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The Future of IoT and Wireless Innovation at CTIA Super Mobility Week

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ORBCOMM is once again gearing up for CTIA Super Mobility Week—North America’s largest forum for mobile innovation taking place from Sep. 7 – 9 in Las Vegas.

Visit ORBCOMM booth 4837 and schedule a meeting with us to see how our broad set of leading industrial Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities uniquely positions us to provide all of the tools for developing IoT solutions that deliver total asset visibility, remote control and analytic insight.

ORBCOMM’s comprehensive IoT solutions portfolio includes hardware, connectivity, subscriber and device management, application enablement, wireless failover and mobile app support for developing end-to-end IoT solutions.

We’ll also be introducing the latest iteration of ORBCOMM’s wireless failover and out-of-band management solution. The latest version of Enterprise Connect features even more hardware options, remote router management, real-time alerts and much more.

And of course, we’ll have ORBCOMM’s suite of award-winning devices and powerful web applications on display.

Speaking of award-winning, ORBCOMM’s IoT offering has been named a finalist in two categories in the CTIA Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards, which honor the industry’s emerging, innovative and cutting-edge mobile services, solutions and technology. There’s still time to vote ORBCOMM for Crowd Favorite!

We hope to see you in Las Vegas! To learn more or the schedule a meeting, visit http://www2.orbcomm.com/ctia

IoT solutions

 

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Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks Tagged with: , ,

From Caterpie to Caterpillar: IoT Raises Augmented & Virtual Reality Beyond Child’s Play

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IoT and augmented reality, virtual reality

New and innovative uses of IoT-related applications are leaving pre-conceived notions of Augmented and Virtual Reality in the dirt

The Internet of Things (IoT) is often equated with beneficial yet relatively simple solutions—the IoT is still in a relative state of infancy, and so too is the complexity of available solutions. Solutions such as coordinating garbage collection routing based on the fill status of containers, efficiently managing fleets using position and vehicle sensor data, and optimizing equipment usage and wear and tear all make business sense, but perhaps aren’t as exciting as what we might dream the future should hold for us.

New Technologies: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Up to this point, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technologies that have generally been associated with video games. In both cases, a smartphone, headset or other device is used to enhance what you see. With Augmented Reality you are able to overlay new visual information within a user’s existing visual environment (Pokemon Go! is a prime example of this). With Virtual Reality there is no real visual environment—all visual cues are created for the user (flight simulators are an example of this).

Considered separately, the IoT and AR/VR are two of the most exciting and fast paced industries, so maybe it’s not a surprise that they have begun to overlap.

A number of big mainstream names are leading the way in these markets, with AR/VR enablers including Facebook (Oculus), Google and Microsoft. Some IoT providers and equipment manufacturers (especially in the heavy equipment sector, such as Caterpillar and Komatsu) have been exploring how to optimize business processes with the convergence of IoT and AR/VR.

Here are 5 of the most interesting equipment applications where IoT intersects with augmented and/or virtual reality:

1. Maintenance (AR): Caterpillar is providing visual instructional steps for diagnosing heavy equipment failures, highlighting problematic components and subsequently displaying repair actions.

2. Training (AR/VR): Safety experts at the University of New South Wales have created a system for providing training to workers and customers on products through a headset instead of a manual.

3. Sales Demonstration (VR): Santa Clara-based EchelonVR has launched an Android application capable of providing a virtual walk-through of heavy equipment that is difficult to transport.

4. Remote Command (AR/VR): Rolls-Royce envisions being able to provide visual cues and environments for remote control and command of drone ships and planes.

5. Product Design (VR): SGI Japan, Ltd. Supplied Komatsu with a virtual reality system that provides a complete virtual view of an assembled component, with the ability to evaluate it before it is produced.

The key to successfully merging IoT with augmented and virtual reality technologies will be the ability to integrate real-time IoT data within the AR/VR environments, enabling a user experience that reflects a dynamic real life system. For example, a reader attached to an engine’s diagnostic port can indicate (in real time) the correct throttling action that should be taken in order to minimize equipment stress. Similarly, a quick visual scan of a refrigerated storage area can indicate which region needs remedial action in order to mitigate a product compromising temperature drop.

While some of these AR/VR ideas may seem like futuristic concepts out of the movies they are, in reality, probably not that far off from becoming mainstream.

