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IoT, RFID, Big Data and the Supply Chain Management Revolution

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ChainLink Research did a great wrap up of all the new technologies, applications and use cases on review at the recent RFID Journal LIVE! Conference. There was so much to see and learn about. RFID touches just about everything in today’s age of M2M and IoT.

We were there, right alongside all the others, showing off the ROI of our IoT platform. We received a great response to how ORBCOMM enables the rapid development of scalable applications to track and monitor assets, parts, products, or tools via RFID, GPS, barcodes, and sensors. While these types of applications for RFID and telemetry are already making a big impact on cold chain management, fleet management, and asset tracking, the future is filled with possibilities now that these technologies are being combined with Big Data analytics.

What we really wanted to get across at our booth is the impact these types of IoT solutions can have on customer satisfaction, loyalty and profitability. For state-of-the art supply chain management, these solutions provide a clear path for more granular, accurate and frequently available information, which enables supply chain optimization through operational convergence. Robust IoT solutions are also invaluable for new business models that merge data silos to create more powerful and agile supply chains.

IoT supply chain solutionsFor those of you who were unable to attend RFID Live!, we have a new webinar available entitled, IoT Gives Birth to the New Supply Chain Agenda Ashish Chona from ORBCOMM and Isabel Chapman from Machina Research paint an informative picture with case studies that illustrate the potential ROI and other KPIs available to supply chain management.

For more information on ORBCOMM’s IoT-driven tracking, monitoring and inventory solutions, call +1-408-352-0600, email sales@orbcomm.com or visit http://www2.orbcomm.com/IoTPlatform.

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

Smart Containers are Just the Start: How Connected Assets Will Drive the Digital Supply Chain Revolution

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Maersk container shipping

Photo: Maersk Media Library

Ships. Dry containers. Reefer boxes. Tank containers. Chassis. Gensets. Tractors. Port and rail cranes. Mobile loading and handling equipment. The global container supply chain is literally awash with assets. From a 20,000TEU mega-ship, to a lift truck moving containers round a terminal, to a reefer box carrying perishable produce half way round the world, each has a part to play in the daily dispatch and delivery of a vast array of containerized cargo across maritime, port and intermodal transport networks.

Today, the vast majority of these assets are dark, dumb and disconnected. They do their job (some of the time), but they can’t tell anyone how they are doing, what they are doing and where they are doing it. They can’t raise the alarm when something goes wrong. They deliver the goods (some of the time), but not the data.

Tomorrow, things will look very different.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Maersk Line CCO Vincent Clerc hails smart containers as a ‘game-changer’. Maersk has just gone public on its decision to equip its fleet of over 260,000 refrigerated containers with machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that gives global real-time visibility into equipment location and status, and allows the carrier to remotely control temperature, humidity and other climate settings for perishable cargoes.

Mr. Clerc says that Maersk and its customers have already started to reap the benefits, seeing a significant reduction in cargo damage. Some 30% of the food produced by the world is lost each year, and smart reefers have a part to play in tackling this, improving cold chain stability and reliability in a globalizing food market.

Remote container management is also cutting down on the need for manual equipment inspections along the cold chain. This is helping to drive down costs – a critical consideration in today’s straitened shipping climate – as well as to reduce the risk of human error in data collection.

Currently, more than 59% of claims stem from “malfunctioning reefer units, poor supplier handling of off-power periods and wrong temperature set points”, says Mr. Clerc. All of these issues – most of which are outside the company’s direct control as its reefer boxes traverse the maritime transport system – can “either be partially avoided or mitigated proactively with live data.”

As part of the M2M technology community that worked on this landmark 5-year project (ORBCOMM subsidiary WAM Technologies supplied the telematics application and device management middleware), it’s really encouraging to see Maersk Line opening up the dialogue about smart containers and their role in shipping’s digital future. More details of the project, how the technology works and market reactions can be found in The Inside Story of How to Keep it Cool, recently published by The Loadstar  logistics news portal, together with this podcast just released.

Read more ›

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

RFID Journal Live Recap: Delivering the ROI of IoT

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RFID Journal LIVEORBCOMM had a great time in Orlando at RFID Journal Live! At our show booth, we had the opportunity to reveal to about 3,000 attendees from more than 60 countries what we’ve been up to since the acquisition of InSync Software over a year ago. The response to the combined synergies was overwhelmingly positive.

