Telematics Responding to Trucking Industry Challenge and Change: TCA Refrigerated Division Meeting Preview

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We’re half-way through 2018, which has already seen so much in terms of changes and challenges for carriers of all types.

aobrd to eld telematics solutionsAs your trusted partner, we’ve been keeping you up to speed on the latest industry news and trends, from the coming into force of the ELD mandate (including FMCSA severity weights and how to move from AOBRDs), to dealing with FSMA compliance and rejected loads in food transport, to ongoing concerns about fleet safety and cargo security.

We’re looking forward to discussing these developments this week at the Truckload Carriers Association 2018 Refrigerated Division Meeting—the premier forum for those operating temperature-controlled equipment.

What: TCA 2018 Refrigerated Division Meeting
When: July 11-13, 2018
Where: Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Washington

Going to be there? We’d love to meet with you! Simply hit reply to this email or click below to arrange a time that’s convenient for you:

Schedule Meeting

You’ll learn how our leading telematics devices and powerful applications combine to help you remotely track, monitor and manage virtually every asset class, while improving profitability, enhancing operations and ensuring regulatory compliance.

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

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Fleet Safety Update: Get Ready for Operation Safe Driver Week

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deploying fleet safetyThe Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) annual Operation Safe Driver Week takes place July 15-21, 2018. The aim of the weeklong operation is to lower the number of road deaths caused by poor driver behavior like distracted driving, speeding or driving without a seatbelt.  

The CVSA will have extra staff on duty to monitor CMV and passenger vehicle drivers and to call them out for poor behavior. During 2017 CVSA’s Safe Driver Week personnel issued nearly 39,000 citations and warnings compared to 20,648 the previous year.  

Unsafe driving is an issue that the CVSA is serious about addressing. “Operation Safe Driver Week aims to call attention to driver behaviors, the main cause of crashes, and combat those behaviors through heightened traffic safety enforcement and education,” CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney told ORBCOMM. “This enforcement initiative focuses not only on CMV drivers, but also on passenger vehicle drivers who are operating unsafely around large trucks and buses.”

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver behavior is a critical contributing factor in more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of passenger vehicle crashes. Its Large Truck Causation Study says drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of a crash than external factors such as the weather, the vehicle itself or driving conditions at the time.

Drivers of large trucks are 10 times more likely to be the cause of a crash than external factors such as the weather, vehicle or driving conditions.

The unsafe areas that driver behavior has a direct impact on include speeding, distracted driving, texting, improper lane changes, driving too closely to vehicles in front, not obeying traffic signals and not using seatbelts. In the DOT’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Factsheet for 2016, 13% of occupants of fatal large truck crashes were not wearing seatbelts. In the same year, 32% of fatal crashes were impacted by at least one driver-related factor; speeding was the most common, followed by distraction for CMVs and Impairment (due to fatigue, alcohol or illness) for passenger vehicle drivers.  

Forward Plan with Telematics Data 

Forward-thinking fleets do not have to wait until the blitz is upon them before taking action on driver behavior. The data they need to tackle it is available from comprehensive telematics solutions 

safe driving in truckingUsing the right technology can help to identify and prevent unsafe driving behaviors. Driver performance scoring, driver training, rewards programs and in-cab coaching can help fleets become safer. For example, telematics can identify unsafe driving behavior such as harsh acceleration or deceleration, vehicle speed or lack of seatbelt usage. Using this information, fleet managers can incorporate training and courses to help drivers shake off poor driving habits.   

A data-backed driver reward program can make a big impact on a fleet’s safety record too. Driver reward programs are an increasingly popular way to positively impact safety performance. Base driver rewards around objective safety metrics such as:  

  • Overspeeding 
  • Harsh acceleration and deceleration 
  • Hard braking 

Free e-Book: Distracted DrivingAn accurate and fair data-based scoring system is crucial, as companies obviously need drivers to buy-in to the program. Rewards can include recognition, personal gifts like clothes or merchandise, monetary rewards or perks like extra time off, or extended breaks.  

