Pharmaceutical Transport: How transmed Delivers First to Last Mile GDP Solutions

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Discover how, as part of its new Good Distribution Practice (GDP) compliance solution, pharmaceutical transport specialist transmed Transport turned to ORBCOMM to develop an integrated system for end-to-end real-time temperature management and validation across its warehouses, distribution centers (DCs) and transport fleet…

ColdChain_2017_300-x-250Headquartered in Regensberg, Germany, transmed Transport GmbH specializes in the distribution of drugs and healthcare products to pharmacies, dispensing doctors, hospitals, medical centers and care homes. transmed is the logistics and transport arm of the PHOENIX Group, Europe’s leading pharmaceutical wholesaler, with annual revenues of EUR23.3bn as at 31/1/16 from operations in 26 countries. Active across West, Central, East and South East Europe, PHOENIX serves around 60,000 customers, supplying up to 140,000 different pharmaceutical items from its network of 153 distribution centers.

In its home market of Germany, transmed operates from three main temperature-controlled warehouse hubs, serving 20 regional DCs. Its fleet of 2,500 vehicles delivers goods around the clock both for its parent company and, more recently, under direct contract to pharmaceutical producers. The fleet ranges from the smallest caddy vehicles for local ‘milk run’ deliveries up to two hours; to mid-range vans up to 2.8 tons for longer-range operations; to temperaturecontrolled vans up to 3.5 tons for the longest distances, including overnight deliveries up to 1,000km and more.

pharma transport

The Challenge (and Opportunity)
In September 2013, the EU introduced its revised Good Distribution Practice (GDP) Guidelines (2013/C 343/01) aimed at maintaining the quality and integrity of medicinal products for human use right along the supply chain from manufacturer to patient.

pharma complianceThe updated guidelines recognized the increasingly complex, multi-party nature of modern pharmaceutical distribution networks and sought to provide a new framework for risk management and quality control. In particular, the 2013 Guidelines laid down new rules for transport, to protect medicinal products against breakage, adulteration and theft and, critically, “to ensure that temperature conditions are maintained within acceptable limits during transport.”

“This new stipulation for temperatures to be maintained and validated across the transport chain was a game-changer for pharmaceutical shippers and carriers alike,” says Stefan Butenholz, Regional Manager North for transmed. Read more ›

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

Smart Transportation Technology a Sign of the Times at TCA 2017

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trailer tracking demoThe Truckload Carriers Association 79th annual convention concluded in Nashville last week, providing an ideal forum for vendors, carriers and industry professionals to share insights on the current state and the future of the trucking industry.

In addition to a large exhibition showcasing some of the latest technologies available, the convention included interactive roundtables, informative keynotes, networking events and some fun galas.

This year’s theme, “We are Truckload, We’re One,’ certainly described the overall mood in Nashville as executive leaders and decision-makers came together to identify solutions to common issues affecting the industry—political and economic uncertainty, upcoming legislation, and changing transport models, among others. Here are 3 key takeaways from this year’s TCA convention:

Times Are a Changin’
According to Rich Karlgaard, a publisher for Forbes who delivered one of the general sessions, our economy is now being driven by service-heavy companies, accounting for some of the ‘disruptions’ we’ve seen in recent years. Newspapers have been replaced by online publications, retail stores by e-tailers, and software products by the cloud. Capital-heavy enterprises such as transportation and logistics must find ways to adapt to ever changing requirements and expectations.

Time’s Up!
Only days away from implementation, many of the discussions at this year’s convention centered on compliance requirements around the US FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). A session presented by Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP offered interesting insights as to some of the challenges carriers may encounter as claims begin to emerge in response to the new FDA regulations. Members of the legal team highlighted some real cases that showed how the courts are treating these initial claims and emphasized the importance of having legally-tight contracts to protect oneself from liability.

