Trailer Tracking: Gaining Ground on Profitability and Operational Efficiency

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See how a regional contract carrier of dry goods, Swing Transport, adopted ORBCOMM’s trailer tracking solution for improved fleet visibility, better operational efficiency and reduced theft…

Swing Transport is a full-service provider of transportation and logistics services based in Salisbury, North Carolina. The company operates a fleet of approximately 1200 dry trailers across the southeastern states, and specializes in service-intensive, time-sensitive freight with 80% of loads requiring on-time pick-up and delivery services. For Swing, maintaining outstanding customer service and improving operational efficiency are two of its main priorities.

The carrier needed a comprehensive trailer tracking system that would deliver 24/7 visibility of assets in order to minimize unauthorized trailer use, improve service delivery and reduce theft. “This was our first foray into this type of system,” recalled Gamewell, Director of Operations at Swing Transport. “We had seen the value of a tracking system on some of our leased trucks, so we chose to work with ORBCOMM to help us implement a solution that would provide the same level of value for the rest of our fleet.”

Read on “Swing Transport Gains Ground on Profitability and Operational Efficiency with ORBCOMM’s Trailer Tracking Solution” to learn how ORBCOMM’s GT 1100 trailer tracking solution made it possible for Swing Transport to optimize trailer pools, discourage customers’ use of trailers as temporary storage and take down a sizable trailer theft operation in the city.

Download the Full Case Study

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

OG2 1 Year Later: Better Coverage for Broader M2M & IoT Applications

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been almost a year since the historic SpaceX launch (and landing) that carried the second set of satellites into orbit for ORBCOMM’s next generation OG2 constellation.

On December 21, 2015, the world watched with bated breath as SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket, achieved a historic landing of its first stage back to earth, and successfully placed ORBCOMM’s 11 additional OG2 satellites into orbit. There were a few anxiety-filled moments, but it wasn’t long before all of our satellites checked in as healthy and the in-orbit testing began to start providing much improved service for M2M, IoT and AIS applications.

One year later, the OG2 satellite fleet is now processing over 60% of the network’s M2M traffic. The performance and availability of our enhanced satellite constellation has exceeded expectations, as echoed by the positive feedback from our customers around the world, who are experiencing significantly improved service and faster message delivery.

ORBCOMM’s OG2 satellites are far more advanced than OG1 satellites, which not only translates into a higher level of service and reliability for our customers, but also more opportunities through our expanded global coverage, increased market reach and the new applications that we can support through improvements such as:

  • Faster message delivery
  • Larger message capacity
  • Lower power consumption
  • Broader global coverage at higher latitudes
  • Increased network capacity and performance

OG2 is improving service for customers across a variety of industries, including:

Satellite AIS / Maritime
The OG2 satellites are equipped with an AIS payload to receive and report transmissions from AIS-equipped vessels for ship tracking and other maritime navigational and safety efforts. With the launch of 11 more powerful AIS-enabled satellites, ORBCOMM now operates the largest space-based AIS network, with 18 AIS-enabled satellites.

Combined with our existing network of 16 ground earth stations around the world, average AIS data latency as short as one minute can be achieved, which enables near real-time monitoring of vessels and increased analytics capabilities. The high number of satellite passes (up to 142) and coverage overhead up to 90% of the time, translates into data refresh rates measured in minutes.

ORBCOMM is now collecting over 18 million AIS messages from approximately 180,000 unique vessels per day, surpassing all other AIS networks in service quality.

OG1 and OG2 satellite footprints—complete global coverage. Image © ORBCOMM All Rights Reserved, 2016.

Heavy Equipment
For heavy equipment customers with machinery working in deep quarries or urban canyons, connectivity using improved, faster and lower power OG2 satellite technology is highly effective.

Shortly after the OG2 launch, ORBCOMM took another step in simplifying the hardware decision-making process for OEMs and creating a truly standardized M2M platform by launching the completely interchangeable OG2 and OGi satellite modems. The modems provide customers with plug-n-play satellite connectivity using the ORBCOMM VHF network and/or the Inmarsat L-band network without the need to redesign their M2M solutions or stock and support two devices. The versatile modems are nearly 50% smaller than a credit card and feature an identical footprint, connectors, power input, programming environment, communication interface and protocols.