To learn more about the future of IoT and wireless innovation, join ORBCOMM at CTIA Super Mobility Week—North America’s largest forum for mobile innovation taking place from Sep. 7 – 9 in Las Vegas. Visit ORBCOMM booth 4837 and schedule a meeting with us to see how our broad set of leading industrial IoT capabilities enables solutions that deliver total asset visibility, remote control and analytic insight.

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Posted in 2. Heavy Equipment, 3. Maritime / AIS, 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , ,

Louisiana Flooding Illuminates the Need for Satellite Backup Communications

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Deadly flooding in Louisiana is stretching state emergency response efforts to their limits, as officials and residents not only contend with floodwaters but also a widespread cellular network outage in large parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma and other areas.

Emergency preparedness with satellite

How to Help Louisiana Flood Victims
American Red Cross
Text LAFLOODS to 90999 to donate $10
Salvation Army
United Way
Volunteer Louisiana
More ways to help

As is often the case in natural disasters, the vulnerability of terrestrial networks has reared its head not just due to just the massive influx of phone traffic between concerned residents, but also due to damaged cellular infrastructure. After a switching tower that directs cellular phone traffic flooded, cellular service with one major carrier was down for hours for a large number of Baton Rouge residents, further complicating rescue and evacuation efforts.

The situation in Louisiana is just the latest instance of cellular networks proving insufficient to meet the needs of the public and authorities during emergencies. Everyone in the U.S. remembers that when Category 3 Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard of the United States in 2012, cellular networks were not only overloaded, but also faced massive infrastructure damage and destruction from the high winds and heavy rain. Again, local residents and public authorities were faced with sporadic to no cellular communications.

The problem with reliance on purely cellular communications is multi-faceted—not only are vital emergency response services and communications between residents jeopardized, but so too are everyday business operations that are critical to ensuring processes are kept up and running and at optimal efficiency.

emergency communications during flooding

Photo: CNN

Take for instance a local or regional carrier that relies solely on cellular networks to track its trailers and/or control the temperature of perishable cargo. When cellular coverage is compromised, fleets are sent back to the dark ages and have virtually no in-transit visibility of their assets. By adopting a dual-mode tracking and monitoring solution that provides satellite coverage only when you need it, carriers can ensure that their fleets and drivers are safe and connected at all times, even during natural disasters.

Because satellite is not dependent on local infrastructure like cell towers, dual-mode cellular-satellite tracking, monitoring and control solutions are an excellent option to ensure service uptime during emergency situations. Plus, the best satellite networks provide multiple site redundancies to ensure a constant service level an order of magnitude better than cellular.

truck tracking: dual-mode satellite-cellular

Dual-mode cellular-satellite vehicle tracking technology

While cellular network SLAs (Service Level Agreements) can be as high as 99.5%, that missing 0.5% still translates to over 43 hours a year without wireless service, and that’s assuming there is no infrastructure loss. Satellite communications as a backup ensures continuous and reliable communications during emergencies, even when cellular infrastructure is compromised.

Whether it’s preparing for disaster, warning the public, or communicating during after an emergency, satellite is increasingly being used to establish consistent and reliable communication during times of distress.

To learn more, consult the following White Papers:

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks Tagged with: , , , , ,

Remote Container Management: Demand for Per-Trip Tracking on the Rise

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cargo security solutionsDeclining hardware and airtime costs and a variety of external factors are driving the container shipping industry to increasingly adopt tracking and monitoring technology to gain full visibility of valuable assets.

A recent article on Maersk’s installation of its remote container management system and devices on its entire fleet of 270,000 reefer containers shows how one major carrier responded to technological advances in GSM, satellite tracking and the Internet of Things.

According to Mike Dempsey, ORBCOMM’s Vice President of Container and Port Solutions, while the ROI case for tracking refrigerated containers is a “no-brainer”, other types of shippers are interested in leasing tracking units fixed to dry containers on a cost per-trip basis.

“There is a nexus of a whole bunch of forces coming together and increasing demand for low-cost, per-trip-basis coverage; rather than having to permanently fix an RCM unit on each container,” says Dempsey.

