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Know the Score: Consistent Wins for Ron Finemore Transport with ORBCOMM

You can’t win the game if you don’t know the score. That’s a motto that Ron Finemore Transport works by. ORBCOMM’s telematics solutions have been key to helping Ron Finemore Transport win the game through driver scorecards, vehicle utilization, maintenance planning and the ability to access and integrate data from all parts of their business.


The business

Serving Australia’s east coast, family-owned Ron Finemore Transport has a fleet of approximately 260 prime movers and 500+ trailers, and operates seven days a week. The business runs strategic logistics hubs in cities including Wodonga, Wagga, Orange and Goulburn to service their customers in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide efficiently and effectively every day.

The Ron Finemore Transport business is principally in the transport of food and retail products from manufacturers to distribution centres and from distribution centres to stores. They also transport petroleum-based products from refineries and storage facilities to service stations and fuel depots. As one of the safest and most reliable fleets in Australia, Ron Finemore Transport looks to ORBCOMM to maintain its stellar record in fleet safety, customer service and fuel economy and use of data.

Darren Wood, General Manager of Technology and Innovation

The challenges

Before they chose ORBCOMM, Ron Finemore Transport had a number of aims. They wanted to access data from their fleet and use it to enhance operational efficiencies, reduce the cost of fuel through more efficient driving styles, use driver scorecards to ensure safety and reduce the financial burden of refrigerated load claims. They also wanted to use data from the telematics platform to provide insight into key metrics within the businesses’ operations.

With a fleet of 700+ assets transporting goods across nearly the entire east coast of Australia, it needed a full end-to-end solution of robust hardware, and intuitive and in-depth software, along with some time to work on bringing in some changes.

General Manager of Technology and Innovation, Darren Wood says he was impressed with the level of data available through the ORBCOMM system and the difference it could make in their fleet. Wood says there were three key reasons for using ORBCOMM’s solutions. “The driver performance scoring (tool) was second to none at the time and we still believe it’s the best in the market. Two, vehicle performance scoring has provided and continues to provide valuable insight into the type of equipment we should purchase for different contracts in our business. The third part was the ability to access the data and then use that data to integrate into other parts of our business.”

The solution

Ron Finemore Transport has worked with ORBCOMM’s telematics solution since 2014 to deliver its fleet’s driver safety and drive scorecard reporting, operational efficiency and excellent customer service.

As a long-term customer, Ron Finemore Transport sees ORBCOMM touching nearly every corner of the business. Wood says, “everything we’re doing is focused on providing insight into driver performance and driving style, fleet performance and efficiency, and ultimately getting the data out of the system or using the system-generated reports to understand our key business metrics.”

The volume, speed and accuracy of data flowing through the system is vital for the company’s successful operations. “You can’t win the game if you don’t know the score. We always refer to that sort of analogy when we talk about any part of the business. If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” says Wood.

ORBCOMM’s technology stack is intrinsically linked with the smooth running of the Ron Finemore Transport fleet:

BT 500 powers ORBCOMM’s truck management device, providing complete visibility, live combination weight monitoring and management of drivers, vehicles and displays.

BT 320 is an advanced temperature monitoring device for refrigerated trucks and trailers, with two-way reefer control, maintenance scheduling, temperature compliance data and EBS connectivity for weight, odometer and fault code data.

BT 120 is a reliable, accurate dry trailer tracking device with robust external door sensors, real time alerts and EBS connectivity for weight, odometer and fault code data.

The results

Better safety and fuel economy by improving driving habits

Driver behaviour means different things to different companies. For a driver-first business like Ron Finemore Transport, safety is the number one concern. Monitoring performance scores helps to contribute to the safety of the fleet by identifying and helping to correct at-risk driving behaviours. Having an up-to-date weekly scoreboard for each driver builds a continuous improvement environment.

By monitoring driving in the truck, the system produces a score for each driver and each trip. ORBCOMM’s system monitors drivers in 26 categories like harsh braking, harsh acceleration, speeding and use of cruise control.

ORBCOMM’s Unique Anticipation Feature Anticipation measures the time taken before the brake is pressed after a driver lifts their foot off the accelerator. Each of these events is banded together and analyzed. The data is then compiled to deliver an Anticipation score. A lower Anticipation score is better as it suggests that the truck driver is anticipating the road ahead.

