AIS and M2M: The New Dynamic Duo in the Protecting our Oceans Against Illegal Fishing

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ais data advantagesAccording to a recent UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing may account for over 15% of fish caught (not farmed) in the global fishery. In addition to causing economic damage, these actions can threaten local biodiversity and food security in many countries. Unfortunately, none of this come as a surprise to anyone involved in global fishery management.

There is Hope for Curbing IUU Fishing

But all is not doom and gloom. Many actors are taking actions to limit IUU fishing. The UN’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) entered into force on June 5, 2016 and promises to be a key driver in the fight against IUU fishing. NGOs like The Nature Conservancy are partnering with fishermen and the fishing industry in collaborative projects that use science, technology and policy to ensure fishermen can have a sustainable business while protecting and restoring fish habitat. Others like Global Fishing Watch ‘advance sustainability through transparency’ by using technology to reveal the location and behaviour of commercial fishing fleets and making this information freely accessible.

ais data powers global fishing watch

Using AIS data from ORBCOMM, Global Fishing Watch maps global commercial fishing activity with a view to fisheries sustainability.

AIS is the First Part of the Vessel Tracking Equation

Tracking commercial fishing vessels is facilitated by technologies like Automatic Identification System (AIS). The International Maritime Organization (IMO) made it mandatory for a AIS Class A transceiver to be installed aboard all ships heavier than 300 gross tons engaged on international voyages and cargo ships of 500 gross tons and upwards not engaged on international voyages by the end of 2004. Local and regional laws subsequently determined which vessels had to have a device fitted and in which waters their use was applied. In 2009, The European Union imposed even stricter regulations requiring fishing vessels 15 meters (49 feet) or longer to carry AIS.

But tracking large ships and fleets only helps with part of the problem.  It’s estimated that about 85 percent of the world’s motorized fishing vessels are less than 12m in length and these small vessels dominate in all regions. AIS Class A transceivers can track these vessels but can be cost prohibitive and require permanent power which is not typically available in this size of vessel. AIS Class B products are well suited to tracking this class of vessels, however there are some challenges here as well.

AIS Class B typically transmits with less power and less frequently than Class A equipment. In areas where there are not many vessels, AIS ground stations and satellites can detect these transmissions and hence track these vessels. The challenge comes in areas with a high density of ships, for example in desirable coastal or near shore fishing areas where local authorities are particularly motivated to track fishing activity. When there is a high density of ships with corresponding high levels of AIS traffic, detection and reception of these transmissions becomes difficult, particularly when masked by higher power Class A transmissions.

AIS + M2M = Vessel Tracking for Fleets of All Sizes

The best way to ensure reliable tracking of small vessels independent of ship density and AIS traffic levels is to add another tracking modality to the dual mode AIS Class B equipment. Adding satellite M2M tracking to a dual mode (terrestrial and satellite) Class B AIS transceiver creates a tri-mode transceiver that solves the problem of AIS messages not being received. This is a robust solution based on tried and proven technology as opposed to gimmicks that purport to resolve problems posed by the physics of radio and satellite communication.

ais device: HaliA partnership between trusted industry players ORBCOMM, Pole Star, and Weatherdock has resulted in the creation of Hali, the first and only tri-mode small craft tracker that combines terrestrial AIS, satellite AIS, and satellite M2M technology all into one affordable and reliable solution.

Hali was created for maritime authorities, enforcement agencies, and small craft fleet owners and operators to deliver vessel location through terrestrial and satellite AIS transmissions, which are augmented with ORBCOMM satellite M2M messaging, ensuring complete vessel visibility to maximise environmental compliance, maritime safety, and security. Tracking data can be integrated into existing regulatory and enforcement software or a standalone tracking application including geofences can be provided.

class B AIS device

Hali, developed by ORBCOMM, Pole Star and Weatherdock, combines terrestrial AIS, satellite AIS and ORBCOMM’s proprietary satellite M2M technology all into one affordable and reliable solution. The result is that protection and accountability are no longer a luxury exclusively for bigger vessels with bigger budgets.

By deploying Hali in smaller fishing vessels, vessels that make up most of the global fishing fleet, maritime authorities and enforcement agencies have a reliable tool they can use to enforce fishing regulations and help put an end to IUU fishing.

