Success Stories – AXYS TECHNOLOGIES Inc.

The Company

AXYS Technologies Inc. (AXYS) designs, manufactures and installs remote environmental monitoring systems world‑wide, and provides supporting technical and field services to train and support customers in the operation and maintenance of their products. AXYS is a privately‑held Canadian Company, incorporated in the province of British Columbia in 1982 and located in Sidney, British Columbia with a staff of 50. 

The Project

AXYS saw an opportunity to improve responsiveness to security breaches in ports, harbours and maritime waterways, in particular in secondary ports which had not invested in maritime domain awareness technologies. Maritime domain awareness means having timely information about everything on, under, related to, adjacent to, or bordering a sea, ocean or other navigable waterway, that could impact security, safety, the economy or the environment. This includes all related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, vessels, or other means of transport. For marine security, it means being aware of anything in the marine domain that could threaten a country's national security, and with over 90% of the world's trade transported by sea, it is important to operate secure maritime operations.

Figure 1: WatchMan 500 Processor

Figure 1: WatchMan 500 Processor

Although there were numerous methods of sensing and measuring the maritime space, there was little available for formulating the data into useful information. The goal of the Port Waterside Communications and Networked Data Unification (PW–CANDU) project was to consolidate information from a number of independent monitoring and surveillance devices (e.g. radar surveillance, sonar information, automatic identification systems, satellite surveillance) and present it as a single‑user interface in real time that will improve responsiveness to security breaches in ports, harbours and maritime waterways in Canada, and other countries. Figure 1 shows the WatchMan 500 processor which AXYS developed for data collection, storage and distribution for remote sensor applications and networks.


With the successful completion of the project, AXYS has developed a real‑time solution that will help defence and security organizations, port operators and other stakeholders to improve maritime security and respond promptly to security incidents such as illegal shipping, discharge of pollutants at sea, oil spills and severe weather threats.

AXYS developed an innovative system which has the ability to receive information from various sources, integrate the data and present it to users and decision makers in a single‑user interface in real time. Prior to the development of this system, other systems were available for very large ports, but were much larger and more expensive, and were often designed to use related company systems and not integrate existing systems. The PW–CANDU system is tailored to the needs of the small and medium port community by integrating existing systems at a more affordable price.

For example, AXYS worked with the Port of Prince Rupert to develop a system to consolidate information from its network of land and ocean‑based sensors distributed along the coastline. These sensors monitor vessel traffic, wind and wave conditions, as well as water levels which assist in providing better domain awareness to stakeholders. The Automatic Identification System (AIS), an international standard for ship‑to‑ship, ship‑to‑shore, and shore‑to‑ship communication of information, transmits current weather conditions to vessel operators; water level awareness ensures large vessels do not run aground; and microclimate weather information (e.g. wind, wave, tide and currents) assist large vessel operators to optimally navigate large vessels in and around the port more efficiently and effectively. The AXYS technology acquires and processes data from all of these sensors and feeds it into a unified database which allows it to be presented in a single‑user interface and in real‑time, improving The Port of Prince Rupert's domain awareness.

AXYS's overall competitiveness has improved due to the additional product offering which complements their existing products, and provides more value to their customers. The SADI assistance enabled AXYS to move up the value chain from being just a single system solution provider (buoys) to a higher value network provider. It has enabled AXYS to expand into adjacent market segments such as land‑based and dock‑side monitoring services. AXYS is now being recognized as a leading vertically integrated monitoring systems and data solutions company, promoting data collection as part of port security and environmental monitoring stewardship along the coast lines of the world.

AXYS collaborated with Memorial University and the University of Victoria by using their facilities and expertise in various aspects of this project. AXYS also maintained a collaborative relationship with the University of Victoria through hiring 3 engineering co‑op students on 4‑month work terms, 2 of whom were permanently hired. These collaborations have strengthened AXYS's relationships with Canadian institutions, while supporting Canadian research. These relationships are expected to continue into the future with long‑term benefits including knowledge exchange, product utilization and additional exposure for AXYS through inter‑university networks.

AXYS also collaborated with secondary ports such as the Port of Prince Rupert and Port of Victoria in testing the PW–CANDU system. This strategy of partnering early with secondary ports and developing solutions based on their specific needs and price points has successfully lead to both ports purchasing the system. In addition, AXYS has installed a system in the Port of Squamish in Campbell River and has had success internationally with installations in Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Mahogany Bay in Roaton.

This project has allowed AXYS to expand into new areas that have strengthened their existing relationships and added new companies to their supply chain. Everything is designed and made in Canada, with much of the work being done by local contractors.

In Summary

With the successful completion of this project AXYS is being recognized as a leading vertically integrated monitoring systems and data solutions company, promoting data collection as part of port security and environmental monitoring stewardship along the coast lines of the world. AXYS has a market‑ready technologically innovative PW‑CANDU product solution which is expected to result in increased annual sales revenue starting in 2014–15.