Mike Dempsey recently spoke to The Loadstar logistics news portal to discuss his views on the future of smart container tracking across different types of shippers…

Read the Full Article on The Loadstar

In case you missed it, The Loadstar also recently published a podcast and an article entitled The Inside Story of How to Keep it Cool, which includes details of the Maersk project, how the technology works and how Maersk and its customers have already started to reap the benefits of remote container monitoring technology.

For more details on how these benefits combine to provide real-world ROI, listen to the podcast here:

To learn more about the benefits and ROI of remote container management solutions, visit http://www2.orbcomm.com/reeferconnect

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , ,

Smart Grid: New Webinar Sheds Light on Monitoring Remote Electricity Infrastructure

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Utility companies are looking for ways to improve the reliability and availability of real time field data in order to make smarter decisions related to power distribution. The ability to precisely and quickly address warning signs related to quality indicators such as the System Average Interruption Frequency Index and System Average Interruption Duration Index is key to improving the integrity and reliability of smart grid infrastructure.

To achieve an improvement in power distribution reliability, several utility companies began to venture into smart grid technology solutions. Smart grid solutions aim to optimize the production, distribution and consumption of power, allowing new suppliers and consumers to make efficient use of the power grid. Key to a truly “smart” smart grid infrastructure is the ability to monitor, manage, automate and improve the quality of electricity supplied.

Considering the increased demand, signal instability, low reliability, and limited coverage, cellular technologies need to be supplemented in utilities applications. Telemetry and control-focused satellite solutions are increasingly being adopted as the best option to supplement cellular service, since they provide high reliability and always-on connectivity.

The evolution of the satellite solutions, particularly in telemetry applications, has made them an accessible and reliable reality for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications, such as smart grid monitoring. These solutions are designed to process data collected from devices installed in the power grid to enable command, control and telemetry.

The ideal solution for monitoring Smart Grid infrastructure must be highly reliable, must enable complete global coverage and must provide all the information necessary for effective operations while requiring low initial investment and operating costs. An ideal smart grid monitoring solution is one that features:

  • Easy installation, without the need for a specialized crew;
  • Low maintenance;
  • Discrete, low-profile equipment, which is less prone to vandalism;
  • Weather resistance;
  • Programmable and customizable device for optimizing resources;
  • Highly reliable service.

As an example, consider the application of a satellite telemetry terminal installed in the field as part of the power grid of a power distribution company:

smart grid monitoring

ORBCOMM’s satellite telemetry device is the link among the areas where cellular coverage is completely unavailable.

Watch our new on-demand webinar to learn more, including field deployments such as managing reclosers, the reasons why companies are opting for satellite-based telemetry and other applications for smart grids.

 

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Posted in 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities Tagged with: ,

Trailer Tracking Trends: Detention Among Top 5 Business Problems

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Hardware-Devices-EuroScan-MX2Last month ORBCOMM published a blog post about whether the ROI of trailer telematics is significant enough to justify the investment. DAT Solutions recently released its survey of 257 carriers and the conclusions definitely corroborate what we’re saying.

A few of the Report findings include:

  • 84% of carriers note that detention is among the top five business problems.
  • 54% of respondents report typical detention times of three to four hours; 9% report five or more hours is the norm.
  • Only 3% of carriers were paid on 90% or more of their detention claims.

If a trailer is stationary or parked in a depot somewhere, it’s not moving freight. That means it’s not making money. A tracking solution can make a big impact on this problem by providing complete visibility of assets. In real time, carriers are able to track trailer status and flag assets that have exceeded grace periods. The collected data can then be used to invoice for extra time.

Trailer Telematics applicationThis is just one example of the ROI of a trailer tracking solution. It can also find lost, stolen or misplaced assets; track fuel levels; monitor driver behavior; optimize routes; and improve cargo and driver safety. Each feature improves operational efficiency and productivity. Imagine the combined impact on the bottom line.

To read more about the benefits of remotely tracking, monitoring and controlling fleets of vehicles, trailers, reefers, intermodal containers, railcars and more, read our brochure entitled Complete Visibility and Control of Transport Assets.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

Refrigerated Transportation: 4 Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs with Reefer Monitoring

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According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), fuel is far and away the top vehicle-based expense for motor carriers, accounting for anywhere between 34% and 39% of total costs in recent years.

Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking

Source: ATRI, An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking, 2015 Update

A good reefer tracking solution will include a vehicle management portion that allows fleet managers to increase productivity and decrease operating and maintenance costs. When it comes to fuel costs, advanced usage reports and summaries, refuel events and geofence fuel usage reports all combine to enable cost savings through optimization.

Here a 4 ways a reefer monitoring solution can deliver ROI through reduced fuel consumption:

1. Detecting rapid fuel loss: Fuel theft not only causes an immediate operation cost, it can put a shipment at risk of spoilage if there’s not enough fuel to keep the cargo at the right temperature before delivery.

A good reefer management solution will offer the ability to read data from fuel sensors and send alarms in the event of a rapid fuel loss.

Users can help detect theft with ORBCOMM's ReeferTrak Rapid Fuel Loss report.

Users can help detect theft with ORBCOMM’s ReeferTrak Rapid Fuel Loss report.

2. Detecting improper fuel invoicing: Sometimes there’s an inconsistency between how much fuel is put into the tank and how much is invoiced. Detecting the discrepancies can further reduce fuel costs.

A good reefer management solution will be able to import electronic refill records from fuel suppliers and compare with the fuel measured by the fuel sensor in the vehicle. Mismatches due to overcharging, error or bogus invoices can be investigated and resolved. With ReeferTrak’s Refuel Transaction Analysis, our customers can identify any discrepancies between fuel invoices and actual refills.

ReeferTrak demo3. Eliminating unnecessary continuous run usage: Unless you are carrying pharmaceuticals or temperature sensitive produce, carriers can achieve greater fuel savings by running in start/stop mode rather than continuous cooling mode. Switching to start/stop mode can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 50%.

A good reefer management solution will track whether the refrigeration unit is operating in continuous or start/stop mode. It will allow the dispatcher to switch between modes by sending a command directly to the vehicle or messaging the driver to change mode.

4. Detecting extended reefer usage: A carrier expects that a trailer will be cooled, loaded, sealed and immediately start on its journey. This doesn’t always happen. Sometimes shippers will cool the trailer, load it partially and then leave the reefer running until they are able to fully load it. Other times, the reefer trailer is used as a storage facility. One of our users even found one customer that was shipping dry product, but was using the trailers to cool down their docks! In all these cases, the carrier is left with the fuel bill to keep the reefer cool.

A good reefer management solution allows the carrier to track the usage of reefer at the yard. It can track when the reefer was turned on, when cargo doors were opened for loading and how long the reefer was left on while still in the shipping yard.

Fuel savings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reefer monitoring benefits. To discover 4 other ways to measure the ROI of a reefer management solution, download our white paper or schedule a demo with us.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: ,

Reefer Telematics: How Decker is Reducing Costly Dwell Time and Engine Hours

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Decker Truck LineWhen evaluating the return on investment of a reefer management solution, reduced fuel consumption and improved trailer utilization are two of the selling points that resonate most when we’re speaking with fleet owners.
 
But it’s always nice to hear real-world examples directly from carriers who are already realizing the cost-saving benefits of trailer telematics technology. According to Bradley Baade, Treasurer of Decker Truck Line, the carrier has seen some dramatic cost savings, due primarily to two key capabilities of their reefer management solution:
 
1. Running reefer units in start/stop mode instead of continuous run.
2. Reducing reefer trailer to truck ratio by monitoring dwell times.
 
“ORBCOMM gave us the ability to do this with the real time information that is supplied to us,” says Baade.  “We are also monitoring trailer idle reports along with reefer units running on our customer facilities. This information has also helped us bill some of our customers for trailer usage.”
 
Unless you’re carrying pharmaceuticals or temperature sensitive produce, carriers can achieve greater fuel savings by running in start/stop mode rather than continuous cooling mode. In fact, for Decker, switching to start/stop mode resulted in a 45% decrease in reefer run hours.
 
A good reefer management solution allows dispatchers to switch between modes by sending a command directly to the vehicle or messaging the driver to change mode. Similarly, the ability to track and locate idle reefer trailers not only increases profits, but also enables fleet owners to do more with their existing fleet of refrigerated vehicles.

Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

Telematics Keeps Fuel Tanks Full at Los Pelambres Copper

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The Los Pelambres copper operation, 60% owned by Antofagasta Minerals, is one of the world’s largest copper mines. It sits at an elevation of more than 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in the Andes range, 240 km northeast of Santiago.

