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1. WO2020115085 - REMOTE LOADING DOCK AUTHORIZATION SYSTEMS AND METHODS

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

What is Claimed is:

1. A system for use with a loading dock station, comprising:

a docking station control unit; and

a remote control unit communicatively coupled to the docking station control unit, the remote control unit being programmed with computer readable instructions that, when executed, cause the remote control unit to:

receive an authorization request from the docking station control unit, the authorization request requesting authorization to deviate from a workflow protocol;

display the authorization request to a user;

receive an authorization input from the user; and

transmit an authorization signal to the docking station control unit in response to receiving the authorization input from the user, the authorization signal permitting the docking station control unit to proceed with the requested deviation from the workflow protocol.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the work flow protocol is implemented by the docking station control unit at the loading dock station.

3. The system of claim 1 , wherein the docking station control unit automatically generates and transmits the authorization request when the docking station control unit receives a message from a first component of the loading dock station indicating that the first component has not successfully completed an operation at the loading dock station.

4. The system of claim 1 , wherein the docking station control unit generates and transmits the authorization request in response to an input from a user at the loading dock station.

5. The system of claim 1 , wherein the authorization input is received from a user at the monitoring and authorization control unit.

6. The system of claim 1 , wherein:

the authorization input is generated by a logic engine; and

the logic engine generates the authorization input by accessing a database and processing data from the database according to an authorization algorithm.

7. The system of claim 1 , wherein deviation from the workflow protocol by the docking station control unit is prohibited without first receiving authorization from the remote control unit.

8. The system of claim 1 , wherein:

the workflow protocol requires successful operation of a first component at the loading dock station before an operation of a second component at the loading dock station is allowed to begin; and

deviation from the workflow protocol comprises operating the second component of the loading dock station without successful operation of the first component.

9. The system of claim 7, wherein:

the first component is a vehicle restraint system;

successful operation of the vehicle restraint system comprises successfully engaging a vehicle with the vehicle restraint system;

the second component is a dock door opening system; and

operation of the dock door opening system comprises opening the dock door.

10. The system of claim 1 , wherein the remote control unit is further communicatively coupled with at least a first component and a second component of the loading dock station.

1 1 . The system of claim 10, wherein upon receipt of the authorization input, the remote control unit directly instructs the second component of the loading dock station to perform an operation and thereby deviate from the workflow protocol without transmitting the authorization signal to the docking station control unit.

12. The system of claim 1 , wherein the monitoring and authorization control unit is located remote from the loading dock station.

13. A computer-implemented method for controlling operation of a loading dock station, the method comprising:

automatically transmitting an authorization request to a remote control unit when a request to deviate from a loading dock station workflow protocol is made at a loading dock station control unit;

generating an authorize or decline signal at the remote control unit in response to receipt of the authorization request; and

transmitting the authorize or decline signal from the remote control unit to the loading dock station control unit, wherein the loading dock station is prohibited from performing an operation that deviates from the workflow protocol while the authorization request is outstanding, wherein receipt of an authorize signal at the loading dock station control unit permits the loading dock station control unit to perform the requested deviation from the workflow protocol, and wherein receipt of a decline signal at the loading dock station control unit prohibits the loading dock station control unit from performing the requested deviation from the workflow protocol.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the authorize or decline signal is generated by a loading dock station facility supervisor entering an authorize or decline decision into the remote control unit.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the supervisor’s authorize or decline decision is made at least in part by considering data pertaining to the status of one or more components of the loading dock station that is displayed at the remote control unit.

16. The method of claim 13, wherein transmitting the authorize signal leads to direct performance of an operation of a component of the loading dock station upon receipt of the authorize signal at the loading dock station control unit.

17. The method of claim 13, wherein transmitting the authorize signal authorizes the loading dock station control unit to perform an action that deviates from the workflow protocol but requires that further action be taken at the loading dock station control unit before the operation deviating from the workflow protocol is performed.

18. The method of claim 13 wherein generating an authorize or decline signal at the remote control unit upon receipt of the authorization request is based on conducting a user authentication step.

19. The method of if claim 18, wherein user information is transmitted with the authorization request and the user information is used to determine whether to generate an authorize or decline signal.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the user information comprises a password, a user identification number, or a fingerprint scan.

21. The method of claim 13, wherein the authorization request and the authorize or decline signal are transmitted via a wireless network.

22. The method of claim 21 , wherein the wireless network is an Internet of Things wireless network.