Time to Leverage New Technology
New technology was presented as a key enabler for forward thinking truckload carriers to meet these emerging industry challenges, and TCA 2017 saw some interesting product announcements. On the telematics front, we revealed some exciting news around ORBCOMM’s cold chain monitoring solution enhancements for FSMA compliance, and updates to our solar-powered trailer tracking GT 1100 solution, which now supports LTE and BLE connectivity, an integrated cargo sensor and wireless door sensors.

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

Overall, TCA 2017 was a great opportunity for companies to spend time with existing customers, identify new business opportunities and learn about the industry.

Thank you to the TCA team as well as the customers, partners and new faces we met at the conference. We look forward to seeing you at the TCA Refrigerated Division Meeting in July!

In the meantime, please contact us anytime to talk smart trailers and cold chain telematics technology, or schedule a demo today at

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

AIS Meets IoT: How Technology is Set to Transform Global Ocean Trade

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Discover the evolution of vessel tracking and monitoring technology and look into the future of smart global ocean trade and supply chains, harnessing satellite AIS, IoT connectivity and big data to deliver unprecedented levels of visibility and control…

Sea faring has had a monumental impact on the evolution of trade, transport and communication. No other single international endeavour has had such a profound effect on the evolution of commerce and migration – and the results of these early forays into new territories and trade routes are still being felt today.

History gives us countless examples of how a strong maritime presence – both military and commercial – was instrumental in not only finding and securing new lands, but then supporting and building the infrastructure to be able settle them in order to leverage local resources. One only has to look at the rapid expansion of the various European ‘East India’ companies to gain an understanding of this domination.

In the early days, competition between these entities and their parent nations was very high, and there was a constant battle to discover new trade routes and new lands to further the agenda of governments and trading companies. A mixture of bravery, knowledge and innovation that did much to advance the cause.

Innovating navigation

One of the single most important of these innovations was the maritime chronometer, invented by John Harrison in the 18th Century. Developed specifically to cater for the ravages of ocean voyages, the chronometer finally allowed seafarers to accurately calculate longitude while at sea, greatly enhancing navigation and safety.

Because of its importance as a worldwide ‘enabler’, any significant technological development in the maritime industry, such as Harrison’s chronometer, had a profound economic trickle-down effect in terms of time, cost, quality and efficiency. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why such huge bounties and rewards were offered in the early days for the development of navigation solutions that we now take for granted in the modern era.

Following these initial early breakthroughs, the pace of technological development is still relatively high and is now starting to enter a new digital data-driven age. 100 years ago these innovations were driven by a combination of warfare and trade. Today, developments in global commerce are having arguably the biggest impact – and will likely continue to do so for many years.

One of the most important recent breakthroughs has been the development, introduction and international adoption of automatic identification system (AIS) technology. AIS technology first saw major adoption after 2002, when the IMO SOLAS (1) Convention was modified to require the majority of vessels over 300GT (approximately 100,000 worldwide) to fit a Class A type AIS transceiver when embarking on international voyages.

This was followed in 2006, when the AIS standards committee published the Class B type AIS transceiver specification, which lead to the development of lower-cost and more commercially viable AIS devices that could be fitted to a much broader array of smaller commercial vessels. Local and regional laws subsequently determined which vessels had to have a device fitted and in which waters their use was applied.

ais data map

Satellite’s revolutionary role

AIS was originally envisaged as short range, high-intensity identification collision avoidance system between vessels which lent itself to being used as a  tracking network for controlling vessels in range of land stations in territorial waters. Read more ›

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

LTE: The Future of M2M and IoT

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LTE logoWhile limited 2G coverage options will remain available until as long as 2020, nearly all companies in the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) spaces who have traditionally relied on 2G connectivity have already been impacted by the 2G sunset in one way or another. In the rapidly expanding IoT market, as most carriers in the US, Canada and Europe have already – or are beginning to – shut down their 2G networks for good, all paths forward are now pointing toward LTE.