One of the key benefits of having satellite is knowing where your assets are at all times. ORBCOMM’s OG2 network brings peace of mind to our customers by allowing them to remain in contact with their valuable cargo (including refrigerated produce and pharmaceuticals) through remote areas and cellular network disruptions due to natural disaster or capacity outages.

To relive the historic OG2 launch, watch the full replay (which never gets old) at: . For more information on OG2, visit

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5 Reasons to Onboard Trailer Telematics Technology

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Even though access to timely, actionable data can help improve profitability of trailer operations, the cost associated with rolling out new trailer tracking technology has traditionally held some trucking companies from moving forward. Fortunately, communication networks and devices have become both more reliable and affordable over the past few years, making it more technically feasible and financially viable for trucking companies to capture and transmit data in real-time in order to make their assets smarter, more visible and connected.

Here are 5 reasons why carriers should consider investing in trailer telematics:

Trailer Telematics application1. Keep Trailers Moving
A trailer parked or idle can cost fleet owners an average of $448 to $760 a day. Without real-time reports disclosing where trailers are and what they are doing, operators are at a disadvantage and at a loss. There simply isn’t enough information to assess fleet performance to make quick decisions about fleet optimization.

A trailer tracking solution delivers the right data at the right time to help carriers improve productivity in the short and over the long-term. Status reports show fleet managers where trailers are, whether they are out of operation, on the road or unloading at a customer’s dock, enabling dispatch to make informed decisions on how to properly assign drivers to trailers. In addition, automatic alerts can be set up to notify dispatch of status changes such as when a trailer has been loaded or unloaded to help companies streamline load/unload cycles, optimize dispatch operation and improve turn times.

Over time, asset data collected via telematics provides the opportunity to develop better business practices and improve productivity and capacity per truck. As the efficiency of each trailer goes up so do the carrier’s profit margins.

2. Right Size Your Fleet
As a capital-intensive business, it is essential for carriers to use assets to their full capacity. If a trailer pool is too large, there is a higher chance of trailers sitting at yards instead of being on the road making money. Each idle minute reduces the return on investment of the asset. On the other hand, if a trailer pool is too small, carriers may experience a shortage of trailers in order to efficiently meet customer demand.

Utilization reports provide detailed information about trailer performance and utilization at each customer site. This information enables carriers to allocate their fleet more efficiently and potentially transfer unused trailers to a customer with higher demand and volumes in order to increase revenues.

Analysis of usage and inactivity over time helps define a carrier’s right fleet size and indicates how to reduce capital expenditures without compromising volume. Tracking also lays the groundwork for building incentives into negotiated fee structures (tariffs) to encourage more profitable trailer utilization. Read more ›

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

Reefer Container Operator Stays a Step Ahead with IoT Telematics

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Discover how container services provider Balticon uses real-time IoT reefer monitoring to improve asset visibility, control and customer service to some of the world’s largest shipping lines…

reefer monitoring from BalticonPolish company Balticon S.A is a container services provider and trader serving an international and domestic client base. With its main offices in the Polish seaports of Gdansk and Gdynia, plus depots and branches across Poland and beyond, the private company has built its annual turnover to approximately €20 million. Refrigerated container services are a core competency and make up around 40% of the business today.

In the international arena, Balticon helps container shipping lines, leasing companies and forwarders with their container operations in Poland and the wider EU market, providing storage and M&R services from its depot network, plus road and rail transport to and from Poland’s ports and the hinterland. The company operates its own fleet of tractors, chassis and gensets for dry and refrigerated container transport, with clients including APL, COSCO/China Shipping, CMA-CGM, OOCL, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Maersk Line, Textainer, Touax and Yang Ming Line.

In the domestic market, Balticon sells, leases and modifies dry and refrigerated containers as storage units and for use within manufacturing operations, as well as for transport operations. It has supplied reefer containers under the “Eco Cold Store” brand for use in a wide variety of industry sectors, including bakery, chemical, dairy, fish processing, flower trade, fruit and vegetables, medical and tobacco, among others.

The Challenge

ReeferConnect IoT telematics solutionIn 2013, Balticon made its first steps into Internet of Things (IoT) connected assets, acquiring a first batch of ReeferConnect Machine-to-Machine (M2M) telematics devices from ORBCOMM to test in its domestic rental operations. Using GPS and GSM technology, the IoT devices allow users to remotely locate and view the operating status of their refrigerated containers, with 2-way communications including remote temperature control, diagnostics and software updates, plus automated alarms.