Better fuel burn is a natural outcome of monitoring and coaching drivers through driver scorecards. Ron Finemore Transport focuses on the management of fuel cost by reviewing and acting on driver scorecard information. Wood says, “the key thing for us is management of fuel economy. It’s still the largest cost in our business by far, after wages. Anything we can do to improve the driver fuel efficiency is where we focus our attention. All the other benefits that come from that are natural. So, if you can improve a driver’s focus on touching the brake, or looking ahead, anticipating what’s next and using cruise control, then naturally you get a fuel benefit and improved safety.” The data derived from driver performance scoring opens a dialog with drivers, Wood says.

“The KPIs from a driver performance scoring perspective are fuel burn, anticipation and brake applications. These three things combined, when interpreted in the right way, give our driver trainers the opportunity to have sensible discussions with drivers about their driving style and opportunities to improve.”

Darren Wood, General Manager of Technology and Innovation at Ron Finemore Transport

Using fuel burn data to inform equipment specification

As part of its continuing objective of streamlining operations, Ron Finemore Transport has put a strong focus on understanding its fuel burn per vehicle to inform its truck specifications. Initially, the company compared like-for-like trucks in Australia and Europe and found the fuel efficiency significantly differed. By using the fuel burn data in tandem with other system data, Wood says, “We attempted to reconcile the difference (between the costs of running our Australian truck fleet and those used in Europe).

Maintaining maximum uptime

With a range of vehicles in a high-utilisation fleet, it’s important to Ron Finemore Transport to maximise its uptime to deliver a safe and reliable service for customers. ORBCOMM’s maintenance management feature maximizes the uptime of vehicles and eliminates over-or under-scheduled maintenance. If a driver notices an issue, and something goes wrong, then the maintenance team is also prepared. Vehicle uptime is managed with programmes that monitor real-time logs, diagnostic data, alerts, and fault codes.

“I think it’s fair to say there were lots of spreadsheets before. Now that we keep maintenance up to date in the ORBCOMM system, we schedule reports to our operations teams on a daily and weekly basis. We’re getting information; we’re servicing our equipment on time and we’ve cut out a whole heap of waste associated with spreadsheets,” says Wood.

The right vehicle for the right job with vehicle performance scoring

One of the unique elements that Ron Finemore Transport has taken from using the ORBCOMM solution is the insight into using the right asset for the right job. Wood says vehicle performance scoring has been delivering a far better understanding of their fleet. “It has provided and continues to provide valuable insight into what type of equipment we should purchase for different contracts within our business.”

In accessing deep vehicle analytics, the company has been able to refine its fleet specifications to fit their business objectives. Wood says they can now access data that was inaccessible before using ORBCOMM’s solutions. The company mixes it with other data from its transportation management system (TMS) to “gain valuable insight into how different vehicles operate, and how best to get maximum performance out of them.”

Helping Ron Finemore Transport to keep its cool

Transporting food products is not without its challenges. Products need to be kept at specific temperatures throughout the journeys. By implementing ORBCOMM’s temperature tracking and reporting, Ron Finemore Transport was able to substantially reduce the cost of claims. “We had claims in excess of half a million dollars per year. We believed we hadn’t done anything wrong, but because we didn’t have the evidence to support it, we ended up paying. The year after we implemented BT 300s into the business and started tracking the temperatures in real-time, we had minimised our overall claims cost.”

This, says Wood, was also a key element in growing their business. “In the Australian market at that time, we were one of the only companies in the country tracking temperatures in real time. It gave us an advantage over our competitors. It allowed us to build our refrigeration business from where it was back then to what it is today. What we do, we do extremely well, and we can validate our cargo temperatures instantly, which is great peace of mind for our customers.”

Opening a world of data

The ability to use the data has made a significant difference to the business. The volume and depth of data available through ORBCOMM’s systems has opened new avenues for Ron Finemore Transport, “we pull a mountain of data out of the system using the API and feed it into our data warehouse to interrogate and use,” says Wood.

Data is at the heart of operations in Ron Finemore Transport and is in the arteries running through every part of the business. “We use a whole plethora of daily and weekly reporting out of the system for management of our fleet. We use workshop modules to capture service intervals. We have scheduled reports that come out on a daily basis for our operations team.”

As well as historical reporting, Wood says Ron Finemore Transport relies on real-time systems management. “As much as possible we try to report in real time in all of our systems. We therefore rely on data coming out of our API into our data warehouse. We interrogate that data using robots and other tools to determine departure and arrival times.”

“Our fallback position is always reporting out of ORBCOMM in the instance where we need to validate information. This provides real-time status updates for every shipment in our business. We now use that data to marry against the trip information in the TMS, to determine arrival and departure times at each of our stops. Then we use robotic process automation to update our TMS using ORBCOMM data. Getting that data in real time for us is critical and feeds through then to many of our other systems.”