Of particular interest was ORBCOMM’s turnkey solution that allows customers to rapidly build and deploy M2M and IoT enterprise solutions across markets including transportation and distribution, cold chain, warehousing, supply chain, yard management, and manufacturing. The unique features of the platform include the capability to connect, receive and store data and devices (ORBCOMM or third party); extend the capabilities of the devices beyond the built-in functionality; and monitor and manage devices and data. These characteristics are of particular value to businesses looking to move beyond a siloed approach to data.

With M2M and IoT, many businesses are moving to the multi-tenancy business model. Businesses now have multiple communications links, not only across a single business entity but also across the supply chain. This may include tiers of suppliers, manufacturers, sub-contractors, distributers, warehouses, retailers as well as customers.

This complexity requires optimal visibility wherever and whenever a handoff takes place. Without it, the impact on profitability can be significant.  According to a Georgia Tech study, supply chain glitches can impact shareholder value by as much as 25%. On the other hand, companies employing sophisticated supply chain methods see 12 times greater profit than those without.

IoT-webinar-300-x-250In our new webinar, IoT Gives Birth to the New Supply Chain Agenda, Ashish Chona from ORBCOMM and Isabel Chapman from Machina Research provide further insights on this topic. Case studies help illustrate how merged data silos create a more powerful, agile supply chain able to respond to regulatory pressures.

It’s a must see for any business looking to get the most ROI out of IoT.

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

Asset Tracking Driving Better Business Decisions

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big truck trafficFederal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau recently authored a blog post on the US Department of Transportation’s site announcing a new proposed rule that will requires state transportation agencies to monitor the performance of highways and use the collected data to help make better investment decisions and help ensure more predictable commutes.

Many businesses in the transportation and distribution industry are already doing this at a private level. Asset tracking improves customer service with accurate Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). But visibility goes further than the congestion on the road. Asset tracking provides a cost-effective and reliable communications link to locate vehicle position, reduce fuel costs, optimize travel routes, monitor driver behavior, minimize idle times and ensure cargo security and driver safety.

Trailer Telematics applicationUsing the right network connectivity, hardware, web reporting applications and software establishes an unprecedented way to capture, process and analyze data 24/7. With a robust flow of critical data, a business is much better equipped improve delivery predictability, increase trailer efficiency and save on fuel and labor costs.

For more information on ORBCOMM’s trailer telematics solutions, visit www2.orbcomm.com/trailer-telematics.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , ,

Mandatory AIS for All Vessels?

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Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) FishingA study was published recently in the magazine Science calling for wider usage of Automatic Identification System (AIS) to track fishing activity. Governments are attempting to manage global fishing resources in a sustainable fashion, but these resources are in fact being depleted due to illegal fishing activity. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are areas restricted to human activity in order to protect resources, however this designation is only as good as the adherence and enforcement of it. Given the substantial economic benefits of fishing in prime, protected areas, it is no wonder these regions are prone to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Currently, vessels of 300 gross tonnage and upwards are required to be outfitted with an AIS transceiver. This device transmits vessel position information and receives other vessel position information in order to enable proximity navigation and ship collision avoidance. With the global coverage that satellite AIS brings, this information has recently been used for other purposes such as tracking commodities, vessel tracking, and search and rescue. However its usefulness is restricted to only the vessels which have this AIS device installed.

Given shocking statistics that ocean fish catches are 50% higher than reported, and that only 3.5% of self-identified fishing vessels reported a valid International Maritime Organization number (identification code), it is clear something must be done. Read more ›

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Posted in 3. Maritime, 6. Networks Tagged with: , , ,

Water Monitoring: Satellite M2M Technology Rising to Industry Challenges

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Water monitoring is increasingly becoming a challenge for energy companies, governments and other industry stakeholders trying to find smarter ways to automate water meter readings, monitor water levels, detect leaks and manage water quality.

While the challenge is more acute in countries with expansive remote areas, the availability, quality, delivery and flow of water are big issues in many countries all over the world. Many utilities are adopting satellite-based remote telemetry, using machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to:

  • Decrease reliance on manual systems that can be inaccurate, untimely and costly.
  • Detect leaks in the distribution system to reduce losses due to non-revenue water.
  • Reduce production costs such as pumping rates and raw water treatment costs.
  • Reduce fleet costs associated with site visits and manual water level checks.
  • Improve cash flow.

Here a just a few recent examples of water management applications that leverage satellite M2M technology: Read more ›

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Posted in 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , ,

What the Final FSMA Rule Means for Transportation and Logistics Professionals

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FSMA guide for food transportersThe long awaited Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) reform was published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 48 million people get sick in the US every year and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. With FSMA, the FDA hopes to significantly reduce the number of illnesses caused by compromised or contaminated food.

