IoT Solutions: All the Pieces of the Puzzle at Mobile World Congress 2017, Barcelona

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iot-puzzleMore than just connectivity, IoT solutions are often pieces of a complex puzzle made up of subscriber management, device management, application enablement, billing, support, hardware and much more.

For companies looking to deploy solutions – whether in transportation, utility monitoring, heavy equipment, wireless services or other industries – procuring from multiple vendors becomes a complicated and expensive process. With additional barriers to entry including cost, technological limitations and lack of support, companies are faced with fragmentation that prevents or impedes the process, often resulting in ongoing unnecessary technical challenges and unexpected expenses. With many providers only offering one piece of the IoT stack, companies are increasingly looking for one-stop IoT shopping. Read more ›

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Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends

RTLS: Are You Searching for More Answers than Assets?

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RTLS for mining RTLS (Real-Time Location Solutions) can be the perfect complement to smart IoT (Internet of Things) technology, and the ideal solution for locating and managing assets, materials and people within your organization. Not only can RTLS increase production, safety and cost savings, but it provides the visibility and information you need to identify problems before they happen.

But now that you’ve found the right technology, what happens next? What if you are left with more questions and doubts about what to do going forward? Or even worse, the company you trusted is no longer around to support your business or the hardware and software you are counting on to work? What if you are overwhelmed with the constant stream of new technologies, processes and IoT devices with ever evolving features and connectivity options.

The Internet of Something

IoT has quickly became one of the most talked about techy buzzwords in the past 10 years. But just like [dot].com, “The Cloud”, VOIP and an endless list of others, it has already begun to morph into whatever it means to the person talking about it. This is what I believe to be one of the biggest problems facing the world of IoT. It can literally mean what you want it to. I personally define it as “a way to get lots of smart things to give intelligent data to the right place in the right format at the right time”. But IoT will likely mean something completely different to you or other colleagues.

I am old enough to remember the days of the battling VHS and Betamax tapes. Gen Xer’s saw a similar battle with DVD-HD and Blu-ray. Today I see a similar battle with ICT giants fighting to establish a clear standard for the Internet of Things and the smart edge IoT devices in it. This battle may likely never see a clear winner before the next big thing comes along. There are hundreds of communication layers, thousands or RF and wireless connectivity options and millions upon billions of devices communicating across all of these.

There are a few industry leaders recognizing this lack of standardization and are changing the way they view IoT. The CEO of Tile, Mike Farley told Forbes magazine in a 2016 interview that IoT is “a too-hyped trend that’s failing to take off”. Depending on your experience just hearing someone say IoT can mean something exciting and rewarding or mysterious and confusing. If you invested in unreliable devices or a company that has shuttered its doors, it can be disappointing and costly.

If industry leaders are looking at IoT with a different eye, maybe you should too. Until a clear standard is established or at least a clear direction of what businesses and consumers can expect, I suggest it will be more sensible to look at IoT as an idea or a concept rather than a “thing” itself. This can help you see things closer to the ground and get back to solving real world business problems without getting lost in the hype of something. Read more ›

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Posted in 2. Heavy Equipment, 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks Tagged with: , , ,

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: , , , ,

Trailer Tracking Solution Checklist: 5 Key Considerations

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300 x 250trailer webinarIn many ways, the trucking industry is the poster child for Machine-to-Machine and the Internet of Things (IoT), which embrace the connectivity and exchange of data between assets, people and applications for better communication. By integrating trailer tracking technology into daily operations, a genuine way for the trucking sector to optimize resources, operational efficiency and profitability becomes a reality.

GPS tracking allows fleet operators to locate trailers, containers and other assets on the move or while stationary at docks and yards. In addition, a comprehensive asset tracking solution can help carriers remotely monitor a wide range of conditions such as door openings, unscheduled stops, cargo status, idle time, fuel levels and more.

Rapid technology development over the next five years will open up even more options to optimize logistics operations through live data and remote control and within ten years, we believe that M2M will dramatically change how transportation and logistics service providers make decisions. With data generated by telematics devices and IoT sensors, the hardware and solution possibilities are endless. So where do you start?

Here are 5 key things to consider when evaluating a trailer tracking solution:

Quick and Easy Installation:
A trailer telematics solution needs to be designed for quick and easy installation on trailers, containers, railcars and other transport assets. Check that devices can be conveniently configured and upgraded over the air. A solar powered trailer tracking solution is another feature that provides the benefits of hassle-free reporting with no battery changes and maintenance.