The future

In addition to meeting their requirements today, Ron Finemore Transport has big plans in store for its fleet and the ORBCOMM team is looking forward to being part of it.

The ORBCOMM team is working closely with Ron Finemore Transport in developing an electronic work diary (EWD). An EWD system monitors and records work and rest times of drivers. “That will allow us to implement a fatigue management regime that is more flexible for our drivers and will give them a better outcome at the end of the day.”

And, of course, there is a focus on using data in new and exciting ways. Electronic Braking System (EBS) module trailer information is one area of focus. EBS Trailer Weight monitoring monitors load and unload events, maximum vehicle weights and alerts to overweight events and this is providing new focus in the company. “More recently we’ve been exploring EBS information and where that’s applicable in our business. We’re getting great insight into payloads on our equipment, which helps us better understand the fuel burn.” says Wood.

Many like Ron Finemore Transport have been able to leverage data to “keep score” on their fleet operations. To learn more about the value of driver performance scoring, schedule a demo with our team today.


Posted in 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , ,

Smart Grid Monitoring Systems: Connecting Utilities with Satellite IoT (FAQ)

aerial photography of city during night time
smart grid monitoring webinar

Energy management is evolving with utility companies adopting a smart grid monitoring system powered by IoT and satellite connectivity as a way to meet new logistical demands effectively and reliably. 

In March, ORBCOMM held “Connecting the Smart Grid with Satellite IoT”, a free webinar which covered what smart grids are, why so many utility companies are leveraging satellite connectivity, some of our customers’ successes and more. From that session, we received some great questions about our satellite IoT solution that we’d like to share today… 

How many years has this smart grid monitoring system been used in the electricity market? 

ORBCOMM satellite terminals helped Brazilian energy company CERFOX quickly recover from a cyclone that collapsed their energy grid.

Our satellite IoT solution for smart grids has been used in the electricity market for 6 years, with over 4000 successful installs. 

In what regions is this solution available? 

Smart grid information

Due to the global availability of our satellite networks, this solution can be deployed worldwide. Our solution is certified for use in many countries, and is designed to operate in any condition, regardless of weather, temperature, dust, humidity and more. 

What type of satellite constellation is used? 

The satellite constellation that provides connectivity to the solution uses geostationary satellites. These satellites always remain at a fixed point above the earth. This enables reduced latency, because the terminal does not have to wait for a satellite to pass overhead. 

What level of reliability can be achieved with this solution? 

This solution can achieve 99.9% uptime in any weather conditions. 

What sort of cybersecurity is used to prevent hacks or the interception of traffic?  

Our satellite network is a private network, not accessible by the public. Using a private network allows us to achieve the highest level of network security, preventing intrusions. 

Are there any concerns with signal interference when locating the device so close to high voltage power transformers/lines? 

We have installed over 4000 devices in various configurations and supporting a variety of use cases, and we have not seen any direct impact of signal interference on the performance of the solution. Our performance tests have not shown any effect of electromagnetic interference on the devices. 

What sort of terminals are available for this solution? 

ST 6100

We offer two different types of terminals to support this solution. The first is the ST 6100, a programmable satellite terminal with two-way connectivity and SCADA integration. The second is the ST 9100, which is like the ST 6100 but contains both a satellite and cellular antenna in the same enclosure, allowing dual-mode connectivity with a single device. 

How is power supplied to the terminal? How much power does it use? 

Power is supplied to the terminal using anywhere from 9 V to 32 V DC. The minimum power consumption varies based on voltage, but for 12 V, it is between 20mA and 600mA. 

Once a device is installed in the field, how can it be managed and updated? 

The device can be managed and updated remotely. Both terminals have over-the-air (OTA) updates for both software and firmware. This allows remote firmware upgrades, the loading of applications to the device and remote reset. Once the device is installed, maintenance crews will never have to physically access the terminal to update it. 

Is the solution immune to jamming? How can the terminal be protected from these types of attacks? 

black metal tower under blue sky

One of the vulnerabilities of cellular technology is jamming, which blocks the device’s signal and prevents it from communicating on the network. Satellite solutions do not present the same vulnerability. Additionally, our devices have built-in GPS jamming protection to ensure the device can be located. Dual mode satellite and cellular solutions can also fall back to the satellite network if cellular is unavailable. These features together provide maximum availability of the communication channel, regardless of location or weather conditions. 

What kind of equipment could be integrated with this solution? 

This solution can operate with nearly any electrical equipment, including reclosers, voltage regulators, capacitor banks, fault indicators, self-healing grids, switches and more. Smart meters can be integrated, though for small consumers they need to be integrated with a low power network like LoRa. For larger electricity consumers, like hospitals, factories and stadiums, smart meter integration is key to managing usage. 

