The story of EKTA
ekta™ is a registered trade mark of Sabik O‹, applied to the products designed and manufactured by the former Navigation Systems Department (NSD) of Cybernetica AS. This combination of four characters is known to have a long history of application as a popular female name in India, but in our case it was taken into use long before the advent of powerful Internet search engines.
Organization known as EKTA - or more precisely, Computer R&D Division EKTA; Arvutustehnika Arendusbüroo (AAB) EKTA in Estonian - was established in 1976 as an authonomous department at the Institute of Cybernetics of the former Estonian Academy of Sciences. It grew rapidly to become a large R&D institution, employing more than 400 specialists from the IT and electronics sectors.
In 1980'ies, EKTA became a pioneer in deploying microprocessor applications in Estonia with hundreds of successful projects completed in the field of IT. Areas included those of control systems, testing and diagnostics of digital and analogue systems, system programming, digital signal processing, and digital measurement systems.
During 1990..1993 EKTA was restructured and a number of spin-off companies were established on the basis of available human resources. In 1998, EKTA joined Cybernetica AS (then called Küberneetika AS) where it continues to operate as the Navigation Systems Department (NSD) - still referred to as "EKTA", sometimes.
In January 2017 the Carmanah Technologies Corporation (Canada) closed the deal with Cybernetica AS for acquisition of the Navigation Systems Department with all of the intellectual property including the ekta™, TelFiCon™ and TeViNSA™ trade marks. We consider this to be a highest recognition of the accomplishments of our team.
Today, the number of employees at the NSD (EKTA) transformed into Sabik O‹ is 19. We perform all design and development activities as well as the final assembly and testing of the systems in order to guarantee stringent control over the quality of our products. The Bureau Veritas Certification certified the integrated quality and environmental management system of Cybernetica AS to be in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 standards. Sabik O‹ continues the work using the same procedures until updated.
Why Marine Aids to Navigation?
When Estonia regained independence in 1991, it started taking over more than 300 marine aid to navigation (AtoN) sites from the leaving Soviet navy. Most of these were in rather poor state: outdated and partly damaged equipment, neither automatic control nor remote monitoring capabilities (approximately 800 employees servicing the system), not to mention destroyed or dangerous power supply systems (even small nuclear reactors).
In order to achieve rapid improvement of this situation and to guarantee the navigation safety in Estonian waters, in 1993 the Estonian National Maritime Board called for tenders on the development and production of modern control systems of navigation aids and relevant lighthouse equipment. EKTA saw itself fit for the activity, filed a proposal, and won the contract. Thanks to our extensive experience in the field of IT, the first AtoN site automation systems including remote control and monitoring, designed and manufactured from the scratch, were successfully fielded already by the end of 1994. Development of LED based signal lights started next and resulted in first omnidirectional lantern design ready by December 1995. It is a pleasure to note that during our first 22 years in AtoN business we have been lucky to encounter more of success than failure.
The integrated system consisting of monitoring software and navigation aids hardware was developed in close co-operation with the Estonian Maritime Administration as a customer providing valuable feedback regarding the desirable functionality, database user interface options, and network architecture of the system. The control and monitoring system was fully implemented first in 1996 in Estonia, where it nowadays integrates information from over 400 AtoN sites across the Estonian coastline - lighthouses, buoys, beacons, range and sector lights.
The ekta™ Remote Control and Monitoring System of marine aids to navigation is one of the most advanced control and monitoring systems for lighted aids to marine navigation in the world. It is based on innovative application of information technology, contemporary microprocessor components, and new powerful Light Emitting Diode (LED) based light sources in the marine lanterns in combination with established technology of traditional marine products. In 1998, EKTA became an Industrial Member of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), starting to utilise the globally funnelled knowledge in IALA recommendations and guidelines for improvement of AtoN products. In 2008, Cybernetica was invited to join the Engineering, Environment and Preservation of Lighthouses (EEP, renamed to AtoN Engineering and Sustainability - ENG - in 2015) Committee at IALA as an expert member, becoming a contributor to the constant process of improvement of marine navigation safety by international standardisation.
Already in April 2000, Cybernetica received an Innovation Award from the Estonian Innovation Fund for achievement in development of the Marine Navigation Control and Monitoring System for the Estonian National Maritime Board. Since 2013 the latest version of our AtoN telematics system is marketed as TeViNSA™ - Telematics for Visual Navigation Situational Awareness with full as well as limited AtoN telematics centre software solutions available.
Introduction of LED technology into our marine products 20 years ago led us quite naturally to the development of products for other fields of application where high reliability and low power consumption requirements justify the higher initial costs - road traffic lights and aviation obstruction lights, as well as other visual light signalling systems for air, ground, sea and rail. We are particularly pleased of our E58 LED Indicator Panel product line that in the words of our distributors has established itself as a de-facto global standard in the marine container spreader and port crane industry as a safety signal light.
Original, innovative ideas have always been implemented in both software and hardware conceived at the Navigation Systems Department of Cybernetica AS, with research and development continuing specifically in the fields of sector and range lights, buoy telematics, real-time measurement and synthetic AtoN AIS. We are proud of our efforts on combating floating AtoN vertical divergence related visibility range reduction issues with associated AtoN acceleration and heel angle measurement techniques being reflected in IALA documents. Bringing the IALA Guideline 1085 "On Standard Format for Electronic Exchange of AtoN Product Information" to successful completion in 2012 in tight cooperation with experts from the IALA EEP Committee signified a landmark in standardizing the contents of AtoN lantern datasets, empowering the procuring authorities with tools for comparing products form different manufacturers. We also hope that re-introducing the less known Fixed-and-Flashing rhythmic character for navigation lights that we have been advocating lately shall find wide acceptance in the AtoN user community, bringing the benefits of improved AtoN tracking in adverse weather conditions to the navigator community. Furthermore, implementing the Slow Flash Front (SFF) technology on major lighthouses at conversion to LED technology allows to bring the capability of estimating the approximate range of the lighthouse back to the mariners. In addition, implementation of AtoN site structural health monitoring (SHM) integrated with our AtoN Telematics solution allows to rely heavier on condition based maintenance (CBM), allowing to reduce costly remote site inspection visits. Development of Visibility Adaptive AtoN Lights (VAAL) started in 2016 with concept demonstrator fielded in June, proving that implementing control of light signals luminous intensity in accordance with meteorological visibility allows to save power in case of excellent visibility while increasing marine navigation safety in poor visibility conditions.
We see our mission in supplying our customers with dependable original hardware and software solutions for visual light signalling, remote monitoring and telematics applications in marine, ground, and air navigation domains to make the world a safer place. Re-location to a new building with improved lab facilities in July 2012 was another step on that path, allowing us to face the challenges at manufacturing and testing of products of increasing complexity in a more efficient way.
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