To learn more about why AIS+M2M is a game changer in tracking IUU fishing by small vessels, visit ORBCOMM and our partner Pole Star at the World Ocean Summit. The fifth World Ocean Summit will be held at Riviera Maya, Mexico, on March 7-9, 2018 and will grapple with some of the ocean’s most intractable problems–and explore new possibilities.

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

Truck Telematics: Putting the Driver at the Heart of the Matter

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e-log solutionFollowing our 2017 acquisition of truck telematics providers Blue Tree Systems and inthinc, ORBCOMM was recently featured in two Transport Topics articles focusing on the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate regulations from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which from last December 18 requires companies without existing Automated On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) to replace truck drivers’ paper log-books with electronic Hours of Service (HOS) apps.

As Christian Allred, ORBCOMM Senior Vice President of International Solution Sales points out, “the need for ELDs will push fleet operators to search for systems that provide economic benefits and not allow the mandate to be a cost to their business”. (See ELD Mandate Presents Opportunity to Boost Fuel Efficiency, Technology Vendors Say)

Reducing fuel costs is one such benefit and, as discussed in Fuel Economy in Focus, truck telematics systems play a key role in helping carriers “uncover driver behaviors that contribute to fuel waste, including aggressive driving, idling and speeding. With that information at their disposal, fleets can better coach their drivers and identify opportunities to boost efficiency.”

eld devices

Carriers can actually make money by investing in ELDs, through added features designed to enable fuel-economy improvements and other operational efficiencies

The driver is the biggest variable in the performance of a vehicle, but he or she can only do their best in the conditions that they find themselves in. Providing feedback and coaching in a fair and unbiased manner allows drivers to understand the behaviors expected and use the guidance provided to maximize performance, creating an opportunity for everyone to work together in delivering huge efficiency gains.

MPG has long been a key driving performance metric, but it’s not one that can be applied in blanket fashion. The make, model and age of the truck, and the type of driving conditions, all have a significant bearing on just how many miles a driver can squeeze from his or her vehicle for every gallon of fuel. Modern truck telematics technology incorporates sophisticated profiling that allows driver performance expectations to be established at an individual vehicle level

Free e-Book: Distracted DrivingIndeed, the trend we notice in this area is to stop judging the driver on MPG achieved. It’s better to work with the driver to improve the behaviors that are proven to have the biggest effect on fuel economy and, by managing these, the driver will achieve the maximum MPG possible under the conditions that he or she was presented with. When you show a driver his or her score for “anticipation“, for example, and explain how important it is to be a driver that “anticipates” rather than “reacts” to events, the improvement in safety-related incidents as well as performance is dramatic. The same applies to other metrics such as shifting patterns, use of cruise control, acceleration/deceleration patterns, and speeding profile, all of which have a huge effect on overall MPG.

Putting a simple performance scoring app in the hands of the driver that provides feedback on his performance at the end of every trip, and advises on how to achieve the expected results, has proven to be the missing piece in the puzzle.

What do you think is the key to improving driver performance and fleet efficiency? Have your say in the comments below…

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

Canadian ELDs: As the ELD Mandate Settles Across the U.S., Plans for E-logs Move Forward North of the Border

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Canada’s Council of Motor Transport Administrators will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the implementation of the U.S. ELD mandate, as it prepares to bring in its own legislation to introduce ELD devices.

e-log solutionThe Electronic Logging Device mandate went into effect on December 18, 2017, in the U.S. On April 1, 2018, enforcement personnel will start to put Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) out-of-service if they are not device compliant.

Canadian officials have already published a draft set of rules that would make ELDs a lawful requirement for drivers. The proposal seeks to implement the Canadian ELD mandate within two years. Truckers based in Canada are already obliged to use an ELD if traveling into the United States.

What are ELDs and why are they being introduced in Canada?

The ELD mandate requires paper logs to be replaced by Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). The devices record driving time and are implemented as a tool to prevent fatigue in drivers. ELDs are also used to standardize the processes around driver hours. The aim behind the introduction is to reduce driver fatigue, prevent errors, minimize instances of logbook tampering or harassment of drivers.