What kind of protocols are available? 

The solution works with the following protocols:

  • DNP3.0
  • Modbus
  • DLMS/COSEM
  • IEC 101
  • IEC 104
  • IEC 61850

How is SCADA connected to cloud middleware? 

SCADA can be connected to cloud middleware for this solution by socket port, DMZ or VPN. 

We hope this blog has answered some of the questions you had about our smart grid monitoring solution. Check out this free white paper to learn more about our satellite IoT solution for smart grid monitoring and control, recognized by Compass Research for helping energy companies improve electricity distribution and prevent outages 

If you have any questions that weren’t covered above, send us an email at info@orbcomm.com and we’d be happy to help you. 

Posted in 5. Natural Resources, 6. IoT Trends, 7. Connectivity Tagged with: , , , , ,

Fishing Vessel Monitoring System Aids Thai Maritime Authorities

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has the potential to damage the marine environment and put fishermen’s lives at risk. We talk to ETNECA in Thailand to find out how ORBCOMM’s vessel monitoring system is being used to promote responsible and sustainable fisheries management, protect the marine environment and improve maritime security while ensuring regulatory compliance.

The customer challenge

Marine fisheries are an important sector for the economic livelihood of the people of Thailand. However, the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry has been threatened due to unrestricted access to fishing grounds and unauthorized fishing inside and outside of Thai waters.

vessel tracking with satellite

In 2015, new regulations were introduced to address those issues. A national plan of action was set up to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), to achieve a sustainable and environmentally friendly fishery and seafood industry. One key measure was that all commercial fishing vessels greater than 30 gross tonnage (GT) would be required to install a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). Implementation was undertaken by the Thai Department of Fisheries (DoF) and the Royal Thai Navy, the government authorities responsible for regulating and controlling fisheries resources, sustaining the marine environment and enhancing the safety of fisherman at sea.

To comply with the regulations, the Thai command center for combating illegal fishing and Thai government required a centralized VMS that would be easy to use and install. In addition, it needed to meet some specific requirements:

• Enhance maritime safety and guidance rescue operations.
• Transmit the routes taken as well as the fishing zone(s) in which vessels operate.
• Collect data that can be used in the event of a vessel crossing into restricted zones.
• Monitor access to restricted zones like oil rigs and ecological zones such as coral reefs.

This is where fisheries vessel monitoring systems come into play…


The solution: ETNECA’s Fishing Vessel Monitoring System

ETNECA is Thailand’s leading service provider of maritime satellite communications. Established in 2012, it develops data transmission and marine communication services, delivering vessel tracking, marine data transmission, marine traffic monitoring and electronic fishing industry protection services throughout Thailand and Myanmar. It is one of ORBCOMM’s key solution providers in the region.

Starting in 2014, ETNECA turned to ORBCOMM to create a VMS solution for Thailand. Working with ORBCOMM’s two-way global IsatData Pro (IDP) satellite technology, ETNECA deployed ORBCOMM’s IDP-690, and later the ST 6100 – satellite terminals designed to provide full visibility of fishing operations and access vessel data including real-time position, course and speed as well as catch report—regardless of vessel location.

Chatri Petchor, Overseas Manager of ETNECA, says that ETNECA had been involved in developing marine data transmission and traffic monitoring systems for the Thai navy since 2012 before the Thai VMS was implemented. “There were about 10 or 12 providers who were looking for approval at that time,” Petchor says. “We were lucky at the time of implementation that we could use ORBCOMM to help us challenge for the Thai approval as a service provider. Today, we have the biggest market share in Thai VMS”.

ORBCOMM’s ST 6100 satellite terminal delivers complete visibility and control of assets operating at sea. Vessels stay connected with the always-on, two-way satellite connectivity over the Inmarsat IDP service. The environmentally-sealed ST 6100 provides all of the ruggedness required on fishing vessels and its programmable terminal, advanced configurable apps and scripts ensures it is suitable for a wide range of maritime applications.

ETNECA uses the platform to record fishing activities and report them to fishing authorities. The Thai FMC use the system to understand the exact location of the fishing vessels once they leave port and throughout the fishing zone. Real-time monitoring is enabled through alerts and notifications. Vessel activity can also be analyzed with reports including vessel sailing routes, fishing zones and restricted zones–which can be combined with other data sources to prevent illegal fishing.

“The primary requirement is mostly to know where the fishing vessel is located when they are going out fishing. The basic VMS data is sent from the terminal to the authorities,” says Petchor.

