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Reefer Genset Innovator Shakes Up the Market with Advanced Telematics

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genset monitoringDutch innovator Genmark has developed a range of lightweight, easy-to-operate, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly reefer container gensets, including a world-first design for use on extending road chassis. And it has turned to ORBCOMM telematics as an integral part of the solution…  

There are over 40,000 gensets in active service around the world, providing mobile power to keep refrigerated container shipments cool where no fixed electricity supply exists. Used in rail, road, barge, port, depot and DC operations, the importance of genset to the containerized cold chain cannot be understated. Keeping units on power ensures cold chain integrity can be maintained, safeguarding temperature-controlled shipments and ensuring compliance with food and pharmaceutical regulations, such as FMSA and GDP.

reefer genset installation

There are over 40,000 gensets in active service around the world, providing mobile power to keep refrigerated container shipments cool where no fixed electricity supply exists.

Genmark, a Dutch company with many decades’ diverse experience in the design, operation and maintenance of reefer containers and gensets, has set out to shake up the market with a new range of lightweight, fuel-efficient and easy-to-operate machines. Designed with real-life field operations firmly in mind, the units are optimized for swift mounting and dismounting from road chassis, including a unique model developed for extendable ‘flex’ chassis.

reefer genset on chassis

Genmark’s innovative new genset units are optimized for swift mounting and dismounting from road chassis, including a unique model developed for extendable ‘flex’ chassis.

 

As part of the design, Genmark has opted to include ORBCOMM wireless telematics technology as standard, helping the company and its customers to track and monitor units in the field.

chassis and genset tracking device

Genmark chose ORBCOMM’s XT 4760—a rugged, compact ‘plug-and-play’ device that enables two-way monitoring and control of chassis, gensets, flatbeds and other powered assets.

From tracking the precise location of gensets on the move and on the ground in ports and other facilities, to monitoring fuel levels and usage, remotely detecting and controlling whether units are on or off, whether they are connected to a reefer container, and if there is any equipment malfunction, telematics deliver multiple benefits and return on investment (ROI) in improved asset utilisation, operational efficiency, M&R management and regulatory compliance.

Read the full Case Study here

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

ORBCOMM Helping J.B. Hunt Become a “Technology Company”

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Talk Business & Politics recently reported on how J.B Hunt is exploring augmented reality, mobile applications and other innovations as part of a $500 million technology investment over the next five years. Earlier this year, J.B. Hunt selected ORBCOMM to equip its 90,000-plus intermodal and over-the-road (OTR) trailing fleets with end-to-end tracking and monitoring.

J.B Hunt telematics solution

J.B. Hunt selected ORBCOMM to equip its 90,000-plus intermodal and over-the-road (OTR) trailing fleets with end-to-end tracking and monitoring.

Leveraging our solar-powered GT 1100 devices with integrated cargo sensors, ORBCOMM is providing J.B. Hunt with a comprehensive telematics solution that gives full visibility to multiple classes of trailing equipment. With installation in under 15 minutes on either loaded or unloaded trailers, the solution is designed to increase operational efficiency, reduce cargo theft, and decrease unauthorized use.

trailer tracking device with cargo sensor

The solar-powered GT 1100-LTE devices with integrated cargo sensors are designed for installation outside a loaded or unloaded asset in less than 15 minutes, significantly reducing installation costs, resources and asset downtime

“Each unit will be equipped with a solar-rechargeable GPS tracking device and a full-length sensor to determine the presence or absence of cargo inside the trailing unit,” said Tracy Black, Senior Vice President of Information Systems for J.B. Hunt. “These comprehensive telematics solutions will decrease cargo theft, increase operational efficiency, decrease unauthorized use of assets and offer J.B. Hunt control over every facet of its fleet operations.”

The trailer sensors will ensure on time shipment delivery, and ensure that drivers are properly paired with individual trucks, by helping makes sense of vast of amounts of data around fuel, traffic and more.