Balticon’s rental clients receive 24/7 reefer container service and maintenance, including on-site technical inspections and call-outs, to ensure their containers are fully operational and functioning to the required level at all times. The company wanted to assess how the introduction of a telematics solution, including a cloud application for live monitoring, could add value both for Balticon’s clients in ensuring cargo safety and quality, and for Balticon itself in better control over its reefer assets, plus improved customer service.

The benefits were swiftly validated, says Balticon CEO Tomasz Szmid. Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

Mining Company Trusts Satellite to Ensure Compliance while Lowering Costs/Risk

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The following Case Study is by Pacific Data Systems, a leader in smart monitoring and control systems and ORBCOMM solution provider based in Brisbane, Australia. Download the full Case Study here.

MineCo* is a global mining company that specializes in minerals used in building, manufacturing and primary industries. In Australasia, it has many mine sites and plants, some in very remote, hard to reach or fragile locations.

A tough environment

One particular mine in Australia is in the tropical North, and is subject to high temperatures, heavy rain and, in monsoon season, the occasional extreme weather. The site itself is also sandy and fragile, yet there is also dense forest with trees over 30 meters high and a steep escarpment to negotiate, which all make getting around quite a challenge.

Until recently, it was a requirement for MineCo staff to go to site to take groundwater measurements. According to Senior Hydrogeologist, Sean Finemore*: ‘It was a pretty simple and quick measurement once there, it was just getting there and back that was the problem’.

Unfriendly locals

For this MineCo site, groundwater measurements are taken to show that, as a result of the mining operation, neither depletion nor augmentation of levels is taking place. MineCo is serious about workplace safety too and, although sending two people to the site at a time adhered to guidelines, Finemore was aware of the hazards and wanted a better solution: ‘It wasn’t just about terrain or cost, it was about safety. Our guys had come across plenty of snakes over the years, so we needed a better way to collect data without risking our people’.

4 ways that didn’t work

Finemore started to look for alternatives, including direct cabling, and various devices powered by battery or solar power and connected to 3G, 4G or satellite networks. The purpose was to collect and send groundwater data back to MineCo’s data repository, and key requirements for the solution were robustness, reliability and continuous operation with low need for maintenance.

As Finemore says: “Cabling was out of the question, and the devices weren’t tough enough, or couldn’t get 3G or 4G access because the scarp cut off the line of sight, or had batteries that needed changing all the time. This all meant site visits, the very thing we wanted to avoid. There was nothing available that could do the job.”

An opportunity to seize

water level monitoring for miningFinemore already knew Pacific Data Systems, both as a supplier and developer of smart monitoring devices, so the opportunity to create a new device that could handle automated data transfer in tough remote locations was a practical solution for both.

With input from MineCo, the R&D team from Pacific Data Systems developed SatVue, a compact, rugged system that uses ORBCOMM’s satellite technology and the IsatData Pro satellite network to transmit data. The SatVue system is self-sustaining with a built-in solar panel. The satellite terminal is IP67 certified and designed to withstand harsh environments, extreme temperatures and high humidity. As designed, the installed equipment and corresponding services require minimal onsite maintenance and support.

Robust & reliable

SatVue has been in place at MineCo’s site for over six months and, according to Finemore, hasn’t missed a beat. Groundwater data has been regularly and continuously sent to the repository and, as a result, no one has been required to go to site to collect data.

While the savings are obvious based on just one device, according to Finemore the potential savings are far greater: ‘If we used SatVue for all of our remote measurements on this site, the savings would be substantial. If we extended it to other sites across Australia to measure groundwater and other parameters like stream chemistry, the return would be impressive’.

To learn more, download the “Remote Monitoring Best Practice Guide” by Pacific Data Systems, a leader in smart monitoring and control systems based in Brisbane, Australia. The company’s SatVue remote monitoring system combines a rugged, compact ORBCOMM device with smart monitoring technology and reliable satellite communications for environmental monitoring of remote sites. For more information, visit

*This client has asked for names to be changed for privacy reasons

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

Satellite AIS: The Largest Maritime Paradigm Shift in Over a Century

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Satellite AIS has created possibly the largest paradigm shift in the maritime world since the introduction of the  steam engine and the screw propeller over 100 years ago.  The first six satellites in ORBCOMM’s AIS-enabled constellation were launched for the US Coast Guard in 2008 for coastal and port visibility. Eight years and 18 satellites later, satellite AIS has become an ubiquitous tool for an ever-increasing array of maritime applications.

satellite aisAIS is a primary tool for the protection of the maritime environment and its resources, especially fish and oil.  It is also routinely paired with imaging space systems such as electro-optical satellites and, especially synthetic aperture radar satellites.  With both of these imaging satellites there is a natural synergism as AIS enables the identification of many imaged ships.  If they are not identifiable or attempt to hide their identity via spoofing, this can lead to further examination by other assets such as aircraft and military vessels.