ETNECA’s VMS tracks location, sailing route, speed, heading, longitude, time and date. In recent times, vessels have to send more data back to the FMC. “When you are leaving the port, you have to report that. When you are at the fishing area, you start fishing, you throw a net in the water – you send data back to the authority. When you return to port, you have to click the button again to send the data to the center, to know that you are on the way back to the shore,” Petchor says. “Secondly, the authorities can use geofencing to monitor the environmental side. When fishing vessels go to catch fish near restricted areas, it is too dangerous to get nearby. If vessels get caught crossing the geofence, they will get a warning. The fisheries department can send their case to the justice department and they may be fined for that.”

The full programmability of the ST 6100 terminal also provided ETNECA with the ability to address other maritime applications. E-Chat, a communications solution for those spending much of their time at sea, was developed by ETNECA to overcome the limitations of other onboard devices such as satellite telephone, cellular mobile phone and radio communications devices by sending short messages via IDP. Chatri Petchor says, “We like the IDP very much, because we were able to modify and develop our own chat application to use a very minimized data usage for fisherman to communicate back to their families.”

Authorities are also using the system to monitor for human trafficking. By looking for suspicious behavior of vessels, Petchor says that the real-time data can provoke questions like “why are these two vessels too close to each other in a place that they shouldn’t be?” Early interventions are made possible if authorities suspect the occurrence of human trafficking.

The outcome

By making the installation of a VMS mandatory by law, the Thai Department of Fisheries has been able to monitor and control fishing vessel movements. Combined with other initiatives, the control of the number of fishing vessels allowed out of port has reduced unregulated fishing activities in Thailand. To date, the Thai fishing vessel fleet has become significantly more compliant than before the fishing vessel monitoring system was introduced.

ETNECA has played a significant role. Now monitoring more than 3,500 vessels, it has the largest market share of fishing vessel monitoring systems in the region. ETNECA also now works with authorities in Myanmar. Petchor puts the success down to several factors. “The devices and service from ORBCOMM are very stable and reliable. They are highly programmable and configurable, which allows ETNECA to build a customized solution for delivering to fishermen to meet the Thai VMS requirements. Also, the price—including data rates and supporting services from ORBCOMM—is cost-effective for the fishermen to handle in the Thai market.”

Future applications could include helping fishermen in vessels to use an electronic logbook instead of manually filling it. Petchor says that, “This will be required soon. We don’t know how often they have to report the logbook, but assuming it’s every 24 hours, that’s going to be much more in use on each vessel.” He also says that the VMS program could be extended to vessels under 30 GT. “The next program will be anything below 30 GT, which I think is going to happen this year.”

At ORBCOMM, we are dedicated to helping enable compliant and sustainable fisheries management, as well as improving the data for scientific fisheries research. If you’re interested in learning more about vessel tracking systems, and how we can simplify your VMS development, get in touch with our team today at info@orbcomm.com.

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS, 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , , ,

Dark Vessel Detection Enhances AIS Data to Protect our Oceans and Improve Maritime Safety

“Dark” vessel activity is becoming an increasingly common practice, where vessels turn off their AIS transponders or cooperative beacons to engage in illegal activities and evade authorities. As such, dark vessel detection has become increasingly important to pinpoint vessels that are up to nefarious activities, such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing among other maritime safety and security concerns.

While bad intentioned vessel crews may think they can go undetected, if they still have their S-Band or X-Band marine radar on, satellite Radio Frequency (RF) can be used to enhance existing AIS services and enable reliable detection from space.

Satellite AIS White PaperWe at ORBCOMM are very excited to announce our partnership with UnseenLabs to distribute their space-based RF detection technology via ORBCOMM’s global maritime AIS data services channels.

In addition to detecting IUU fishing, UnseenLabs’ dedicated, state-of-the art satellite constellation can assist in many maritime security related applications, including trade sanctions compliance, counter piracy and human/drug trafficking just to name a few. Using its proprietary, on-board RF technology based on the identification of electromagnetic waves emitted by ships, UnseenLabs is able to geolocate any vessel at sea from space, in near-real time and regardless of weather conditions to within a kilometer, from a single nanosatellite.

dark vessel detection via satellite RF technology
UnseenLabs is able to geolocate any vessel at sea from space, in near-real time and regardless of weather conditions to within a kilometer, from a single nanosatellite.

With the advent of this commercially available RF detection technology, it is now more difficult for bad actors to hide themselves in the high seas or even among the high-density areas of the world, such as the South China Sea, where the large volume of AIS transmissions and VHF interferers can make satellite AIS detection more challenging.