Telematics can also take care of the hard work of maintenance reminders. It can issue maintenance reminders and alerts to ensure vehicles are checked regularly and are safe on the road. 

Gaining access to the right metrics, encouraging safer driving behavior and keep vehicle maintenance up-to-date all contribute towards a safety culture amongst fleet drivers and managers. Utilizing telematics for the job means fleets will be more than ready for Operation Safe Driver Week.  

The annual Operation Safe Driver Week is organized by CVSA, in partnership with the FMCSA.

To find out more about ORBCOMM’s solutions for safer driving behavior, visit or contact us at 

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RFID Solutions: Avoiding the “Science Project” Scenario (Video)

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rfid taggingRFID has a lot of potential and promise, yet comes with considerable hype and unrealistic expectations that often cloud easy wins and attainable ROI. This key is finding value in the low-hanging fruit that simple, effective RFID solutions offer, and avoiding the pitfalls and complexity that turn simple implementations into never-ending science projects.

This was a common theme at RFID Journal LIVE! in Orlando last month, where my colleague Christian Huff (ORBCOMM Director of RFID Application Sales) had the opportunity to present Easy Wins in RFID: Avoiding the “Science Project” Scenario.

Attendees were able to learn how scalable RFID software solutions can reduce the time, cost and complexity of deploying enterprise-class RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) asset tracking applications.

If you weren’t able to join us at RFID Journal LIVE!, you can now watch the video replay here:

Every day, RFID software is eliminating costly mistakes, resulting in fewer manufacturing errors and enabling organizations to:

Enhance Asset Intelligence
Optimize operations and manage risk with asset information on condition, location and environment.

Connect the Supply Chain
Enterprise-class RFID-based tracking, monitoring and inventory solutions for complete visibility and enhanced efficiency.

Track, Monitor and Manage Anything
Asset visibility solutions for transportation, healthcare, aerospace, defense, manufacturing, and more.

Reduce Time and Complexity in Developing RFID/IoT Solutions
Flexible, modular, single-vendor solutions that are device- and network-agnostic: RFID, BLE, barcode, Wi-Fi, GPS, RTLS, cellular and satellite.

To learn how ORBCOMM’s RFID software solutions can seamlessly connect people, processes, data and things, schedule a demo at

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

Cargo Security Update: Thefts are Down, But LTL Pilferage Remains a Concern

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deploying fleet safetyThe total volume of cargo thefts in the US are down 22% and values are down 15% in Q1-2018 compared to the same quarter last year, according to the latest Sensitech Supply Chain Intelligence Center report.

Typically, thieves target goods that are fast and easy to resell and difficult to track. This is especially true with products from the Food & Drinks category, which are quickly consumed, leaving for a short time window to make a recovery. There is also very rarely identifying information on these products once removed from their packaging, complicating the recovery process even further.

In Q1-2018, Electronics took over the top spot for most stolen product type from Food & Drinks, the usual front runner in recent years. Food & Drinks saw most thefts coming from Canned & Dry Goods (23%), while the most stolen in the Electronics category were Televisions & Displays (54%).

Electronics cargo thefts generally peak in the fourth quarter every year due to increased shipping volumes for the holiday season and the release of new and next-generation electronic goods. Due to the rise in Electronics thefts in Q1-2018, the report contained a special “Quarterly Spotlight” focusing on that product type. Geographically, California by far held the top spot for most Electronics thefts (47%), followed by Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Illinois (each under 10%).

California was also ranked as the top state for overall cargo thefts (37%), 4% lower than the same quarter last year, but a rise of 36% over Q4-2017. Illinois jumped to second place (13%), recording a significant jump over Q1 and Q4-2017. Florida, Texas and Georgia ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively. Colorado and Mississippi remarkably jumped to eighth and tenth positions respectively after recording zero thefts in both Q1 and Q4-2017.