TMS Integration:
Dry van and cold chain monitoring needs to fully integrate with custom and third-party dispatch and in cab systems (i.e. McLeod, TMW, PeopleNet) so comprehensive trailer telematics data and reports can be conveniently accessed from the dispatch system interface.

Trailer Telematics applicationOn-the-go Access:
A trailer tracking solution needs to extend on-the-go functionality to drivers and operators for complete for convenience and ease of use.

Backup Satellite Connectivity:
Optional backup satellite connectivity ensures uninterrupted communications with drivers and transport assets in some of the most remote regions of the world. Satellite becomes a lifeline to drivers in remote areas where cellular is scarce and in the midst of natural disasters and harsh weather conditions that may compromise the cellular infrastructure and service.

Mixed Fleets:
A trailer tracking solution needs to accommodate tracking, monitoring and control of dry and refrigerated assets. When choosing telematics technology, consider how the company may grow, expand or diversify in the future and consider those plans in the decision-making process. A comprehensive trailer management system makes it possible for carriers to seamlessly manage and control dry and refrigerated assets from a single platform.

See also: 5 Reasons to Onboard Trailer Telematics Technology

To learn more, watch our latest webinar: How Trailer Telematics Improves Your Bottom Line, contact us online or email us at

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 5. M2M/IoT Trends

Safeguarding Food and Pharma Along Containerized Cold Supply Chains: Shippers Need Visibility Now

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With the Hanjin bankruptcy now official, the crisis serves as a reminder that when shippers of any cargo engage with the great global transport network that is containerization, ‘caveat emptor’ must be observed. Containerization, 60 years old in 2016, has done more for world commerce than any free trade deal, The Economist famously observed in 2013. But shippers caught up three years later in the bankruptcy of the world’s seventh largest container carrier are not so sanguine.

hanjin shippingLast year saw dozens of Hanjin vessels, hundreds of crew, hundreds of thousands of containers and billions of dollars of cargo are languishing at sea, or held at port. Even when vessels get permission to unload, cargo was at risk of ending up far from its intended destination and need to be reshipped with other lines. For shippers of temperature-controlled cargoes, this is especially dire. “Where’s my cargo, where and when will it land, and will it be fit for purpose?” are questions that many food, and possibly pharma, shippers may not be able to answer right now.

Lars Jensen of maritime consultancy Sea Intelligence notes that at least 25 lines had active slot charters or vessel sharing agreements with Hanjin on various trades. This means that many shippers that don’t even do business with Hanjin or its alliance partners are still affected. He points out that the “ever-closer operational collaboration across carriers” has served to increase the risk profile for shippers’ supply chains, “often without the shippers realizing this is the case.”

Recent events have shone a spotlight on the deeply interconnected nature of today’s container shipping networks and demonstrated how little visibility many shippers have into the whereabouts and status of their cargo as it moves through a complex web of service providers.

None of this is to gainsay the immense value of containerization to world trade in perishables. The refrigerated container has opened up international markets and has allowed food, pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive goods to be shipped safely and cost-effectively over very long distances. The current trend for pharmaceutical supply chains to shift from air to ocean is at least partially driven by the more controlled cold chain that containerization can provide, helping to meet new regulatory requirements such as the EU Good Distribution Practice (GDP) rules for medicinal products.

But GDP and other major new legislation such as the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) also highlight how governments around the world are themselves seeking to improve supply chain risk management in a global trade environment, especially for products that will be consumed by humans. Temperature control and traceability go hand in hand in this tougher legal environment. And shippers, mainly, are liable for compliance.

Over the next few years, the increased risks of container operations, plus new regulations such as GDP and FSMA, will make cold chain visibility and chain of custody data more important than ever before. Machine-to-machine (M2M) telematics and sensors, as part of the Internet of Things (IoT), will play an important role for many supply chain stakeholders. Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 3. Maritime / AIS, 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , ,

Satellite AIS: Novel Data Uses and the Year that Was

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2016 was a historic year for ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS data business, and started in the glow of the successful launch of our new OG2 satellites, which have continued to improve our industry-leading Automatic Identification System (AIS) service.

satellite aisWe’re now able to process over 18 million messages per day, and are tracking and monitoring over 180,000 unique vessels per day. Maritime and terrestrial customers alike are now receiving up to 10 times more satellite passes and up to 14 times more views per day, which is well ahead of our competitors.

