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RIA & Ajax: Article

ICEfaces Mobile AJAX Solution Chosen to Deliver Rich Enterprise Application for Shipping Yard Management Application

Enterprise customer case study from C3 Solutions highlights menefits of Mobile AJAX

In many shipping and receiving yards, information loads are still carried by some pretty old-fashioned equipment. White boards, message runners, and walkie-talkies are used to coordinate and schedule trailer movements and loading dock scheduling.

C3 Solutions, a global leader in yard management and site flow solutions, has made it their business to tackle this problem. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, C3 Solutions has a roster of Global 5000 clients in manufacturing, grocery, retail, and parcel post who use the company’s solutions to optimize their shipping/receiving yard activity, enhancing supply chain efficiency and lowering yard management costs.

When C3 set out to create Yard Smart, its flagship product, its goal was to revolutionize the way yard activities are scheduled, communicated and processed. The application was intended to integrate with most logistics and ERP systems on the market. To do so, it would need to combine dock scheduling with back-end inventory management and reporting systems.

“Dock managers running a desktop system have to coordinate, in real time, the activities of gate guards and shunter drivers responsible for moving thousands of trailers between hundreds of docks on a minute by minute basis,” noted Maxime Turner, C3 System Architect. “Scheduling information, directions, and status updates have to be broadcast to and from mobile clients that are spread across large multi-acre sites.”

From a technical perspective, C3 Solutions required a rich Internet application technology that integrated seamlessly with its existing Java EE-based product infrastructure. The associated component suite had to provide broad range functionality, and still be suitable for deployment across a mix of desktop and mobile environments without overtaxing the limited resources of the mobile devices.

Last but not least, the technology had to support the notion of real time, asynchronous content delivery (Ajax Push) between the mobile and desktop clients. C3 Solutions’ search for a reliable, cost-efficient mobile AJAX technology led it to ICEfaces.

“After having evaluated a number of prominent Ajax technologies, we settled on ICEfaces as the only viable solution for our problem,” Turner said. “The richness of the component library met our needs, and the server-centric nature of the product integrated well with our existing J2EE infrastructure. We were able to achieve in days what previously took weeks to accomplish using low-level JavaScript programming.”

Yet the key deciding factor for C3 Solutions, according to Turner, was the ability of ICEfaces to support both desktop and mobile environments. “The shunter driver client deployment is targeted at the Symbol CE mobile device, amongst others, and support for the Mobile Opera browser in ICEfaces was critical to our success,” Turner recalled. “The icing on the cake was the ICEfaces Ajax Push technology. This allowed us to push updates and messages to and from mobile users in real time, making it possible for dispatchers and drivers to coordinate yard activities via the Yard Smart application.”

Turner pointed out that ICEfaces was ultimately a key to Yard Smart’s ability to coordinate and optimize activities between a company’s shipping yards and receiving docks. “The capabilities in ICEfaces allowed us to extend the feature offering and performance of our solution,” she stated, “and positioned us to further differentiate our product in an increasingly competitive market.”

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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