In terms of where cargo thefts are occurring, Unsecured Parking was by far the most common location for reported incidents in Q1-2018, accounting for 92% of all thefts where a location type was reported. Secured Parking and Warehouse/Distribution Center location types accounted for 4% of total reported thefts each. As usual, the most common type of cargo theft is categorized as Theft of Full Truckload, accounting for 88% of all reported thefts with an average loss of $121,624.

Pilferage, also known as less-than-truckload (LTL) theft, dropped 36% from last year’s record highs, but still accounted for 9% of total thefts. Thieves often target LTL shipments as they’re frequently not as secured as full truckload shipments. Theft of Full Truckload numbers have continued to drop since its peak in 2009 due to increased security measures, including team driving (where two drivers make runs together) and increased adoption of telematics that can track anything from vehicle location to driver behavior to cargo security and status.

cargo security solutionsWhile traditionally, high theft value was the main factor in cargo theft risk, trends are shifting as thieves recognize new security measures. As methods used by cargo thieves evolve to take on the new security landscape, trucking and logistics companies should take proactive measures now to ensure they’re protected as we’re sure to continue to see new types of cargoes being targeted in new regions.

Tackling cargo theft is no small task, but we’re already witnessing the benefits of the fight against it as theft rates have continued on a downward trend since 2009. ORBCOMM has been a frontrunner in the industry, servicing such companies as Maersk and Walmart with our comprehensive suite of end-to-end solutions – from applications to hardware to support.

For more information on ORBCOMM or our telematics security solutions, contact

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Beyond Compliance: Driving Fleet Safety and Operational Performance with Trusted Telematics

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deploying fleet safetyThere’s been a lot of coverage in the media recently about commercial vehicle telematics thanks to the new ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate that came into effect last December by FMCSA, the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The new rule, fully enforced from April 1, affects all professional drivers and motor carriers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS), although fleets with existing automated on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) have until December 2019 to upgrade.

But regulatory compliance is only a part of the telematics story. Fleets of all shapes and sizes – from light vehicles up to the most heavy-duty haulage – can benefit from significant increases in driver performance, safety and operational effectiveness by correctly selecting and implementing a telematics solution, regardless of whether they are affected by the ELD rule or not. That’s especially the case for anyone working in and with the high risk- and safety-conscious hydrocarbon and mineral extraction industries, where compliance is simply a given and a “license to operate.”

So, should you be investing in telematics, what should you expect and demand from your solution and how can you ensure maximum return on investment?

Telematics – not just for transportation companies

Firstly, let’s dispel the myth that companies who don’t consider themselves primarily to be transportation providers won’t get a benefit from telematics. Take a look at how much your business depends on drivers and vehicles and think about how much time your people spend driving even when it is not their core function. Of the many activities required of employees, driving is one where there are relatively few safety barriers between doing something right and something wrong. And the consequences of doing something wrong while driving on a public highway can be far-reaching.

The right telematics solution enables you to actively monitor and measure what’s happening with your personnel while out on the road and – most importantly of all – the opportunity to provide proactive coaching and advice to improve driving behaviors. Over many years of developing and implementing transport telematics in the oil, gas and other industries, we’ve had chance to analyze, systemize and calibrate what constitutes professional driving. These best practice settings – including acceleration, deceleration, braking, speed, turns, anticipation (time between taking foot off accelerator and putting it down on the brake) plus a myriad of other factors – are embedded in the system.

As a result, driver feedback can be positive and fact-based versus punitive and ‘best guess.’ This is one of the fundamental benefits of having an advanced telematics system, and equally critical for getting the best out of your technology investment.

People will make mistakes and it’s all too easy for these mistakes to compound and fall into bad habits. Having a trusted, neutral system that…

  • Alerts and advises when driving behavior is ‘out of preferred practice’,
  • Allows drivers to self-correct and
  • Provides the basis for a fact-based review with a supervisor

…has been proven to yield substantial improvements in driving performance.

fleet safety simplified

Not only does this improve safety; it also leads to less vehicle wear and tear, better fuel economy and higher productivity.