JB Hunt trailer tracking solution

An instagram user recently reported back on the durability of the J.B. Hunt telematics solution: “”GT1100 took a direct hit , and the damn thing still works. Trailer’s toast. GPS has zero problem”

Read the full article to learn more.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

The Latest Innovations in Dry Van and Reefer Telematics: in.sight 2017 Preview

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transporttopics_300x250Next week you’ll find us at the in.sight User Conference hosted by PeopleNet and TMW, where you can see first hand how our versatile applications integrate with top Transportation Management Systems for a centralized view of asset location, temperature, sensor readings, alarms and more.

Visitors to in.sight 2017 will see the latest innovations in dry van and reefer management, including our PT 6000 which enables comprehensive fuel and temperature management, maintenance, logistics and regulatory compliance for refrigerated transport assets.

On the compliance front, ORBCOMM’s CargoWatch application now makes it even easier to comply with new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations around temperature management, reefer control, trailer precooling, certification, data collection and more. (Learn more about how ORBCOMM can help you get FSMA-compliant)

in.sight User Conference
When: August 13 – 16, 2017
Where: Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, TN
ORBCOMM Booth 507

Going to be there? We’d love to meet with you. Schedule a Meeting with us and visit ORBCOMM Booth 507 to learn why the world’s top fleets trust us for reliable tracking, monitoring, control, safety and compliance.

orbcomm booth

We’re here to help, so please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss how you can take advantage of these new innovations in connected transportation.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

AIS is for the Dogs: Satellite Tracking Keeps K9 Veterans Memorial in Sight

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Marine-Satellite_2017_300-x-250This June, over 200 veterans from far and wide gathered in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin for the unveiling of a K-9 Veterans Memorial honoring military dogs and their handlers, some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat.

While many in attendance were unaware just how far the granite for the Memorial had travelled, project coordinator Mabel Schumacher tracked its exact route all the way from India, thanks to vessel tracking technology powered by AIS data.

The monument was built with the help of donations from the community of Fort Atkinson, veterans groups and others who helped raise $63,000 for the memorial. According to Schumacher, tracking the granite shipment provided a concrete way for the memorial committee and community to stay engaged and to see daily progress toward their goal.

K9 Veterans Memorial

The memorial includes a bronze statue of a military K9 and a granite monument with etchings of quotes and photographs.

“It’s easy for a committee or a community to lose sight of a goal if they don’t see progress,” says Schumacher. “Besides, it was fun!”

The Maule cargo ship

The Maule

The group first used a terrestrial-only AIS service to track the Maule cargo ship from the Port of Mumbai, India, past Singapore, up through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. However, when the Maule passed Gibraltar and headed out into the Atlantic Ocean, terrestrial-based AIS data could no longer track the shipment.

A quick Google search for ‘satellite ship tracking’ led Schumacher to ORBCOMM. We put her in touch with our partner MarineTraffic, who was able to use satellite AIS data to track the Maule across the Atlantic to Halifax, Nova Scotia, en route to Savannah, Georgia before making it to its ultimate destination.

ais ship tracking across the Atlantic

MarineTraffic used satellite AIS data to track the Maule across the Atlantic Ocean, outside of terrestrial coverage

“This service allowed me to see exactly where the Maule was located, even down to the dock!” says Schumacher. “This really kept our committee in touch with the project and increased excitement regarding progress.”

The memorial, designed by Wisconsin sculptor Mark Dziewior, includes a bronze statue of a military K9 and a granite monument with etchings of quotes and photographs.

The Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson, who helped plan and fundraise for the memorial, say they were inspired by the memory of Terry Beck, a Fort Atkinson Marine K-9 handler and his dog Seato, who were killed in action in Vietnam in December 1967. Beck’s siblings said the memorial reinforces the companionship their brother had with his dog.