The Canadian government has linked ELDs with safer roads and preventing fatigue, like the reasons supplied by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It says: “Driver fatigue is recognized in Canada and internationally as a critical risk factor associated with motor vehicle crashes. Fatigue in commercial drivers is especially important given that crashes involving large trucks and buses can cause more severe injuries and more frequent fatalities than private passenger vehicle crashes.”

eld device

ORBCOMM’s Blue Tree system is the only ELD product with a built-in HOS Advisor for drivers to maximize hours based on their current working day/cycle.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said, “It will make our roads safer. For a number of years, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has been pointing to research that shows a universal Electronic Logging Device mandate would have a direct and immediate impact on curbing behaviors strongly linked with higher crash rates such as driving over (their) prescribed limits of service, which leads to fatigue.”

Meanwhile, the introduction of ELDs is broadly welcome by trucking bodies in Canada. The Canadian Trucking Alliance welcomes the introduction of ELDs.

CTA Chair, and owner and president of Orlicks Inc, Gene Orlicks, said about ELDs: “CTA knows Minister Garneau wants to see enforcement of this important safety regulation as soon as possible. During the comment period of the Canada Gazette I process, our sector will be working with all provincial stakeholders to support Minister Garneau’s safety vision.”

To learn more about the U.S. ELD rule, read our blog post: The ELD Mandate is Here: Now What?

When will Canada introduce ELDs?

The Canadian ELD Mandate is still in development and will likely be introduced in a phased way, similar to the U.S. process. The rule is currently open to a 60-day comment period and there are still plenty of details to be debated and confirmed. After that time, legislators can move forward to make it into law.

What are the differences between the U.S. and Canadian ELD mandate rule?

Free e-Book: Distracted DrivingThe Canadian instance of the ELD mandate will likely follow the U.S. rule. This should go a long way in ensuring cross-border regulations and enforcement are consistent. There are already 30,000 trucks per day traveling between Canada and the U.S.

There will, however, be some differences between Canadian and U.S. ELDs:

  • The Canadian mandate will apply to trucks manufactured in 1995 or later. The U.S. rule applies to trucks from 2000 or newer.
  • The sharing of data will be different. In Canada, drivers must be able to display their driving information to enforcement officials, but highly detailed files will not be required. Instead, Canada measures through Cycles, such as Cycle 1 or Cycle 2.
  • The Canadian ELD mandate will require measurement 75km within a 24-hour period of personal conveyance. The U.S. ELD does not have the same requirements.

Canadian ELDs are still very much in development. However, it is expected they would be introduced by 2019. Stay tuned to the ORBCOMM blog for updates as the Canadian ELD mandate draws near.

In October 2017, ORBCOMM acquired BlueTree Systems, a world-class transportation management solution provider with the most advanced and user friendly ELD/HOS solution on the market for medium to large sized fleets. To learn more, visit or email us at

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

Distracted Driving: How Can Fleets Help Truck Drivers?

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Free e-Book: Distracted DrivingDistracted driving is under more scrutiny than ever before. Early this year, Washington State law enforcement suspended a grace period for drivers found using electronic devices. Now, drivers caught using cell phones, tablets, laptops or personal gaming systems are subject to fines.

Law enforcement officials will continue to prioritize it. As extensive enforcement comes into place, drivers, fleet managers and anyone with access to a vehicle must be aware of the implications and preventions.

Distraction Impacts Everyone

The problem of distracted driving has become more acute over the last decade or so with the advent of mobile phones and satellite navigation devices. However, in that time, its impact has grown and now distraction affects close to 90% of drivers.

A recent study of three million anonymous drivers, over three months, found 88% of drivers using a smartphone while in control of their vehicle. The average phone use was 3.5 minutes per hour, which is shocking when you consider that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds increases the risk of a crash by 20 times.

Distracted driving can be described as” any activity that diverts attention from driving.” This includes a broad range of activities like talking or texting on a phone, watching a video or completing paperwork. Perhaps the most surprising type of distraction is the simple act of talking to a passenger.

The Problem of Distracted Driving in Trucking

Distracted driving is just as serious an issue for drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) and trucks. In fact, it’s even more of a concern with over 5.9 million registered CMV drivers on US highways. The risk of an accident caused by distraction is high. The FMCSA reports that nearly 80% of crashes involved some kind of driver distraction in the 3-second lead-up to the crash or near-crash.  Officials agree that distraction is a significant factor in crashes and near-misses on our roads.

In addition to the catastrophic loss of life caused by distracted driving, the business implications for truck fleets can be far-reaching. Penalties for distracted driving include heavy fines for the driver and the employers.