This raises a number of questions as companies making the transition to LTE worry about cost and limited network coverage. Furthermore, LTE is seen as being a high-speed technology used mainly on computers and mobile devices for high-bandwidth applications, such as video streaming. While there exists increasing value for incorporating video in the areas of security, fleet management and so on, the capacity offered by LTE remains unnecessary for most M2M and IoT applications.

With all of these viable concerns in mind, new doors have opened for the development of cheaper LTE devices that are more power efficient and lower on speed. LTE is a far more efficient than 2G or 3G, the cost of LTE data is cheaper, network coverage has reached near saturation in the US and the cost of modules is trending downward. With the promise of LTE being the go-to technology for at least the next decade, companies can be confident in a future-proof investment, while emerging global standards all point to LTE. User Equipment (UE) Category 6 LTE throughput, for example, is already double that of earlier Category 4 standards, while Category 7 and Category 8 are slated for deployment over the next few years.

But what about companies that rely on low-bandwidth connectivity in the M2M and IoT spaces? Read more ›

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

Telematics Technology Answering the Trucking Industry Call for Smarter Fleet Management

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trailer tracking white paperThis week, we’ll be showcasing some of the new enhancements to our dry van and cold chain telematics solutions in Booth 209 at the 79th Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN, from March 26-29, 2017.

Telematics and the Internet of Things (IoT) is adding intelligence to road transport operations, turning millions of “dark, dumb and disconnected” things into “visible, smart and connected” assets that report where they are, what they’re doing and how they are operating.

Berg Insight estimates shipments of remote tracking systems with cellular and satellite connectivity totalled 800,000 in 2015, with trailer tracking accounting for 56.8% of deployments. The adoption of trailer and cargo container telematics devices is expected to continue to grow, with Berg forecasting 8.1 million connected devices by 2020.

Why such growth? Recent years have seen significant advances both in telematics device technology and data communications networks, improving the reliability and reducing the cost of trailer tracking solutions.

As a leader and innovator in this market, ORBCOMM is continually focused on enhancing our solutions to meet our customers’ evolving requirements and help them increase visibility and profitability, while ensuring compliance with new industry regulations, such as the FDA’s Food Safety and Modernization Act. You can see this innovation in action and Booth 209 of TCA 2017 this week, where we’re demonstrating some exciting new enhancements to our dry van and cold chain telematics solutions.

Earlier this year, ORBCOMM was first to market with a suite of dual-mode, LTE-enabled dry van tracking devices approved for use on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. ORBCOMM’s GT 1100-LTE devices support both single and dual-mode network connectivity utilizing ORBCOMM’s portfolio of internally-developed satellite modems, which are integrated with ORBCOMM’s OG1, OG2 and IsatData Pro (IDP) networks. The devices enable ORBCOMM customers to future-proof their solution investments with ubiquitous dual-mode  network coverage.

The GT 1100-LTE devices with integrated cargo sensors are designed for installation outside a loaded or unloaded asset in less than 15 minutes, which significantly reduces installation costs, resources and asset downtime. In addition, these state-of-the-art devices incorporate short-range wireless capabilities to support wireless sensors as well as ORBCOMMmobile apps that enable installation support tools on the go from iOS and Android devices. Self-powered with field-proven energy harvesting technology, ORBCOMM’s GT 1100-LTE devices utilize renewable solar energy to maintain the battery power level and support efficient, high-message reporting rates.

GT 1100-LTE devices with integrated cargo sensors

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.

ORBCOMM has also enhanced its cold chain telematics platform, which features improved visibility throughout the supply chain and compliance with the FDA’s Sanitary Transportation Rule, a subset of FSMA. The platform’s features include high-resolution temperature charts, trailer precooling notifications and temperature out-of-range alerts for quick corrective measures and continuous monitoring until the situation is corrected. ORBCOMM also offers a centralized document repository to manage sanitation checklists and wash-out records per the FDA’s requirements, which can be maintained for 12 months and integrate seamlessly with third-party transportation management system (TMS) providers.

cold chain telematics solution

ORBCOMM’s cold chain telematics platform features comprehensive temperature monitoring, control and compliance for the transport of temperature-controlled cargo.

tracking_2017_300-x-250By taking advantage of these new enhancements to our fleet management solutions, ORBCOMM customers can continue to improve operational efficiency while increasing capacity, visibility and compliance over their assets, regardless of their fleet size, asset type or integration requirements.