Watch the video of the memorial unveiling below:

k9memorial-video

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Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: ,

Smart Grid Monitoring Q & A: The Power of Satellite

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Utility companies are constantly seeking new ways to improve field data reliability and availability, so it’s no surprise that satellite is becoming the smart grid technology of choice where accurate, real-time information is critical, especially from remote sites. We sat down with Reinaldo Burian, ORBCOMM’s Application Engineer for Smart Grid, to find out what’s driving the adoption of satellite M2M  technology for monitoring reclosers and other smart grid infrastructure…

Smart grid informationHow is ORBCOMM’s technology used in smart grid applications?
Our solutions are currently being deployed to remotely monitor and control reclosers and protection equipment used in smart grid applications, particularly in areas where cellular coverage may be limited or non-existent. In these cases, ORBCOMM’s solution monitors the status of equipment around the clock, making it possible for electricity distribution companies to keep a good handle of operations, with satellite used as primary or backup communications. Any time there is an issue with field equipment our systems alerts the control center. ORBCOMM’s solution supports two-way communications, so users can remotely trip or close a recloser, and ping the device to get information such as voltage, power factor, current and more.

What are some of the pain points that drive electric utilities to implement telematics solutions?
Communication failures between field equipment and the utility’s operational centers are the primary drivers. To minimize disruptions to the service, energy retailers must receive timely notifications when things like storms, high energy consumption and tensioning of the electrical system are detected. In these situations, a reliable connection with field equipment is critical. Cellular-based monitoring systems are prone to signal, saturation and coverage issues, as well as service interruptions in bad weather. That’s where satellite systems developed for mission-critical operations come into play.

smart grid monitoring devices

What are some of the benefits associated with using satellite telemetry systems in this industry?
Satellite-based monitoring solutions allow electricity distribution companies to ensure proper operation of equipment in areas with limited cellular coverage, as well as add redundancy to important sites in urban centers. For energy utilities, some of the benefits include improved maintenance and quality indices, better allocation of protective equipment and lower investment and operational costs—monthly costs for competitive solutions are significantly higher. For the end user, it means fewer and shorter service interruptions.

Who is the ideal customer for this technology?
Our solutions meet the needs of big and small energy companies. The system can be used to monitor and control a small number of sites and is also versatile enough to accommodate a large deployment. Companies can expand the number of controlled reclosers as needs evolve, whether with satellite as a backup or as the main communication mode.

smart grid telemetry devices

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

What other competitive technologies are currently used to support this application? What are the advantages of ORBCOMM’s technology over those solutions?

  • Radio technologies provide dedicated coverage with the use of transmission towers. Initial costs, however, are high as a comprehensive infrastructure is required as well as a specialized team for installation and maintenance. Coverage is also limited and does not extend outside of the infrastructure. There is also the likelihood that an issue in one radio can affect a large number of reclosers in the network.
  • Cellular-based technologies offer low-cost data transmission rates but are not reliable. Interruptions in the cellular network are often common due to traffic congestion, network instability and bad weather. Energy utilities can simply not leave mission-critical processes in the hands of a connection that “may” work most of the time.
  • Fiber optic is also an alternative but deployment costs are high. As with radio, it requires a complex infrastructure and specialized technicians. Once deployed, it becomes cumbersome and expensive to expand coverage.
  • Regular satellite technology is more expensive and requires more maintenance that a technology developed specifically for unmanned, mission-critical applications such as the control and monitoring of protection devices like reclosers. Traditional satellite also requires a specialized team for installation and maintenance.

ORBCOMM’s telematics systems do not require a complex infrastructure. Remote devices (terminals) are deployed to recloser sites as required—and the installation process is quite simple. These environmentally-sealed devices require no maintenance and can be configured and updated remotely over the air. Whether satellite or dual-mode (satellite-cellular), ORBCOMM’s terminals deliver uninterrupted, satellite connectivity around in the world. With this technology, energy companies have peace of mind knowing any issues in the grid will be reported and therefore addressed in a timely manner, regardless of location.

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Posted in 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 6. Networks Tagged with: , , , , ,

The Connected Ship: Remote Vessel Monitoring Improves Performance While Reducing Costs

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Smart tracking and monitoring devices can now be found in all kinds of industrial assets—heavy equipment, industrial machines, reefers, trailers, containers, and more. Gartner estimates 8.4 billion connected things are in use today, with the number expected to climb to 20 billion devices by 2020. Connected things have permeated every aspect of our lives, so it’s no surprise that commercial vessels, leisure crafts and workboats have joined the trend.