The FMCSA has brought in rules to stop distracted driving specifically in CMVs, including civil penalties for the driver up to $2,750 and disqualification. Fleet owners are subject to fines up to $11,000.  Non-compliance with regulations can result in disqualification, being put out of service and can impact CSA ratings.

What Can be Done to Minimize Distracted Driving?

As law enforcement officials continue to battle against distractions on the road, drivers need to be alert to the dangers and penalties for distracted driving.

The key goal of the push to stop distracted driving is to limit technology use to a single touch. The solution is for technologies that allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, while still allowing information to flow freely: text-to-speech functionality, visual cues that won’t distract the driver and color schemes that do not take attention off the road.

e-log solutionTruck fleet managers can proactively work to prevent distraction with processes that discourage it. Dispatchers can deliver job information on arrival at a drop-off point or management can officially ban mobile phones as a way of communication with professional drivers.

Most truck drivers display the height of professionalism, but there are instances when their attention is taken off the road ahead. Through a combination of driver training, best practice guidelines and distraction-free technology, truck drivers and fleet managers can look forward to staying safe on the road without distractions.

To help the industry on the path to greater fleet safety, we have created a new e-Book to identify distraction and help truck drivers and fleet managers prevent it.  This new must-read for fleet managers goes into detail on what drivers can do, what fleets can do and how technology can help prevent distracted driving.

Download the new e-Book here: Distracted Driving: How Can Fleets Help Truck Drivers?

Whether for truck, dry van, reefer or mixed fleets, ORBCOMM provides the total visibility needed to allow fleet managers to optimize fleet safety and utilization, reduce costs, ensure compliance and more. That’s why top trucking companies trust us for reliable, cost-effective, easy-to-use tracking, monitoring and control. To learn more, schedule a demo or contact us at; 1-800-ORBCOMM (or outside the US at +1-703-433-6329). 

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 2. Heavy Equipment, 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities Tagged with: , , ,

20 Industrial IoT Blogs You Should Bookmark Today

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As Internet of Things (IoT) technology continually evolves and new innovations are born, innumerable bloggers are meticulously reporting on the latest trends in the industrial IoT landscape. There are far too many good IoT resources to list here, but the following 20 blogs are our must-bookmark sites for anyone trying to stay up to speed on the latest developments in industrial IoT:

1: ReadWrite

Billing itself as the buildesatellite tracking device kitrs of the next generation of tech media companies “focused on providing relevant information in a way that favors readers’ productivity instead of page views and time on site”, ReadWrite is a great resource. The site leverages cutting-edge IoT-focused content by aggregating communities devoted to specific topics such as industrial IoT, automotive innovations, AR and VR, fintech, and APIS, among others. Expect deep dives on the latest innovations and a firmly future-facing focus.

2: Forbes

Forbes is a must-include on any technology resource list, and this is no exception when it comes to industrial IoT. Run a search for “industrial IoT” to read up on detailed advice and input from industry-leading IoT masterminds, including blogs covering everything from Q&A sessions to studies on current and future trends. Think of it as a collection of insider tips from IoT professionals who know what the current status of the industry landscape is, and what the future holds.

3: Industrial IoT

For the latest modern thinking on digitizing industry and infrastructure, Industrial IoT is definitely a great source you can count on. With insightful pieces written based on professional experience and deep industry knowledge, this site provides a veritable treasure trove of industrial IoT blog content for those looking for a both a good primer or a deeper dive.

4: Internet of Things Institute

With a great section focusing on industrial IoT, this is a insightful resource for those keen on learning about everything from future-proofing work practices to cybersecurity innovations, and everything in-between. The focus is primarily geared towards manufacturing-based environments.

5: IoTNow

If you’re interested in learning about what the future of IoT looks like, IoTNow is a great place to go. Yes, it focuses on current innovations and modern-day trends in the IoT landscape, but it provides a window with a clearer view of what the future looks like by examining how we utilize these technologies today. Expect a wide variety of topics, covering everything from microservices to AI and product trends.

6: Network World

The Internet of Things news, trend analysis and opinion section of Network World is a fantastic place to settle in and discover a wealth of insider input on where we’re collectively headed, what’s working and what isn’t, and how tech innovations continue to shape our society. From IoT security to AI and fog computing, there’s no shortage of in-depth and compelling pieces for readers to dig into.