To learn more about ORBCOMM’s fleet management solutions, stop by and see us in Booth 209 at TCA or schedule a meeting with us onsite at the show. If you’re not able to attend the conference, contact us anytime for more information on fleet telematics.

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, using solar-powered devices with integrated cargo sensors.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

New in Vessel Tracking – Introducing Hali: Terrestrial AIS + Satellite AIS + Satellite M2M

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This week we’re proud to launch our latest innovation delivering small craft safety, security and compliance. An initiative between ORBCOMM, Pole Star and Weatherdock, Hali is a tri-mode Class B AIS transponder that delivers reliable vessel locations to ensure full vessel visibility.

How does Hali work?

Hali is unique in that it has tri-modal vessel position data delivery mechanisms. Hali will report to local terrestrial AIS stations and nearby vessels to bring real time information for real time situations (collision avoidance, search and rescue). Hali will also deliver vessel information through ORBCOMM’s industry leading satellite AIS constellation for global maritime domain awareness outside terrestrial AIS coverage. Hali will also augment these AIS transmissions with position reporting through ORBCOMM’s entire satellite M2M network.

ais device for vessel tracking: Hali

The Hali solution includes powerful, tamper-proof AIS Class B hardware that delivers data to maritime customers in an easy-to-use, secure, web-based platform.

What makes Hali unique?

The inclusion of ORBCOMM’s two-way proprietary data satellite network as an additional  communications channel delivers reliable vessel locations anywhere in the world. Satellite AIS is an extremely powerful tool to deliver maritime domain awareness, however it has been known to be impacted due to congestion in busy ports, as well as from the lower power levels of AIS Class B devices. Positional data from AIS Class B only enabled devices are delivered, but inconsistently or only occasionally. Being able to determine the status of your fleet, of a fishery, or of an environmentally sensitive area is severely compromised – this additional ORBCOMM proprietary channel offers a much improved and dependable picture.

Who is Hali designed for?

satellite ais data serviceHali offers SOS functionality, and can send a distress message upon the Alert mode activation. For safety and enforcement agencies, Hali delivers a system that brings SOLAS safety to non-SOLAS vessels, enhancing maritime domain awareness and improving search and rescue operations. It can also serve to augment visibility of friendly vessels, and therefore reduce the number of potential non-cooperative targets for investigation.

For fisheries protection agencies, this device complies with common AIS reporting requirements. It also has geofencing capabilities to facilitate regulatory compliance within exclusion zones.

A true maritime industry game changer, Hali is a powerful tri-modal device designed with regulatory/enforcement bodies and small craft operators in mind. Protection and accountability are no longer luxuries.

To learn more, visit or see Hali in action by visiting us at the CABSEC Maritime Security Conference in Panama this week.


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

Detecting IUU Transshipments with AIS: Saving the Environment One Data Point at a Time

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Launched last September, Global Fishing Watch (a collaboration between SkyTruth, Oceana and Google, and powered by ORBCOMM AIS data) is a powerful platform focused on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing monitoring. Not only does Global Fishing Watch offer the most detailed global view of fishing activity to the public, it also provides an incredible database for scientists to develop new research.

After analyzing 21 billion ORBCOMM-provided AIS data points covering all oceans, a newly released research article (The Global View of Transshipment: Preliminary Findings*) uncovers some interesting trends around transshipment occurrences worldwide.

transshipments boatsTransshipments, which are defined as the transfer of goods from one boat to another, are a serious challenge for authorities worldwide concerned with everything from regional contraband, to illicit drugs, to IUU fisheries.  In the case of the latter, blending illegally caught fish with legally caught fish removes supply chain transparency and traceability, and allows this practice to account for up to 15% of the global catch.