A remote satellite telematics and engine diagnostics system developed by The AST Group, one of our partners in the UK, allows operators to prevent catastrophic failures, improve vessel performance and fuel economy, reduce labor costs and optimize service schedules with around-the-clock monitoring of a vessel’s engine, generators and other critical components.

iRAMS (Intelligent Remote Asset Management System) automatically collects vessel data in near-real-time and sends it to a portal where users can access diagnostic and efficiency reports and configure the system to send alarms when irregularities are detected. Alerts include engine performance, fuel consumption, fuel burn rate, RPM, temperature, exhaust temperature, oil pressure, boost, throttle and driver behaviour, and more.

Here are some key benefits associated with deploying a remote vessel monitoring solution:

Maximize on-board resources

Processes that require human intervention, such as walkthroughs, inspections and data collection and entry, are automatically executed by iRAMS to reduce human error and ensure access to accurate data for efficient planning and problem-solving. iRAMS helps anticipate and resolve issues before they occur. It also minimizes manual processes, allowing fleet owners to use crews more efficiently and reduce the number of technical personnel on-board.

This is an example of iRAMS identifying a mechanical issue before it developed into an expensive breakdown. The system detected an engine boost anomaly and sent an SMS to the shore-side Operations Manager, who ordered the vessel to return to port. The turbo inducer wheel tips were shuttered and could have entered the turbo engine, causing damage that could have cost up to US$50,000.

Shuttered turbo inducer wheel tips detected by iRAMS

Shuttered turbo inducer wheel tips detected by iRAMS

Improve efficiencies and reduce operational costs Read more ›

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

Traceable, Foldable Containers Stacking Up the Benefits

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reefer container supply chainHolland Container Innovations is on a mission to tackle the wasteful cost and environmental impact of empty container transport with its 4FOLD foldable container. And ORBCOMM telematics are now an integral part of the solution…  

The humble ocean freight container has changed very little since it was first introduced over half a century ago. Of course, there have been design tweaks and improvements, new materials and locking mechanisms and all sorts of internal developments. But today’s ISO container still has roughly the same dimensions and outward appearance as it always did.

This unit load standardisation has of course revolutionised cargo transport and is arguably a major contributor to global trade as we know it today. But for all the benefits that the container delivers, there is one major drawback. When empty, it takes up (and contains) a lot of space. In fact, imbalances in trade flows mean that fresh air is possibly the single largest commodity being shipped around the world today. Given that a container occupies the same footprint whether it is empty or full, and needs pretty much the same underlying transport infrastructure to move it, empty container repositioning represents a massive cost – to the tune of USD 25 billion per annum on last count – and environmental impact.

traceable containersOver the decades, many companies have tried to address this issue in various ways. One such approach has been collapsible or foldable containers. Previous attempts have failed to gain traction for many reasons, including strength, lost components and folding/unfolding time. But that does not mean that the fundamental concept should be dismissed.

Since 2008, Holland Container Innovations, an initiative born out of Delft University of Technology, has patiently developed a folding container solution dubbed the 4FOLD, which is now being trialled and adopted by global, regional and specialist carriers and forwarders. ORBCOMM’s solar-powered telematics tracking devices and cloud portal are now an integral part of the 4FOLD solution, helping ensure optimal utilisation and ROI to drive adoption of this innovative technology…

Holland 4 Fold container

The 4FOLD container – which as the name implies, allows four empty units to be folded into the same footprint as one single standard 40ft high cube – is watertight and fulfils all the racking and stacking performance requirements of a conventional ISO container.

Read the full Case Study here

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Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: ,

Euroscan Parts & Services: Europe’s Reefer Monitoring ‘Problem Solvers’

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The opening of a brand new, purpose-built, headquarters in the Bavarian town of Kiefersfelden earlier this year marked an important milestone for Euroscan Parts & Services GmbH. Over the past two decades, the family-owned company has carved out a commanding role as the ‘go-to’ technical services expert for reefer truck OEMs, owners and operators deploying ORBCOMM’s Euroscan temperature monitors, recorders and sensors on transport fleets across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We sat down with company owners Michael and Heike Steinberger at the Transport Logistic 2017 show in Munich to find out more.