7: IoT Central

IoT Central is one of the most information-rich online resources connecting IoT professionals and researchers alike who are focused on products, services, and opportunities with a future-facing twist. With member blogs and pieces covering everything from the latest CES reveals to studies on blockchains, there’s a wide array of topics covered here, professionally and with pinpoint accuracy.

8: TechProductManagement

Designed to provide optimal training for IoT Project Managers, TechProductManagement provides insightful pieces exploring everything from how to monetize your IoT product to shop talks with industry-leading experts.

9: VertiAI

A simply organized, clean, and easy-to access collection of articles pertaining to heavier and more specific topics involving fusing subject matter expertise, data science and business models. Particular standouts include industrial IoT podcasts, and pieces on keys to successful IoT deployments and barriers to IIoT adoption.

10: Connected World

Another great resource for research driven IoT blogs is Connected World. Built on the premise of delivering top-quality content to researchers and industry professionals keen to enhance their knowledge of IoT applications in manufacturing and society, it consistently is updated with insightful, compelling blog entries and podcasts that ask the right questions and focus on presenting the facts from the experts’ perspectives.

11: IoT Evolution Magazine

An online magazine focused specifically on educating readers on the best ways to apply IoT into their applications and day-to-day operations, IoT Evolution Magazine handles the delivery of informing, engaging blog content that raises awareness of key innovations and strategies.

12: Embedded

Embedded is an IoT resource for those with a passion for precise technical details and guidance on processes, hardware and software design, coding, and similar elements of IoT. From pieces profiling IoT project design specifics to articles explaining the evolution of embedded software coding over the past 20 years, this is a must-bookmark site for those with a passion for systems development.


For those interested in learning how to improve their soldering skills and make their projects more efficient, is a wonderful resource. Discover blogs detailing step-by-step assemblies of circuit boards, program control systems, PCBs and much more without skipping a single important detail along the way. Need a quick IoT solution for feeding your pets, knowing when your refrigerator is opened, or shooting t-shirts out of a cannon? There’s a hack for that on

14: Embedded Computing Design

Embedded Computing Design’s industry-leading coverage presents an ever-changing array of diverse topics. Their multi-entry series “How to Develop Cross-Industry IoT Interoperability” is just one of several in-depth explorations of IoT development.

15: IBM Internet of Things Blog

Read fascinating pieces written by the experts of IBM on systems integration, hardware and software lifecycles, and product engineering innovations, just to name a few. Updated frequently (sometimes with multiple posts at once), it is one of the most frequently updated and educational IoT blogs we’ve come across in recent memory.

16: LinkLabs

LinkLabs combines a healthy mix of in-depth explorative pieces and listicles. Whether you’re interested in learning more about IoT cybersecurity or want to understand the differences and similarities between mesh, star and point-to-point topology, there’s a little bit of something here for everyone (and expertly researched, also).

17: TechTarget IoT Agenda

A great collection of studies, guides, and insights on the impacts IoT innovations are making in business and manufacturing applications, TechTarget’s IoT Agenda is a powerful resource for anyone interested in gaining not only a grasp of the basics, but also insights from industry-leading experts. Analytical in nature and thought-provoking to say the least, the entries on offer here provide engagement and encourage future-facing thinking.

18: IoT Council News

For the latest and most up-to-date developments in the IoT universe, IoT Council News is a site to not be missed. Filled to the brim with the latest scoops and insider news on technological advancements, it also delivers input from experts on everything from VR to cybersecurity in easy-to-digest pieces.

IoT SIM cards19: Postscapes

Postscapes’ Tracking the Internet of Things section serves to, according to the description, “frame and filter Internet of Things (IoT) products, services, and ecosystems”. It indeed delivers on that statement, giving readers access to uniquely written and research-intensive articles covering everything from developments with the latest start-ups to tips on how to maximize asset health.

20: Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog                     

Our last must-follow blog on the list certainly isn’t one to leave out of your collection of bookmarks. The Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog provides readers with informative snapshots of the latest developments, spotlighting the ways IoT has shaped our current manufacturing and business practices as well as how we live.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the bevy top-quality IoT blogs out there. Have your own gems to share? Post your favorites in the Comments section below…

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

Webinar: Global Supply Chain is Transformed by IoT Connectivity: Feb. 28

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IMC IoT M2M CouncilFebruary 28, 2018
11 AM EST (16:00 GMT)
Presented by the IMC IoT M2M Council

With some analysts calling for the number of devices deployed in asset-tracking applications expected to triple by 2022, the global supply chain is replacing traditional bar-code technologies with real-time reporting and management systems. Low-cost connectivity such as LP-WAN and NB-IoT will have their place, but so will satellite tracking for deployments that call for ubiquitous coverage or cold chain tracking of perishables. This session will talk about new connectivity technologies available for supply-chain management, with special emphasis on use-cases that are already deployed in the field.

