Smart buoys that can only be used when prepaid via mobile phone or credit card, this seems to be the latest rumour in the Croatian nautical scene. Several Croatian magazines (see here or here) reported that Dario Lovric from Synergos Eko d.o.o. wants to start a joint venture with ACI that sets up such a smart buoy system along the Croatian coast.
So, what's behind this story?
Synergos Eko claims that they developed a system called “Adria bove” that consists of smart buoys that allow usage only after payment and that they presented this system to ACI. They say that a proof of concept succeeded and the system works great. According to their information each buoy is equipped with an electronic system that allows centralized management of moorings in an operation center. Buoys can be paid via a pre-pay system, and yachties will be able to get information about free buoys, depending on the location desired.
Asking ACI about this project, they say: “ACI is still working on the project with smart buoys and evaluating different technical solutions and business options for its implementation”. Keeping in mind that ACI had high fluctuation of CEOs last year (since ACI is a majority government company there may be political reasons for this), there is no wonder about this unspecific answer.
And what says MPPI about this issue? According to unofficial information coming from MPPI, they did not receive any specific request for the initiation of such a project.
Considering the technical, financial, organisational and political challenges of such a project, I would be extremely surprised if this becomes reality.