With several recent wins in both the government and commercial sectors, ORBCOMM has reaffirmed its position as the industry’s preferred provider of satellite AIS data:

(Read ORBCOMM’s full 2016 Year in Review here)

Last year also saw an increasing number of examples of new and innovative uses for AIS data, beyond traditional vessel location and collision avoidance. Here are a just a few that we covered: Read more ›

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

IoT Technology Roundup: Setting the Standard for Modems, Devices and Connectivity

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satellite modems for M2M and IoTLast year was a transformative time in terms of technology, devices and connectivity for our Internet of Things (IoT) solution providers, and started on the heels of the historic launch of our new OG2 satellites, which have helped us provide unmatched coverage for an even broader set of M2M and IoT applications.

Soon after the launch, we released the completely interchangeable OG2 and OGi satellite modems.The modems provide customers with plug-n-play satellite connectivity using the ORBCOMM VHF or Inmarsat L-band networks. 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.

On the devices front, 2016 saw the release of several innovative new products, including the cellular-only version of our popular IDP-782 terminal (originally available in dual-mode), ideal for vehicle tracking, driver monitoring and other applications. For heavy equipment, ORBCOMM launched the new PT 7000—a ruggedized, two-way heavy equipment tracking and monitoring device. And we’re picking up 2017 right where we left off by announcing that the latest version of our solar-powered GT 1100 is the first LTE-enabled, dual-mode device approved for use on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

Furthering our strategy of expanding our geographic reach, last year we increased our footprint in the fast-growing African IoT market. With the acquisition of Skygistics, a long time distribution partner of ORBCOMM subsidiary SkyWave, we gained an established sales base and distribution network of over 250 customers across 22 African nations.

IoT and M2M SIMsBesides our global footprint, ORBCOMM is also unique in its depth and breadth of IoT connectivity offerings. ORBCOMM’s unique partnerships give us access to a wide selection of wireless SIM card options and cost-effective cellular connectivity for a variety of OEM, IoT and M2M applications.

Finally, with last year’s introduction of ORBCOMM’s Enterprise IoT Toolkit, we now provide every layer of the stack required to develop market-specific M2M and IoT solutions. Covering devices, connectivity, subscriber management, device management, software and application enablement, our toolkit components are available together, or separately, with the added benefit that they are interoperable and come with a single point of contact for support.

IoT stack

The ORBCOMM IoT Toolkit: A Complete Suite Enabling the Quick and Cost-Effective Development of IoT Solutions

With ORBCOMM at the forefront of IoT innovation, it’s an exciting time to be heading up our OEM and Solution Provider channel, and I look forward to helping you and your business prosper in 2017.

What moved the needle for your organization in 2016? Please post your comments below, and feel free to contact us anytime to discuss smart IoT technology.

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 2. Heavy Equipment, 3. Maritime / AIS, 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks Tagged with: , , , ,

Remote Monitoring Best Practices: 5 Real World Scenarios

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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.

remote monitoringThe applications for off-the-shelf, ‘plug & play’ remote monitoring systems are broad, limited only by the range of sensors they can integrate, and construction and communications capacities. Here are 5 real world situations where this new technology has already proven its value.

1. Mining
The release of dangerous substances through normal mining operation is fairly routine – from flaring, venting and purging, from fugitive gases from loading operations, drilling fluids, cuttings and well treatment chemicals, wash and drainage water, spills and leakage, cooling water and more. Smart continuous environmental monitoring is now possible, ensuring that neighbouring areas are not contaminated, and government regulations are routinely met.

2. Exploration
In recent years, many new projects have focused on discovery and extraction of coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas. In many parts of the world, coal seam gas mining is a most controversial form of mining, and those that carry it out are well aware of the risk of closure or damage to reputation of a mishap.

Regulations mandate strict conditions for companies involved in coal seam gas extraction, to ensure that no coal seam gas-extracted wastewater contaminates the soil. This makes close monitoring of wastewater levels critical, given the large quantities of waste water generated by the fracking process.

3. Asset monitoring
These range from land-based and maritime assets such as wetlands, to harbours, rivers, to airports and off-shore oil rigs, to mobile assets such as cargo on ships or barges.

Cargo may be of high value and therefore attract theft, or it may be dangerous goods, substances and articles that pose a threat to people, property and the environment due to chemical or physical properties. These can be monitored for temperature changes or vibration or leakage.

4. Environmental monitoring
Uses vary from preparation of environmental impact assessments to tracking the impact of human activities on the natural environment. This type of monitoring is often deployed in or near nature conservation areas, which are remote and inaccessible and where regular monitoring is essential for establishing trends in environmental parameters or threats to its health.