Sponsored by:



Mike HoldsworthMike Holdsworth, Sector Development Director – Transportation Enterprise, Inmarsat
Mike Holdsworth has worked in telecommunications for over 20 years, primarily in wide area networking, cellular and satellite with a heavy focus around mobility platforms on land, sea and air. He has extensive experience developing technology for tracking and monitoring vehicles and has brought this to Inmarsat’s work in the Logistics sector. Working with existing and new technology Mike leads a number of projects focused around leveraging IoT in the Automotive, Aerospace and Pharmaceutical supply chain. As Inmarsat’s Director of Transport Mike is also responsible for leveraging Inmarsat’s capability across Land, Sea and Air to enable a Globally Connected Logistics environment.

Michael DempseyMichael Dempsey, Vice President, Container and Port Solutions, ORBCOMM
With over 20 years of experience in process automation technologies, Mr. Dempsey is an industry thought leader in the application of technology for shipping, container terminal and port operations.

As ORBCOMM’s Vice President of Container and Port Solutions, Mr. Dempsey is responsible for delivering solutions that provide complete visibility and control of marine and intermodal transportation assets.

Paul Bedard, Senior Manager, Business Development & Strategy Planning, Verizon
Paul BedardPaul has over twenty years in wireless communications in multiple roles at Verizon, with seven years focused on Fleet and Asset Management strategies. He has built and led a team of transportation and logistics “mobility architects”, who delivered integrated IoT and mobility solutions to Fortune 1000 customers, helping to transform their businesses, thus delivering greater value to their clients. Paul has authored and delivered multiple transportation and Asset Management-specific presentations in support of public relations and marketing initiatives, as well as built and strengthened best-in-class channel partner relationships. Today, Paul and his team are responsible for Business Development and Strategic Planning activities in support of Verizon’s suite of IoT Asset Management products.

Get tracking with the industry leader in smart transport telematics

Whether for dry, refrigerated or mixed fleets, trailer and container tracking solutions from ORBCOMM provide the total visibility needed to allow fleet managers to optimize utilization, reduce fuel costs, improve preventative maintenance and more. That’s why the world’s top companies trust ORBCOMM for reliable, cost-effective, easy-to-use tracking, monitoring and control.

To learn more, schedule a demo or email

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Posted in 1. Transportation, 5. M2M/IoT Trends, 6. Networks

Fleet Safety Talk: Life Behind the Wheel in the Oilfield

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oil & gas fleet safetyDriving is quite honestly something that we just take for granted every day. Why you ask? Because it’s become habit. When we climb into our company oilfield cars, trucks and SUVs, our brains are filled with a thousand different thoughts other than driving. Can I make it to work on time in this traffic? What should I fix for dinner? How will my children perform at school today? Is it going to rain?

So why is thinking a problem while driving?

Thinking is a problem while driving because it means you are not focused on what is going on around you, including traffic in front and behind you, whether you remembered to fasten your seatbelt, speeding without even noticing it, or paying attention to what lies ahead.

Vehicle Crash data reported throughout the industry from state and federal agencies as well as independent sources (including the Permian Road Safety Coalition) shows that speed and seatbelt use are the two biggest contributing factors that lead to oilfield-related fatalities, and yet we battle these issues as much today as we did ten years ago.

From 2003 to 2013, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry experienced unprecedented growth, doubling the size of its workforce and increasing the number of drilling rigs by 71 percent. To describe fatal events among oil and gas workers during this period, CDC analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), a comprehensive database of fatal work injuries. Over a third of all worker fatalities were attributed to transportation incidents (479, 40.3%), and more than 50 percent of persons fatally injured were employed by companies that service wells (615, 51.7%).

When you look at the vehicle incidents, as an example in the Permian Basin, there’s a high number of third party-involved recordables, they are at or near intersections and close to town where speed transitions from 70+ mph down to 35-45 mph are common. This is for no other reason than lack of attention while driving and excessive speed.