ORBCOMM remains committed to supporting these maritime domain awareness missions by providing the widest sourced AIS data set and seeking any other alternative data services, such as RF, which can assist in illuminating activity on our oceans and waterways. We look forward to working with UnseenLabs to bring this innovative technology to our maritime partners and customers.

To learn more, read the full announcement, or email us at info@orbcomm.com

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS, 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , ,

Important Canadian ELD Update: One-year Progressive Enforcement Plan Approved

On May 5, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) announced that all Canadian provinces and territories have reached an agreement on a progressive enforcement plan for the Canadian ELD mandate. The plan stipulates that the provinces and territories will not impose penalties for the first 12 months after the introduction of the Canadian ELD mandate on June 12, 2021.  

Canadian ELD Update webinar

Although the primary reason for this decision, according to CCMTA, is the impact of COVID-19, there are other factors that have led to the decision on progressive enforcement: 

  • There are currently no certified ELDs, one month prior to the original enforcement date. 
  • There is only one Transport Canada-approved certifying body, creating a certification backlog. 
  • The testing procedure is going through changes and refinements while ELDs are being tested, slowing down testing and forcing repeat testing in some cases. 
  • Regular communications between Transport Canada, the trucking industry and enforcement partners (provinces and territories) have not been forthcoming, creating uncertainty for all parties. 

ORBCOMM remains committed to providing a certified Canadian ELD and continues to follow all the steps and guidance to achieve that goal. Here is what we are doing in response to the progressive enforcement plan: 

  • We remain committed to completing certification by June 12, 2021, while recognizing that this could be impacted by further changes from Transport Canada. 
  • We are working with the industry and enforcement partners to confirm any further details related to the progressive enforcement plan. 
  • We will continue to provide updates over the coming weeks as more information trickles in. 

For answers to other common questions about the Canadian ELD mandate, watch the replay of our latest webinar at https://www2.orbcomm.com/eld-canada-update.  

If you have more specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at eld@orbcomm.com.  

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

Satellite AIS: A Digital Revolution at Sea (Video Q&A)

Since its inception in the early 1990s, AIS (Automatic Identification System) data has played a vital role in digitizing maritime industries and there is no sign of it slowing down. Over the years, Satellite AIS technology has continued to evolve as an accurate, reliable and rich source of information with a widening array of unique use cases. Today, AIS data helps address the many challenges that face maritime industries, including vessel tracking, national security, search and rescue operations, illegal fishing, environmental impacts and piracy.

Satellite AIS White Paper

To better understand Satellite AIS and the benefits of smart technology for maritime operations, Namrata Nadkarni, Founder and CEO at Intent Communications, sat down with Andrew Loretta, Senior Director, Maritime Business Development at ORBCOMM to walk through the importance of this technology, its impact on maritime industries, unique use cases, ORBCOMM’s contributions and more.

ORBCOMM has operated AIS-enabled satellites for nearly a dozen years now. Tell us a little bit about Satellite AIS and how ORBCOMM has been involved in its development.

ORBCOMM’s involvement with Satellite AIS started at the very beginning of its development when the US government engaged with us to determine if broadcasted messages from vessels could be collected using satellites in space so they could be tracked for homeland security purposes. ORBCOMM was awarded a contract from the US Coast Guard in 2004 and we launched our first commercial AIS satellites in 2008. Since then, we have expanded our AIS data service to include terrestrial AIS and we are working towards the launch of our fourth generation of AIS satellites this year in 2021.

Satellite AIS has been called a ‘game changer’ for a wide range of applications. What are those applications and how would you describe Satellite AIS’s impact on each of them?

Satellite AIS is a game changer for several reasons, starting with the fact that it completely revolutionizes what we know about vessels operating in the middle of the ocean, from the moment they leave port to when they arrive at their destination. Information that had never been attainable before, such as what route the vessel took, did it stop anywhere and anything else it might have done along the way is all readily available.

For maritime safety and security, Satellite AIS data enables much more responsive rescue operations for vessels that were in trouble at sea. Unlawful activity like illegal fishing and environmental disasters such as oil spills have become highly visible, and counter piracy operations and trade sanctions are easily managed. From a commercial perspective, Satellite AIS helps shippers better track their goods, allows vessel owners to keep better tabs on their own ships and those of their competitors, and enables commodity traders to better understand where the market demand currently is.

What are some of the use cases we see now for Satellite AIS that may not have been initially anticipated when the technology was first deployed?

Several unique, unanticipated use cases for Satellite AIS technology have come up over the years. One application that has been developed recently is the use of Satellite AIS to track and reduce carbon emissions from vessels by correlating vessel location data with where carbon emissions have been seen. Another application helps increase supply chain visibility by pairing shipping info, such as a bill of lading, with AIS data to determine shipping ETAs.