Los Pelambres
After encountering unanticipated problems from a newly implemented fast-refill fuel system for its haul trucks, the mine resolved those issues and gained additional benefits by installing a monitoring system that accurately reports and records truck fuel-tank status.

Los Pelambres’ 55 Komatsu haul trucks are a critical element of mine production. As part of an effort to maximize asset utilization, the mine adopted a fast refueling system for the trucks that would reduce refueling time from 25 to approximately 5 minutes. However, this initiative produced an unexpected series of issues that offset the intended goal—specifically, the mine was seeing frequent rupture of factory-installed fuel sensors due to high pressure from the refueling system. Without a working fuel sensor, drivers had to guess when it was the right time to refuel and could only estimate how much fuel would be needed to top off the truck’s tank.

Not surprisingly, guessing rarely paid off. Drivers sometimes waited too long to refuel and the tank went empty, causing air to leak in. Purging the air added five additional hours to the refueling process. Overall, tanks were filled to maximum capacity only 0.6% of the time, which ended up significantly increasing the number of refueling stops. Because no one could optimize the refueling schedule, drivers often reported to the same refueling center at the same time, which caused long lines and delays.

These issues and the ensuing consequences not only undercut the intended benefits of adopting the new refueling method; they actually increased downtime and negatively impacted revenue at the mining site. To address the problems created by the fast refueling system, Los Pelambres invited a group of companies to submit a proposal for a solution that would:

  • Equip the trucks with a ruggedized fuel sensor that would withstand the pressure from the fast refueling system.
  • Relay fuel level and truck location data back to a centralized application over cellular or satellite depending on network availability to ensure uninterrupted connectivity.
  • Include an application with a user-friendly graphical interface that would display the position of trucks as well as tank levels in real-time. The application would also allow the control center to monitor alarms based on user-defined thresholds.
IDP 782

Read more ›

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Posted in 2. Heavy Equipment, 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , ,

Trailer Tracking on the Go, and a Look Ahead to the TCA Refrigerated Division Meeting

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It’s hard to believe we’re half-way through 2016, which has already seen so much news and innovation on the trucking, reefer and trailer telematics fronts. Already this year, ORBCOMM has made great strides to further improve our product and service offerings for our reefer tracking and trailer telematics customers. Our web applications now feature even better reporting, improved usability, a modern look and feel, and a now a mobile app component.

In announcing the TCA’s 2016 “Best Fleets to Drive For”, the organizers referenced flexibility, communication, and technology (including mobile app use) as common traits among top fleets. Recognizing this trend, ORBCOMM announced last year that we were taking our transportation solutions to the next level with the launch of ORBCOMMmobile, a robust mobile app for both iOS and Android allowing users to monitor and control refrigerated assets in real-time via our ReeferTrak® cold chain monitoring solution.

We’re excited to now offer CargoWatch® for mobile, making it possible to manage dry and mixed fleets on the go. Track the location of assets in real-time, view reefer alarms and maintenance reports, monitor and control asset temperature and more, all from the palm of your hand.

Also in the first half of 2016, the FDA published its long awaited final rule for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), establishing new requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, training and record keeping. Be sure to visit ORBCOMM’s FSMA-Ready.com to find out what you need to know, including a Simplified Guide and handy checklists for carriers and shippers.

I’m looking forward to discussing these developments next week at the Truckload Carriers Association 2016 Refrigerated Division Meeting—the premier forum for those operating temperature-controlled equipment.

What: TCA 2016 Refrigerated Division Meeting
When: July 20 – 22, 2016
Where: Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, WA

Trailer Telematics applicationGoing to be there? We’d love to meet with you. Schedule a Meeting with us to learn how our leading telematics devices and powerful applications combine to help you remotely locate, manage and control your fleets and refrigerated cargo while ensuring compliance with FSMA and other regulations. We’ll also have some exciting news to share on our hardware and applications portfolio.

For those we won’t see there, please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss connected assets and fleet telematics.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

ORBCOMM is a single source provider of multi-network connectivity, leading edge devices and powerful applications for industries including transportation and distribution, heavy equipment, oil and gas, maritime and government.
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