By cataloging the world’s refrigerated cargo ships, and establishing rules for a sea based encounter, the scientists at SkyTruth were able to determine when transshipments were likely to have taken place.

Here are the rules that were used to identify transshipments with AIS data:

  1. Repeated AIS signals from two vessels that are within 500m of each other for greater than 3 hours, traveling at a speed of less than 2 knots.
  2. Encounters must occur more than 20 nautical miles from shore
  3. One of these vessels must be a refrigerated cargo ship

The study showed that 5,065 ‘likely transshipments’ and 86,940 ‘potential transshipments’ occurred from 2012 through 2016:


Of special note are the high counts of transshipments occurring at EEZ boundaries; while not providing definite proof, it certainly depicts a pattern of activity that may not be legal and which should certainly be investigated. This is the all-important first step in bringing awareness of these types of activities to the world, and was only recently made possible through vessel location data collected by ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS service. Further transshipment analysis and inter-governmental cooperation should aid in the endeavor to enforce the regulations required to keep our environment healthy.

satellite ais data serviceIUU fishing indicators are not the only benefits of this type of use of AIS data. AIS can also be used to probe other nefarious activity, including smuggling and human trafficking.

To learn more about the world of possibilities enabled by ORBCOMM AIS data, visit us at the CABSEC 17 Maritime Security Conference in Panama, Mar. 21-23. Contact me to schedule a meeting or, if you can’t join us at the conference, please contact us anytime to talk satellite AIS.

*This publication and the information contained herein is copyrighted to SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch. It may be produced in whole or part and in any form for education and non-profit purposes without any special permission from the copyright holders, provided that the source is appropriately acknowledged. We ask that your attribution includes links back to and and clearly indicates if any modifications were made. This document has been prepared in good faith on the basis of information available to SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch at the date of publication. Readers are responsible for assessing the relevance and accuracy of the content of this publication. SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred or arising by reason of any person or any entity using or relying on information in this publication.

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

Temperature Monitoring Goes Country in Australia

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The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, based in the country music capital of Tamworth, New South Wales, is a not-for-profit organisation that collects, protects and promotes the heritage of Australasian country music. Housing precious collectibles in such a warm climate presents some unique challenges, and requires the right technology to monitor their status at all times. Without proper temperature and humidity monitoring, different objects will degrade in different ways over time—metal objects will rust and textiles will rot—leaving the legacy of some of the country’s most iconic music in peril.

To protect this valuable collection from a sometimes unforgiving climate, reaching 40°C in mid-summer, regular Country Music Festival visitor Mark Mitchell, managing director of ORBCOMM Euroscan Asia Pacific and the SuperCool Group of Companies, negotiated the donation of a temperature and humidity monitoring system with Ron Quaedvlieg from ORBCOMM’s Euroscan Group headquarters in Europe.

The installation was completed just in time for the one of the hottest summers in Tamworth in January 2017. The temperature recorders monitor the temperature and humidity in each room, and send data to a web-based platform that staff and contractors can view remotely. Watch the video to learn more:

This was a novel use demonstrating the versatility of ORBCOMM’s cold chain monitoring and compliance solutions, typically deployed in transportation applications. To learn more, email or visit

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

Crushing It: Terex Takes the Lead in Telematics

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Discover how an extensive custom development project with ORBCOMM has seen Terex Materials Processing become the first OEM to provide remote real-time tracking and diagnostics for crushing and screening machines.

Terex Corporation is a global manufacturer of lifting and material processing products and services delivering lifecycle solutions that maximize customer return on investment. Major Terex brands include Terex, Genie, Powerscreen and Demag. Terex solutions serve a broad range of industries, including construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, shipping, transportation, refining, energy, utilities, quarrying and mining. Terex offers financial products and services to assist in the acquisition of Terex equipment through Terex Financial Services.