Along the way, we’ve identified two key factors that are crucial to trusted telematics:

Speed by street

Continually mapping and remapping street-level speed zones across North America and other countries where our customers operate ensures on the one hand that drivers are not unfairly punished for speeding and on the other that speeding is identified in any situation. It’s not much use only recording top speed when your driver is going 28mph in a 25mph zone – that’s still a violation.

Having speed zones on the device versus in the cloud is also a subtle but critical aspect to consider. It’s the difference between a driver receiving feedback immediately versus  potentially after the event due to communication latency. Feedback delay creates confusion and has a detrimental impact on the existing safety program in place. To be a competent safety barrier, feedback needs to be swift, certain and ideally positive.

Verbal mentoring

Giving drivers an immediate verbal indication when they breach one of many mapped antecedent behaviors – similar to using google maps navigation – is viewed very positively compared to a ‘beep’ or a ‘buzzer’ and  fosters swift self-corrective behavior. The driver understands immediate cause and effect and can immediately reflect on the act or omission that created the event. This combined with Speed by Street provides a comprehensive and competent behavior-based solutions to mitigate behaviors associated with speeding.

But like any other technology, telematics is an enabler, not a panacea. It cannot transform businesses on its own but rather needs to be integrated into a holistic compliance and performance culture. If drivers consistently make mistakes and these are not picked up and addressed, that sub-par behavior will become normalized very quickly. So, there must be an organizational solution supporting the data or it will rapidly become a white elephant. Key measures to ensure integration include training drivers about the ‘why and the how’ and training supervisors to provide feedback in ‘context coaching’ methodology.

Making the move to management by exception

aobrd to eld telematics solutionsWhile telematics effectiveness depends on gathering a huge amount of raw data, an effective telematics solution needs to help companies shift to management by exception, ensure that different users only see the data that is relevant to them, and push data into the systems and format that users want – not the other way around. So, understanding the types of dashboard reports available, and how the system can be configured and customized, is crucial when considering an investment.

It’s all about setting up the right reports that give people the data they need at the frequency they need it. C-suite executives for instance generally want a dashboard pushed to a place that suits them that gives them a top-level view of trends. The DOT compliance manager wants to know about who is and who is not compliant. And the HSE person is mainly interested in the exceptions and the context of that exception that could indicate HSE exposure, such as speeding, harsh turns and sharp acceleration/deceleration.

Properly implemented, with right organizational framework, culture and support, telematics can help companies hold their people respectfully accountable, providing quantifiable safety and performance metrics versus guesswork, and identifying the who, what, when, where and how that create an opening for improvement. Compliance is just the start.

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Deploying Fleet Safety: Saving Costs, Saving Lives – New E-Book

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deploying fleet safetyVehicle collisions pose a significant challenge to organizations managing vehicle fleets or a mobile workforce. In addition to the irreversible effects of loss of life, motor vehicle crashes carry a hefty price tag, costing employers more than $60 billion a year in medical care, legal expenses, property damage and lost productivity. Every 12 minutes, someone dies in a motor vehicle crash, every 10 seconds an injury occurs, and every 5 seconds a crash occurs—often on the job or while commuting to and from work—making motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death and injury for people of all ages and a key issue for employers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 90 percent of vehicle collisions involve driver error and are largely preventable. Traffic deaths are expected to continue to rise with some of the leading causes including distracted driving, driving under the influence, driver fatigue and speeding. Implementing a comprehensive road safety program is crucial in helping companies reduce vehicle crashes, protect lives, improve driver satisfaction and retention, and achieve significant operational improvements and cost savings.