GPS is the only other system that even comes close to the impact of satellite AIS on the maritime industry in last 150 plus years. But while GPS left the maritime world opaque, satellite AIS is quickly making it transparent.  Like GPS, which was created to improve the accuracy of the US submarine launched ballistic missiles, satellite AIS is rapidly becoming ever more present in the marine world as more and more applications for its data are being discovered and developed.   In its first eight years of existence, satellite AIS has already surpassed GPS in terms of its impact on the maritime world. Let’s look at just some of the evolving uses of satellite AIS: Read more ›

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

Remote Monitoring Best Practices: The Top 5 Challenges

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The following excerpt is from the “Remote Monitoring Best Practice Guide” published by Australia’s Pacific Data Systems. Download the full Guide here.

For those in industries that collect and analyse data, especially in hard to reach, extreme or fragile environments, remote monitoring can present a number of challenges, namely:

remote-pipeline1. Diverse data and data sources

Collecting data from remote locations can be expensive, inconvenient, unreliable and inaccurate.

Yet, for many companies involved in mining, exploration, environmental protection or agriculture, collection & analysis of such data is critical to continuous operation.

The first challenge is the bewildering array of parameters to be monitored. These vary widely from industry to industry, but include parameters related to:

  • Environmental
  • Natural Resources
  • Water
  • Agriculture
  • Mining, Oil & Gas
  • Ecological monitoring

2. Cost and risk of manual monitoring

If sites to monitor are extremely remote, manual data collection for analysis back at base has some serious challenges:

  • High cost of travelling to remote areas
  • Time delays between sampling and results
  • Inability to monitor continuously
  • Inability to detect/alert on sudden changes
  • One-off samples may not be representative
  • Cost to comply with WH&S ‘two person policy’ for remote areas.

Many remote areas monitored by mining and exploration companies are in rugged or hostile terrain too, such as desert Saudi Arabia, offshore Alaska or in the Russian tundra, which makes the physical collection of samples dangerous.

In tropical areas like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, or Venezuela, the wet season can turn swathes of the country into swamps making vehicular access difficult. Cyclones and floods add an extra degree of difficulty.

In the Australian outback, heat stress is the major issue for staff. In all these areas, extreme conditions make reliable, timely sampling by manual methods almost impossible. It also doubles the cost, if two people are required to go to site every time for safety reasons.

3. Complexity and cost of bespoke devices

Wireless technology and electronics have advanced rapidly in recent decades, including compact monitoring devices that collect and transmit data via wireless networks. These have made remote monitoring and data acquisition a reality, and represent more affordable, practical solutions for collecting data in remote areas. Read more ›

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Posted in 2. Heavy Equipment, 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , ,

IoT Devices Panel: The Latest in Solution-Enabling Hardware (Video)

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There is no end to the options available today for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, modems sensors and other hardware to power modern IoT solutions.  Hosted by 151 Advisors, APP-SOLUTELY IoT was a half-day seminar at CTIA Super Mobility 2016 that explored IoT topics ranging from deploying devices, choosing a connectivity provider, managing security risks and how to generate revenue with IoT.

The Hardware & Devices Panel below explored the many options available to IoT solutions developers for Internet enabled hardware, chips, modules, edge devices and other IoT products on the market today.