Satellite AIS has also recently been paired with other IoT technology that has been accelerating in recent years, such as machine learning and AI, to transcend current applications. With the help of predictive analytics, vessel activity is not only visible in real-time, but can be predicted ahead of time based on where the vessel has been, significantly improving the way regulatory authorities manage illegal fishing operations, trade sanctions and compliance.

Satellite AIS technology has a bright future in the maritime industry and ORBCOMM is committed to helping bring the benefits of its many use cases to our customers. Our industry-leading AIS data service delivers the most complete picture of global vessel activity such as location, identification and other critical data to enable shippers, authorities and government bodies around the world with valuable insights that assist in the tracking of maritime operations and regulations.

To view the full Q&A,visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqbyJBAG5T0

For more information on our AIS data services, visit https://www2.orbcomm.com/ais-data

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

Canadian ELD Update: What You Need to Know as the Deadline Looms

Canadian ELD UpdateFree Live Webinar Hosted by Today’s Trucking
Canadian ELD Update: What You Need to Know as the Deadline Looms
Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 1:00 PM EDT

The landscape around the Canadian ELD mandate is changing quickly. Even if you’ve attended a previous session on Canadian ELD, you’ll want to tune in to find out the very latest news and what it all means for your fleet.

Join our experts for this informative and engaging webinar, as we explore:

  • Recent changes and what new information you need before the upcoming Canadian ELD mandate
  • What to make of Transport Canada’s recent announcements and how to ensure your fleet is ready when enforcement begins
  • The timeline and rollout plan for Transport Canada’s enforcement of the mandate
Register Now

Who Should Attend?
This webinar is a must attend for Owners; CEOs; COOs; operations, safety officers, compliance officers, driver trainers, fleet managers, dispatch supervisors, device maintenance managers, IT project managers, human resources personnel, and anyone involved in fleet safety and compliance.

Moderated by: Joe Glionna, President, Newcom Media

Speaker:

Scott StoferScott Stofer
Director of Safety and Legal Compliance, ORBCOMM
Scott is responsible for the product lifecycle of fleet safety solutions, as well as ELD mandate and hours-of-service compliance for the US and Canada. Scott has over 10 years of IoT and Telematics experience, including web and mobile software development, as well as the design and deployment of wireless networks for data collection. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

More Canadian ELD Resources

Be sure to also consult the following resources designed to help your fleet prepare for the Canadian ELD deadline:

The Definitive Canadian ELD Deadline Transition Guide

The Canadian ELD Mandate FAQ – Penalties, Deadlines & Certification

Webinar Replay: What Canadian ELD Means for Regional and Cross-Border Fleets

To equip your fleet with a trusted Canadian ELD solution, request a quote today or email eld@orbcomm.com.

Posted in 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , , ,

Breaking Canadian ELD News: Update on Progressive Enforcement

Today, we’re bringing you an important update on the Canadian ELD mandate. 

Canadian ELD webinar

As part of the communication between ORBCOMM and Transport Canada, we received confirmation that Transport Canada is further refining the Progressive Enforcement policy that was announced by the Minister of Transportation on March 2nd. Transport Canada has confirmed to ORBCOMM that there will be no penalties issued during the initial Education and Awareness phase, which begins on June 12. This penalty-free period is estimated to last three months from the June 12 deadline. This will apply to both Canadian-domiciled and U.S. cross-border drivers. 

While drivers and carriers will not be penalized for lack of a certified ELD during the 1st phase, they must continue to maintain accurate Records of Duty Status (RODS). ORBCOMM’s Hours of Service and ELD systems provide accurate RODS today for both Canada and the U.S. and will continue to do so seamlessly through the Canadian ELD transition. 

ORBCOMM remains committed to offering the highest level of safety and compliance, including providing a certified Canadian ELD solution to meet the June 12 deadline. We welcome the progressive enforcement approach, which will provide drivers and carriers adequate time to successfully make the transition to the ELD standard. 

Transport Canada has reinforced the importance of outfitting vehicles with certified ELDs “as soon as reasonably possible.” Because this progressive enforcement period has not been legislated and could therefore be modified at any time, we strongly encourage fleets to ensure they have certified devices ahead of June 12. The Education and Awareness phase can be used as a time for drivers to familiarize themselves with the new processes before true enforcement begins. 

