distributed, time–critical information flow. The IMS allows nodes on the network to produce and consume data on the physical network and provides distributed control of the network. It also manages the actual data transfers between nodes on the network. Each node dynamically registers with the IMS and then becomes a producer and/or consumer until deregistration.

"The IMS handles the multicasting of all data on the network, thereby allowing virtual links to be setup between the nodes on the network. This architecture is symmetric, robust to changes and failures and is very efficient.

"The IMS communications architecture differs significantly from the older point–to–point (e.g. TCP) and client–server (e.g. RPC) architectures. These architectures suffer from complex connection and error recovery problems as well as single points of failure," Young points out.

The network management services provided by IMS include :

  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP V2.0)
  • Management Information Bases
  • Graphical Man-Machine Interface
  • Operator-Assisted Trouble-Shooting, Maintenance and Reconfiguration
  • Built-in Test Services (BITS) for
                - LAN Adapters
                - Cable Plant

The Platform Management System (PMS) is an integrated vessel control and monitoring system, providing centralised management of sub-systems by means of a computer network. Access to the functions of the PMS is via a man-machine interface, using a graphical environment to display information effectively.

Some of the PMS's features are :

  • Provide a standardised view of various sub-systems from a generic console
  • Facilitate rapid solutions to complex decision situations
  • Interface to proprietary systems
  • Record information for record keeping and maintenance purposes
  • Provide a training facility through the use of simulation

Further, it provides for centralised management of the following classical functions within the vessel :

  • Ship's propulsion system
  • Ship's electrical system
  • Ship's auxiliary system
  • Damage control
  • Ship's stability data
  • Maintenance tasks
  • Data logging
  • Video distribution
  • Training
  • Electronic mail facility

"The PMS implements a distributed hardware architecture ensuring a high level of reliability with redundancy at any level and freedom from any single point of failure, effective reconfiguration procedures and extensive BIT (Built-in Test)," says Young.

"It provides a flexible and modular architecture which interfaces to equipment manufactured by different suppliers, accommodates alternative versions of the installed equipment and allows improvements and updates to be incorporated during the service life of the platform.

"PMS can be used for naval ship management, on merchant ships and for leisure yacht ship management," he says.

The PMS is based on an open systems architecture, facilitating ready integration of new sub-systems. It interfaces, either directly or indirectly, to the control circuitry of equipment, such as main engines, generators and pumps, allowing remote monitoring and control. A multi-level access control system is used to ensure responsible use of this powerful feature.

It provides an interface to on-shore logistic support systems in the form of equipment usage statistics, fault finding logs and service intervals. This information can be used to determine optimal servicing of all major equipment. The PMS allows for the display of live video from unmanned machinery spaces, the flight deck, cargo holds and other remote areas.

The PMS utilises high-performance display technology to implement its man-machine interface. Information received from the various sub-systems is displayed in a user-friendly fashion. Dials and indicators are used to present information in a clear, easily understood way. Screens can easily be reconfigured to accommodate user preferences, equipment changes or upgrades.