FSMA is a significant step forward by regulators towards preventing and minimizing the number of cases rather than responding to existing food safety problems. According to the FDA, this is the first time it has a legislative mandate to ensure specific requirements and controls be met across the food supply in order to develop a comprehensive food safety system.

What does FSMA mean for food transporters?

The final rule outlines new sanitary practices for businesses involved in the transportation of human and animal food by motor or rail vehicle—shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers—making them accountable for preventing contamination and ensuring product integrity at delivery.

The rule establishes new requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, training and record keeping: Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

Discover the RoI of the IoT at RFID Journal LIVE!

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IoT-webinar-300-x-250These are interesting and challenging times for those involved in supply chain logistics, fleet management, inventory/warehousing, manufacturing and more. New, cutting-edge asset tracking applications that take advantage of Internet of Things (IoT), RFID and sensor-based technologies are being used to improve supply chain visibility, ROI, operational efficiency and manage risk.

But with the learning curve so steep, the data streams so enormous and the integrations so complex, where do you start? Join ORBCOMM at RFID Journal LIVE in Orlando to discuss solutions to these challenges and more…

RFID Journal LIVE!
May 3 – 5, 2016
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Florida
ORBCOMM Booth #436
Schedule a Meeting

Looking forward to meeting with InSync Software at the show? ORBCOMM acquired InSync last year, and continues to offer the same innovative IoT-based solutions you’ve come to expect related to:

Transportation: RFID-based tracking and monitoring of cargo. Improve fleet efficiency with real-time location and status information.

Supply Chain: Streamline the supply chain and effectively manage inventory every step of the way.

Manufacturing: Track high-value equipment and tools for improved operational efficiency.

Inventory: Streamline and reduce costs of inventory, warehouse and yard management operations. Read more ›

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

Modbus 101: Why SCADA Integrators are On Board with the Flexible Protocol

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Modbus is a versatile protocol in the process control and remote monitoring world.  Invented in 1979 by Modicon, now part of Schneider Electric, Modbus is used by thousands of companies worldwide on a wide range of devices including Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Remote Terminal Units (RTU), and sensors.

The basic concept of Modbus is the exchange of information via logical addresses in four key formats:

  1. Holding registers which support read or write;
  2. Input registers for read only;
  3. Coils for read and write of Boolean data; and
  4. Boolean input for read only.

Because of the flexibility of Modbus, most process control information can be represented in one of the four address formats.  For example, a holding register could hold temperature or pressure values, while a coil could hold the desired on/off state of a pump or compressor.

Data originating from a device via Modbus can help oil & gas companies and SCADA integrators achieve cost savings through better operational efficiency, improved maintenance practices (pipeline monitoring), accident prevention (pipeline oil spill burns) and environmental management (enhanced water quality, flood recovery).

Modbus system overview

The widespread adoption of Modbus by industrial process control OEM equipment manufacturers means that most system integrators are proficient when it comes to working with Modbus. As with all technology, the Modbus standard has evolved over the years with minor variants being developed to adapt to new demands not originally considered. This means it is important to work with equipment that can easily adapt to the specific formatting required.   Read more ›

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Posted in 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks Tagged with: ,

IoT ‘as-a-Service’ Model a Win-Win for Subscribers and Providers

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Internet of Things - IoT Supply ChainThere is a lot of hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), with many companies trying to differentiate themselves in what is becoming a seemingly very crowded space. In the retail industry, a lot of companies market ‘neat’, yet transitory ideas or products which they hope will capture the imagination of the people who buy them before their thoughts veer elsewhere. There does not need to be a justifiable consumer expense, as consumers are free to spend their money as they like – this is a very different scenario than in the business world.

The biggest (commercial or industrial) business enabler of the IoT is the wealth of information that has become available. Whether you’re tracking heavy equipment, building a highway through the mountains, monitoring employee productivity on the assembly floor, or managing a fleet of vehicles, the IoT has made it possible to track operational and diagnostic information either in real- or near real-time. Some of this information is unremarkable and unactionable, but some of it has the potential of transforming businesses as we know them today.

There is a new business model that has appeared recently that is in the middle of revolutionizing how businesses operate—the ‘-as-a-Service’ model. Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 2. Heavy Equipment, 5. M2M/IoT Trends 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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