Q: When and why did Euroscan Parts & Services get started?

cold chain compliance solutionsHeike: The company was formed as a stand-alone business in 2009, but the journey really started in the early 1980s. That was when Michael decided to start up his own IT business from home – literally in his living room – alongside his regular work. The IT industry was really at a very early stage back then and Michael had become very interested in the potential of computer networks for business and understanding how to build them.

At the time, Michael and his cousin were working as service technicians and engineers with Frigoblock, a big name in truck transport refrigeration machines and still a main player in the business today. They started to see these Euroscan monitoring devices fitted to some of the reefer trucks they were servicing and wanted to find out more.

The rest, as they say, is history! A business was born to help users install and service their Euroscan monitors. We also started as a reseller for Euroscan. It was really a unique chance to combine Michael’s ground-up understanding of refrigeration mechanics, engineering and technology with his passion for computers and IT networks.

How has your business developed over the last 18 years and what are your main services today?

temperature recorder installationWell, we still act as a reseller. We install Euroscan devices. And we service them. So that’s the same. But today the scale of the business is much bigger. We started out with 3 people and today we have 13. We cover all of Germany and Austria, and also Switzerland, where we have a 100% owned daughter company.

In addition, we expanded our services to include service partner training. As we were going out to do work in lots of regional depots and service centres used by our clients, we started to think – wouldn’t it be great if the people here could do some of this work themselves and become our service partners?

While it’s still Euroscan Parts & Services people who do the initial installation and set-up, there is now a big network of service partners whose technicians are trained up by us to our quality standards so they can handle repair and servicing, including dealing with warranty issues and checking calibration of monitoring devices and sensors to ensure they comply with the law. We’ve trained up hundreds of technicians and when they pass our courses they also get certification from us.

Having a network of qualified service partners for these regular activities is beneficial for our customers, because there is more capacity to get the work done promptly and ensure no-one is waiting.

Edeka cold chain installationIt also frees us up to focus larger turnkey projects. Every year, we will have one to three of these big jobs, where we are called in either to install or upgrade Euroscan monitoring and recording systems on a whole fleet. These jobs can involve up to 300 trucks at a time. This year we are doing projects like this for a big international logistics company and also for the supermarket chain Edeka.

When we do a turnkey fleet installation, we will go in to consult to begin with. Then we will create a full project plan. And then we will oversee all the procurement, installation and testing. We love the challenge of these projects, because no two of them are ever exactly the same. So that means we have to keep on learning and progressing, which is really something we enjoy. We like to think of ourselves as the ‘problem solvers’ and these projects keep us on our toes.

You mentioned that you have special projects this year for a big logistics company and a retailer. Can you give us more of an idea about your customer base?

We think there is no food company in Germany of any notable size that doesn’t work with us today. We’re also involved on the pharmaceutical side. So, our customer base goes across all the big OEM refrigerated truck and trailer builders, to the transport and logistics companies, to the supermarket chains that run their own fleets, to the food brands and food service chains, to pharmaceutical distributors and live/breeding stock transport. It’s a very wide range and that allows us to see the issues from all sides.

Tell us about your new facility.

We were simply outgrowing the old site so, about three years ago, we started looking for some land where we could build a brand new facility designed especially for our needs. We bought a plot in Kiefersfelden, the same town where we were already based (and live!)

Kiefersfelden is part of the Rosenheim district of Bavaria in southern Germany and it’s very well connected, both by road and rail. The main rail line linking Germany with Italy runs close by our site, and it’s just a short distance to a major highway.

We moved in this February and are delighted with our new offices. We’ve designed a ‘barrier free building’ so it is easy to move large pieces of equipment through the facility when we need to. And we have a purpose-designed seminar room fitted with the latest training technology.