Powerscreen® and Terex Finlay, brands of Terex Corporation, are world leaders in the design, production and supply of mobile, heavy-duty crushing and screening equipment for use in mining, quarrying, construction, demolition and recycling and have selected ORBCOMM real-time tracking and diagnostics.

powerscreen crusher monitoring
The Opportunity

In recent years, telematics technology has become standard on ‘yellow iron’ construction and heavy machines worldwide, helping distributors, owners and operators to maximize the performance, life cycle, safety and value of their equipment. Terex spotted a prime first-mover opportunity to add value to its offering and improve the customer experience by adding telematics capabilities to crushing and screening equipment.

Crushers and screeners are highly specialized, high-value machines. Ranging from 30-120 metric tons in weight, crushers are priced in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Equipment operates in harsh and often remote environments.

Machines must be set up properly for the specific job in hand and tuning requirements vary from site to site, as no two ores or rocks are ever identical. Read more ›

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Posted in 2. Heavy Equipment Tagged with: , , , ,

Construction Telematics Q & A: Keeping Your Assets in Sight

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Keith GelinasThe following is a Q & A by Construction Industry News with Keith Gelinas, Senior Vice President & General Manager, OEM & Network Channel Sales for ORBCOMM:

Q: You’re an Internet of Things company. What does the IoT bring to the heavy equipment market?

Visibility. It’s hard to manage what you can’t see, and many heavy equipment fleets are deployed in faraway remote areas. Our solutions connect things – your fleet – to you so you can see them. And you can track and monitor not just where they are, but also status information like engine and fuel usage. It makes managing fleets easier and more efficient.

Q: Your customer list looks like a who’s who of the industry.

Well, ORBCOMM provides IoT solutions in multiple industries, but our largest subscriber base is within the heavy equipment industry. Companies such as Caterpillar, Doosan, Hitachi, Hyundai, John Deere, Kobelco, Komatsu, LBX, Manitowoc, Sumitomo, Terex, Volvo and more all depend on ORBCOMM to provide visibility into their deployed assets.

Q: What visibility into their assets are companies looking for?

construction telematics appThere are two classes of telematics. Basic telematics offers fleet location information, and status as to whether the unit is operating. This provides a certain level of value to the customer, who can understand where his fleet is and how it’s being used. Adoption of this level of technology is widespread and mostly useful to fleet operators.

Advanced telematics adds more information. Extra machine parameters are logged, reported and transformed into smart data, which provides fleet-wide operational metric analysis, scheduled maintenance based on usage and wear and tear of components as opposed to merely time, and early diagnosis of equipment failure, which can prevent work site disasters and limit down time. This data is typically of interest to the manufacturers and dealers, who are responsible for ensuring a certain level of service to the fleet operators.

Q: What does a typical IoT solution for heavy equipment consist of?

Every solution is a different, depending on the customer’s requirements, but there are three basic components. You need an IoT device to attach to the vehicle, you need network connectivity to get the data from the device, and you need an application at the management end to make sense of the data and show it to the user. ORBCOMM is unique in that we provide all three components.

Our PT 7000 hardware captures the data and speaks to one or more of our networks. We provide cellular and satellite connectivity through a number of partners, and most of our solutions for remote heavy equipment use our proprietary OG2 satellite network, delivering 24/7 visibility, even outside of cellular coverage. Finally, our multi-layer FleetEdge application offers the right layer of data to the right customer: fleet operators can see their basic telematics, and dealers and manufacturers can see their detailed performance data and make customer service decisions accordingly.

heavy equipment telematics IoT solution

Q: How can our readers find out more about your company?

For more information, visit, call 1-800-ORBCOMM or stop by our CONEXPO Booth S-65107.

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Posted in 2. Heavy Equipment 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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