Our latest e-book, Deploying Fleet Safety: Saving Costs, Saving Lives, outlines elements that should be taken into consideration when implementing a road safety program and the role of telematics technology in successfully evaluating, coaching and rewarding drivers as well as assessing the success of a program. Some of these elements include getting buy-in from key stakeholders throughout the organization, clearly communicating objectives to drivers and employees, embracing safety as part of the corporate culture, and integrating the right technology to vehicles to accurately assess performance and progress.

A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation reveals that using in-vehicle monitoring systems along with new vehicle safety technologies can help fleets, regardless of size and type, reduce vehicle crashes by up to 30 percent, making a solid case for including telematics in a road safety program.

With over 25 years of experience in fleet telematics, ORBCOMM understands the needs of drivers and fleets. Our comprehensive fleet safety solution verbally notifies drivers of unsafe driving behaviors as they occur to help them develop situational awareness and self correct before those behaviors escalate into a fine or a collision.

Proprietary Speed-by-Street functionality alerts drivers when they exceed the speed limit on any given road with acute accuracy, helping fleets minimize speeding fines and crashes. These and other features built into our fleet safety solution have helped customers achieve reduce crashes by 90 percent, aggressive driving instances by 89 percent, speeding by 86 percent and seat belt violations by 88 percent.

fleet safety simplified

To learn more about how our technology can help you improve safety ratings and protect lives, download our e-book, schedule a demo or email us at

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Taking GPS Tracking to the Extreme at Rhino Charge 2018

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IDP-782 dual-mode vehicle trackingORBCOMM devices and connectivity are designed to handle even the toughest demands of non-stop real-time security, safety and tracking in some of Africa’s most extreme locations. How rugged? Every year, ORBCOMM’s dual-mode cellular-satellite IDP-782 device is put through extreme data requirements in a harsh and dusty environment, in one of the world’s most exciting and challenging 4×4 competitions.

Once again this year, ORBCOMM’s IDP-782 devices were installed (with the assistance of our partner RiverCross Tracking) on all-terrain vehicles traversing the wild African back country during the “Rhino Charge” off-road vehicle event in Kenya, aimed at raising funds and awareness for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust. All funds raised by Rhino Charge are donated to Rhino Ark to help conserve central Kenya’s Aberdare and Mt Kenya Conservation areas. The course includes checkpoints scattered over approximately 100 sq km of rough terrain, including ravines, boulder fields and dry river beds, proving to be a challenging setting for any security, safety and tracking application. The competition requires vehicles to drive the shortest distance between the 13 guard posts in 10 hours.

Finding the shortest distance between two points requires a certain amount of bravery and creativity

Read more ›

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Video Demo: Complete Transportation Telematics with FleetManager

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aobrd to eld telematics solutionsSome of the biggest names in the industry gathered in Atlanta last week for Transparency 18 to discuss the future of freight and see some of the most innovative technologies available in the market today. The event provided a great opportunity for ORBCOMM to showcase its fully integrated solution for transportation and logistics, which now supports virtually every asset type—including truck, trailer, reefer and container—making it the most complete transportation telematics solution in the business.

ORBCOMM’s FleetManager delivers asset location and status data, two-way control functionality, comprehensive reporting and analytics, real-time alerts and more. If you missed us last week, go to the link below for our complete Transparency 18 FleetManager demo:

A key player in cold chain and trailer telematics in North America, ORBCOMM’s solution now offers advanced truck management capabilities, combining reliable in-cab devices, state-of-the-art tracking hardware and powerful back-end reporting from FleetManager to deliver complete visibility of freight operations for improved business planning, reduced costs and optimized efficiencies.

FleetManager software

To learn more, schedule a demo or email us at

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Hours-of-Service Under the Microscope for International Roadcheck 2018

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Fleets and drivers in North America will need to buckle up in early June as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual International Roadcheck 2018 takes place from June 5 – 7.

International Road Check

The main focus this year is on Hours-of-Service compliance, something that is already under the spotlight with the implementation of the ELD hard enforcement and the announcement of the violation severity weighting.