What does the future hold?

temperature recordersOver the years, we simply grew with the need, and we are still doing so! In the near future, we will be developing our training programme to cover verification and certification for GDP compliance. That’s the new EU rules governing pharma supply chain and logistics, including requirement for temperature control and validation. Some of our service partners are already trained to calibrate temperature recorders for GDP compliance. The GDP rules are very complex and we think there is a growth market here, to help people understand and interpret the laws and ensure they are fully compliant.

We’ve also recently expanded our business to provide IT security solutions for high value transport, like cigarettes for example.

Now that ORBCOMM is introducing its container and intermodal equipment telematics into Europe, we also think this could be an exciting new market, offering us the chance to grow alongside ORBCOMM just like we have done with Euroscan.

EUroscan Parts & Services Team

The Euroscan Parts & Services Team

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

RFID As a Service: Core vs. Context

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rfid tagging

Is the ownership/management/expertise of RFID tags, hardware, associated middleware, and application software core to your company, or is the resulting insight into business operations and decision support that the ensuing location and timely data core to how you run your business?

Looking at a RFID as a Service (RaaS) model through the lens of a business’ core and context activities, we can start to identify how and where RaaS can potentially increase productivity and efficiencies.

In his book, Living On The Fault Line, Geoffrey A. Moore makes the case that companies should solely focus on core activities and outsource all other activities.

“For core activities, the goal is to differentiate as much as possible on any variable that impacts customers’ purchase decisions and to assign one’s best resources to that challenge. By contrast, every other activity in the corporation is not core it is context. And the winning approach to context tasks is not to differentiate but rather to execute them effectively and efficiently in as standardized a manner as possible.”

In addition Moore states, “There is no context task that cannot become someone else’s core task.” To the question of why other people can do a better job at a company’s context tasks, Moore’s answer is simple and concise: “this is where they are putting their A team. It’s context to you but is core to them.

Let’s apply this model to RaaS — the underlying message in Moore’s definition for software applications is companies can become much more efficient and effective if they focus their internal software deployment on core tasks only, and outsource context software tasks to vendors that specialize in these particular areas. This has tremendous impact to understanding the dynamic between on-premise software and RaaS applications.

The RaaS model outsources the complexity of generating and maintaining RFID and sensor hardware and software, while owning and exercising full control over information the system generates, providing the ability to increase performance of core business activities.

To better understand the relevance of Moore’s insight and how it relates to RaaS, let’s consider the primary components of a RaaS solution and where they fall into the context vs. core paradigm… Read more ›

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

IoT Data Providing the Smarts for the Digital Ports and Terminals of the Future

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reefer container supply chainTechnology to track containers, cargo and transport assets on the move has been around a long time in various guises, but today is part of an explosive global trend towards Machine-to-Machine (M2M) telematics devices and sensors, as part of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT).

All over the world, we are seeing port authorities looking at how to get ‘smarter’, using digital technologies to help them optimize traffic flows, deal with bigger cargo peaks and congestion risks resulting from larger ships, and maximize infrastructure utilization.

Ports are very complex organisms, with many different interests and activities to juggle on the waterside and landside, and a huge amount of information that needs to change hands between various supply chain members and government entities as goods pass through.

Live data provided by IoT and M2M applications is increasingly seen as a prerequisite for the ‘digital port of the future’. Real-time visibility drives optimization, by providing insight on what is happening versus what was planned, and allowing smart decisions to be made as a result. Data generated IoT and M2M applications can be shared, used and analyzed in new ways among multiple stakeholders in the port community. We will undoubtedly see many more examples of connectivity in the future, ranging from telematics on trucks, trailers, chassis, gensets and containers, to devices on cranes and other handling equipment.

Live data provided by M2M and IoT applications is increasingly seen as a prerequisite for the ‘digital port of the future’.

Live data provided by M2M and IoT applications is increasingly seen as a prerequisite for the ‘digital port of the future’.

“Intelligent equipment” is a current focus for global container terminal operators such as APM Terminals, which is looking at how it can use new IoT and sensor technologies to get much better insight into the location, status, performance and safety of their very large asset bases. Read more ›

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Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS, 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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