Watch as Craig Malone, ORBCOMM EVP of Product Development, joins other industry experts to discuss solution-enabling IoT devices, the appeal of dual- and tri-mode offerings, the difference between geographic and regulatory coverage, the importance of rugged and durable hardware, and much more…

For more information on ORBCOMM’s IoT solutions and connectivity options, visit or email

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FSMA Compliance: 3 Key Considerations for Food Logistics Professionals

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Cold chain compliance webinarThere’s been a lot of discussion recently around best practices, emerging technologies and upcoming legislation affecting the food logistics industry. We heard many during October’s IFDA Distribution Solutions Conference and our recent Cold Chain webinar hosted by Food Logistics. The US FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), with a compliance deadline set for April 2017, is still very much top-of-mind for anybody involved in the transportation and distribution of perishable foods. As companies look to outline processes and set best practices, here are some points to consider:

Data Accuracy and Integrity a Must

With FSMA fast approaching, food transporters are turning to technology to enable temperature management and compliance in their fleets. However, since the ruling does not specify or standardize on a specific type of tracking device, we expect some issues will arise around inconsistencies in data collection and data integrity. With liability at stake, data collection, storage and delivery will become key to compliance. A system that collects readings directly from a reefer’s microprocessor is highly accurate compared to disposable solutions such as data loggers, which can generate contradictory results based a wide range of external factors.

Remote Access to the Reefer

The ability to remotely control a refrigerated trailer also becomes important. With trailer pre-cooling notifications becoming a requirement of the new ruling, enabling dispatch to pre-cool a trailer without driver intervention will not only save time and money, it will minimize potential issues caused by human error. Similarly, when temperature inconsistencies are detected, the ability for dispatch to quickly deploy corrective measures and remotely modify a unit’s set temperature will improve efficiency and minimize losses and claims due to spoilage.

Creating a Culture of Safety

ReeferTrak demoBeyond rolling out new processes and technology, FSMA’s success will depend largely on the industry’s ability to foster a culture around safety. It’s not enough for individual companies to roll out minor changes in order to “pass” the compliance test. Carriers, shippers and everyone involved in the food supply chain need to work together to outline best practices and ensure that every aspect of the operation adheres to the highest standards to ensure product integrity as commodities move along the chain.

To watch a replay of our new Cold Chain Webinar, visit

For more information on how to prepare for FSMA compliance, visit

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , ,

Beyond the Device: Future-proofing Smart Containers in a Fast-Changing World

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Digitization of global container supply chain operations is upon us and big data from IoT devices will play a critical role. Early adopters of IoT-connected ‘smart containers’ are starting to reap the first fruits of the new digital economy, reporting tangible reductions in operating costs and better insight into the real causes of waste, loss, damage and claims.

reefer container monitoring applicationBut the transition to ‘smart shipping’ is in its infancy and many questions remain as the industry feels its way towards this new reality. Not least of these is how IoT technology will develop in the future and what that means for companies making their investments today.

These are some of the key takeaways from two transport industry events ORBCOMM took part in recently: Cool Logistics Global  in Germany and TOC Americas  in Mexico.  As we head off to continue the conversation at the Container Owners Association meeting and Intermodal Europe show in Rotterdam, we offer a recap and some reflections on the recent debates.

Digitization and IoT: Not If, but When

Hapag-Lloyd CCO Thorsten Haeser told the Cool Logistics conference that of all the issues facing container shipping today, digitization of the supply chain will have the greatest impact. “As an industry, we should do our homework and do it as fast as possible,” he advised. “In the next 2-3 years, we will see a big change.”

“Bringing the container online is the new story,” said Mr. Haeser, citing predictive maintenance, real-time alerts, impact identification and position notification as some of the key benefits. “We need to deliver cargo in the best shape at point of destination and manage expectations regarding timeliness. If we can create transparency on where the container is, we can advise the customer earlier and allow them to prepare.”

Crossing the Chasm: The Smart Container Journey

Maersk Line used both events to update the market on its Remote Container Management (RCM) project, as discussed in one of our blog posts earlier this year. At Cool Logistics, Maersk’s Head of Reefer Management Shereen Zarkani confirmed that in mid-2017 the carrier will share data from its 270,000 IoT-enabled reefer containers with its BCO customers. She said that RCM has already given Maersk Line “unprecedented visibility” and that the company has changed its operating processes and supplier relationships as a result. “Now, the reefer tells us there is a problem and we send a technician out.”

Catja Horth, head of Maersk’s RCM program, said that since going live at the end of 2015, Maersk had converted 285,00 reefer PTIs (pre-trip inspections) from a long to a short version. PTIs represent a major operating cost to the reefer container industry and a chance for huge cost savings and efficiency gains courtesy of IoT technology.

But getting to grips with all this new information, and new ways of working, is a challenge that should not be underestimated. Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 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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