The CVSA says the event is the largest, targeted enforcement program for Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) in the world. On average, 17 trucks and buses are inspected every minute in Canada, the United States, and Mexico during the 72-hour inspection period. More than 1.5 million inspections have taken place since the inception of International Roadcheck in 1988.

The focus this year is on hours-of-service (HOS) violations. HOS violations were the highest occurring violations during the 2017 blitz. The CVSA says 32% of drivers were placed out-of-service during 2017 International RoadCheck for HOS violations specifically. CVSA President, Captain Christopher Turner of Kansas Highway Patrol says: “the top reason drivers were placed out of service during 2017 International Roadcheck was for hours-of-service violations.”

Roadside inspectionDuring the roadcheck timeframe, inspectors will primarily go through the North American Standard Level I Inspection. This 37-step procedure examines the driver and vehicle mechanical fitness.

Officers will ask drivers for their operational credentials and HOS documentation, check on correct seat belt usage and look out for any drug or alcohol impairment.

At the same time, vehicles will be checked for a number of items including brake systems, lighting, exhaust, tires, wheels, steering, windscreen wipers, fuel systems and driveline components.

If a critical violation is found, enforcement officials may render the driver or vehicle out of service. This means the driver cannot operate the vehicle until the violations are corrected.

If there are no critical violations found, the vehicle will receive a CVSA decal to indicate it successfully passed the inspection.

aobrd to eld telematics solutionsInternational Roadcheck is organized with participation from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

To discuss more on AOBRDs, ELDs and how to avoid hours-of-service violations, visit or contact us at

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A Bright Idea: Utilities Turning to Satellite M2M and IoT for Smart Grid Visibility

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Smart Grid initiatives are grabbing headlines all over the world:


What’s driving global smart grid initiatives?

How Southeast Asia is innovating with smart grid technology

Smart grid informationBut what does Smart Grid really mean?  The traditional electrical grid is a ‘one way’ system with power going from the grid operator (Utility) to the customer with no feedback loop. The term ‘Smart Grid’ describes a power grid that’s integrated with a computerized, two-way communication network. Power is provided to the customer and feedback is provided on system operation, outages, and electrical use (among many possible parameters) to the Utility and power suppliers. Using this information, operators and suppliers can optimize the performance of the power grid to accommodate peak loads and anticipate problems and service disturbances. In addition, by being aware of how the grid is performing, operators can ensure that small local problems do not become large regional outages.

The power grid is a fundamental infrastructure in modern society and the Smart Grid is a work in progress that takes it to the next level. In fact, there will be several stages in evolving from the traditional ‘dumb’ grid to a mature Smart Grid. The first stage is focused on traditional ideas like adding more wire, installing better grid protection, and improving reliability. The next stages involve integrating information technology and creating the ability to add capacity from non-traditional sources like wind and solar power to accommodate fluctuations in power demand and ensure increasingly reliable and cost-effective service to create a true Smart Grid.

Today, many electrical utilities have implemented equipment to do just that. For example, reclosers1 have been implemented in electrical distribution systems to keep segments of the grid active even after temporary short circuits like when a small tree branch temporarily leans against a power wire in a wind storm. Without reclosers, grid protective equipment would take that segment of the grid offline causing a power failure that would require a crew to come out to reactivate adding to the operational cost of managing the grid. There are many other examples of intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) that are installed on the grid that make it more reliable and robust.

smart grid monitoring

Satellite-based monitoring solutions allow electricity distribution companies to ensure proper operation of equipment in areas with limited cellular coverage.

These devices can send information like voltage, power factor, current, and more back to a centralized operations center which is vital to improving the integrity and reliability of the grid. The key is to reliably communicate this information to the operations center.

satellite tracking device kitUnfortunately, there are some serious challenges to reliably getting this information from the source (reclosers and IEDs) to the operations center. Read more ›

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

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