For more on this and other updates surrounding the Canadian ELD mandate, please join us for a Live Webinar with Today’s Trucking on April 21. We will provide valuable information and insights to help you ensure readiness for this mandate:

Canadian ELD Update: What You Need to Know as the Deadline Looms
Live Webinar Co-Hosted with Today’s Trucking
April 21, 2021, 1PM EDT

Have any questions about Canadian ELD? You can ask me directly at eld@orbcomm.com

Posted in 1. Transportation, 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , ,

Suez Canal Incident Illuminates Critical Role of AIS Data in Making Informed Supply Chain Decisions

In recent days you have probably seen a lot of coverage on the Evergreen marine container vessel, Ever Given, getting stuck in the Suez Canal and holding up global trade as a result. One of the critical maritime shipping choke points in the world, the vessel became stuck in a channel of the Suez where traffic goes in both directions, so the Canal was completely shut down for nearly a week because of the accident.

AIS Data white paperSome experts have estimated that this hold-up cost $400 million an hour in global trade. There were reports of vessels in the canal queue that were carrying livestock with a limited supply of feed available on board, tankers delayed that were causing oil rationing in countries such as Syria and countless refrigerated containers with perishable goods on board other ships. Going around Africa from Europe to Asia adds seven days to a voyage, so many vessel operators were stuck trying to decide whether to go the long way around or hope the Ever Given would be dislodged in under that time while balancing the financial and logistics impacts.

Unfortunately, a traffic jam like this was probably inevitable. The good news is that thanks in part to technology like ORBCOMM’s satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) data services, global shipping companies and operators are more connected to their vessels than ever before. Nearly all large commercial vessels also have broadband satellite connectivity, so critical operational information, such as engine diagnostics or the status of the refrigeration units of the containers it is carrying, is being collected and sent off the vessel at sea to home offices on land. Vessel charters and routers have maritime IoT technology at their fingertips to re-route the vessels that were waiting at the canal or other vessels they may have been able to re-position from somewhere else. There is no understating the significant impact that the Ever Given has in shutting down the Suez Canal, but it would have been much worse if it had happened even twenty years ago when the use of AIS data was limited to ship- to-ship collision avoidance, and commercial satellite broadband was not widely available or affordable.

AIS view of Ever Given, courtesy of ORBCOMM AIS partner Oceaneering

ORBCOMM launched the first commercial AIS satellites over a decade ago, and our industry-leading containers and ports solutions provide remote, refrigerated, multi-modal container systems to hundreds of thousands of containers globally. ORBCOMM is focused on continuing to illuminate the dark areas of the supply chain by developing and deploying the latest advancements in IoT technology.  Our next-generation OGx satellite technology, which uses Inmarsat’s L-band satellite network, as well our VDES consortium with Saab and AAC Clyde Space, are just two examples of how we will be delivering more robust and reliable global satellite connectivity in the world of maritime digitalization and optimization.

Another way ORBCOMM helps to fill those informational gaps is by partnering with trusted solution providers who deliver applications that enable shippers and operators to make the best-informed decisions about their maritime operations. The expertise of ORBCOMM’s partners, together with our global AIS data services and multi-modal container monitoring solutions, provide critical operational information to our maritime customers up and down the supply chain than any other industrial IoT ecosystem. We know that taking calculated risks such as waiting for a vessel to be unstuck in the Suez Canal, versus sending the vessel all the way around the Cape of Good Hope, is a decision that could put tens of millions of dollars at stake depending on the cargo, supporting the need for making ORBCOMM’s best-in-class satellite AIS services and IoT technology solutions an integral part of global maritime and shipping operations.

To learn more, visit https://www2.orbcomm.com/ais-data or email us at info@orbcomm.com

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS, 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , , ,

Australian Fleet Telematics News: Booth Transport Looks to ORBCOMM to Enhance Fleet Visibility and Performance

In Australia, more operators are moving to ORBCOMM for fleet management. Our trailer, truck, reefer, tanker and container solutions – on one platform – are providing the innovative technology Australian transportation customers need to expand and grow their fleet.  

We recently announced that Booth Transport is working with ORBCOMM for advanced asset tracking and monitoring of its ISO tank containers, road tankers and chassis. Their configuration features a high-sensitivity solar panel with wired temperature sensors to gain complete visibility and control over their mixed fleet.  

This enables Booth Transport to monitor the temperature of dairy products in its ISO tanks and track its road tankers distributing wine and chassis transporting containers throughout Australia. With live and scheduled status updates, Booth can see whether their assets are in transit or in the yard, so they always know where their assets are located and if they are empty or loaded. This leads to improved turn times and yard management, while saving driving time and fuel. The data is also used to schedule asset maintenance and inspections, for increased utilization and performance.

Booth Transport

You can read the full news release here. Visit the Booth Transport website here.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about ORBCOMM telematics, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to email us info@orbcomm.com.  

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

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