5. Watchdog monitoring
Advanced remote monitoring systems are also deployed to monitor critical communications devices that companies rely on in remote areas. These include existing satellite-based monitoring systems or satellite terminals used routinely by organisations, which do not have their own independent power sources. When they’re equipped with solar and battery power, watchdog monitoring systems can detect and report if the power supply is unstable or fails, and thus enables the organisation to respond quickly.

…to learn more, download the full Remote Monitoring Best Practice Guide:

Excerpted from 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


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Posted in 1. Transportation, 2. Heavy Equipment, 3. Maritime / AIS, 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks Tagged with: , ,

Genset Monitoring: Reducing Costs and Protecting Reefer Cargo with IoT Telematics

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Reefer genset monitoring white paperDiesel-powered generator sets – commonly known as gensets – represent a crucial, if often overlooked, element in international refrigerated cargo transport. Today, there are an estimated 40,000 gensets in active service worldwide, providing power to refrigerated marine and intermodal containers moving long distances by rail and road, and at other points along the transport chain where no other external power sources are available.

Historically, the main method to monitor gensets and capture data has been manual, and this is still common today. Shipping line employees, container terminal clerks and inspectors from third-party monitoring companies walk in front of the genset and manually check the fuel level and operating status. This is time-consuming and expensive. In some situations where the genset is on rail it may be virtually impossible to get to the equipment to retrieve the data.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) telematics and Internet of Things (IoT) technology, along with more ubiquitous and affordable connectivity options, have made manual genset monitoring a thing of the past for forward-thinking shipping lines and container terminals.

There are many benefits of genset monitoring that deliver clear ROI, not least of which is the ability to improve fleet management and asset utilization. Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , , , , ,

Multimodal Technology Trends and our Top 5 Smart Container Articles of 2016

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2016 was a great year for our container and ports solutions business, which started on the heels of our exciting acquisition of WAM, a specialist in advanced Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for refrigerated containers and other intermodal assets.

remote container management white paperThroughout 2016, we expanded our already dominant presence in the global container supply chain. We’re proud to be part of Maersk Line’s ground-breaking Remote Container Management (RCM) solution for its global reefer container fleet and have also secured new enterprise and government clients, including Crowley Maritime, Pasha Group and Genset Pool.

Another important OEM relationship is with CIMC of China, the world’s largest manufacturer of shipping containers, which is using ORBCOMM’s OG2 satellite service and modem technology to develop a dual-mode telematics solution for dry containers. R&D work has progressed during 2016 and we have supplied both OGi and OG2 modem chipsets as CIMC builds out its connected container offering.

Cargo theft cost the global supply chain an estimated $22.6 billion in 2015, while illicit trade in drugs, people, wildlife, contraband and counterfeit goods by criminal and terrorist groups is said to be costing the world economy trillions of dollars a year. IoT and M2M technology have a big role to play in combatting cargo crime worldwide, both for detection and prevention.

As such, last year we also launched our CargoWatch® Secure application, providing end-to-end cargo shipment security and condition monitoring. Coupled with our trip-based cargo security devices, the CWS platform allows multiple parties – from shippers, logistics companies and freight forwarders, to port and DC operators, fleet owners, customs/tax and other government agencies – to detect, manage and correct supply chain breaches. (Read ORBCOMM’s full 2016 Year in Review here)

The New CargoWatch® Secure Cargo Security Solution.

The New CargoWatch® Secure Cargo Security Solution

To learn how ORBCOMM’s ReeferConnect can keep your containers and cargo safe and connected, schedule a demo at

As always, please feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss remote container management. Now please take a moment to look back at our Top 5 smart container articles of 2016…

ReeferConnect IoT telematics solution1. Smart Containers are Just the Start: How Connected Assets Will Drive the Digital Supply Chain Revolution
A look inside Maersk ‘s decision to equip its fleet of over 260,000 refrigerated containers with machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that gives global real-time visibility and control of equipment.

2. Safeguarding Cargo Along Containerized Cold Supply Chains
Recent events like the Hanjin crisis have demonstrated how little visibility many shippers have into today’s interconnected container shipping networks…

3. Beyond the Device: Future-proofing Smart Containers
Digitization of global the container supply chain is here and big data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices are playing a critical role…

4. How Connected Containers Help Combat Crime
Cargo crime is getting more sophisticated and more organized, and extends way beyond traditional high-value pharma and electronics. But what can be done?

5. Genset Monitoring: Reducing Costs and Protecting Reefer Cargo
M2M and IoT technology has made manual genset monitoring a thing of the past for forward-thinking carriers, shipping lines and container terminals…


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

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