Take, for example, State Hwy 302 located between Kermit and Mentone, Texas. Traffic from 2010 through 2015 increased from less than 1,000 vehicles per day to more than 5,000. The sheer volume of big trucks blended with light duty vehicles exponentially increased risk and lowered the overall road conditions creating the perfect storm for more incidents. This resulted in 75 recorded incidents during this time frame: 28% Loss of Control, 24% Rear Ended, 15% Head-on, 18% Left Turn, 8% Fixed Object, 4% Right Angle and 3% Side Swiped.

Seventy five percent of these accidents show that the main causes were Failure to Control Speed, Lane Change-Passing, Driver Fatigue, Driver Inattention, and Faulty Evasive Action… all driver behavior-related causes, not road or weather conditions.

The Permian Road Safety Coalition is a perfect example of the industry working with Texas Department of Transportation and other industry experts to evaluate what is happening within their operating area and taking action to improve the condition of the roads and positively affect oil & gas fleet safety.

Why don’t drivers buckle up today? Every time this question comes up in discussion (typically following an accident investigation), managers consistently express frustration that after all these years, employees are still not buckling up. As much as it might surprise and further frustrate company leaders, the answer is that, for most, it’s simply a learned bad behavior. If you look at the sheer number of times that an oilfield service worker gets in and out of his/her truck on any given day, it’s understandable that seat belts would become a nuisance.

We also see instances where an employee gets out of the truck, doesn’t put it in park or set an emergency brake and the truck rolls over him/her. This should never happen, but it does every year. Again, these are learned behaviors that must be changed.

All of that said, the fastest way to implement changes is to consider investing in an In-Vehicle-Monitoring-Solutions (IVMS) program. IVMS programs have become more prevalent over the past few years by companies within the industry looking for ways to curb the number of recordable driving incidents. The overwhelming consensus is that these systems work. IVMS programs have the best impact when the system provides immediate feedback to the driver so that they know they are doing something that is putting them at risk, and they can change the behavior immediately without repercussion. Most of us want to do the right thing and as hard as it is to change the behaviors that put us at risk, we are much more willing to listen and learn when we know we aren’t being scolded or reprimanded for everything we do.

fleet safety device

With state-of-the-art verbal coaching technology, ORBCOMM’s Pro-400 talks to drivers, telling them when they’re speeding, driving aggressively or not wearing a seat belt, helping them develop better driving habits.

With the industry growing again, we have already seen a marked increase in the number of recordable incidents and, sadly, expect this trend to continue. One of the predominant reasons attributed to this is SSE – Short Service Employees, who are statistically proven to be at a 40 percent or greater risk of injury and this includes driving. Risk factors include inexperience driving in the oil patch, an increase in work hours or unfamiliarity with the type of equipment driven in the oilfield. All these factors add up to higher risk for some employees.

This is why it is even more critical to have a system in place that is capable of identifying and addressing risky driver behavior in real time, from the first day the new employee starts to work for your organization.

Originally published in Well Servicing Magazine—a publication of the Association of Energy Service Companies (AESC). To learn more about fleet safety solutions, visit our website,  schedule a demo or contact us at


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Posted in 1. Transportation, 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , , , ,

IoT Router Solutions: 4 Key Networking Considerations

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Router solutions for IoT networkingIf you have a business that requires wireless LTE connectivity for low- or high-bandwidth situations, internet failover, or in-vehicle networks, there are several things to consider before choosing a solution that can save you headaches in the long term.

The right IoT router solution gives your business reliable connectivity when you need it most. It keeps machines and processes connected, branches linked and transactions flowing. It ensures critical data is always captured and transmitted when it needs to be.

Below are some of the most common scenarios for which having the right IoT router solution is key.

Low-bandwidth networks: Point-of-sale machines, ATMs, digital signage, vending machines, payment machines, mobile shops and kiosks, security cameras and small offices

High-bandwidth networks: Medium/branch offices, restaurants, medical clinics and hospitals, construction sites and temporary/pop-up locations

In-vehicle networks: Charter buses, government vehicles, utility vehicles, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, public transportation and heavy equipment

IoT router use cases

However, these days the right IoT router solution is more than just choosing the right device. Software and services are a defining factor – cloud-based management, VPN capabilities, intrusion protection and firewalls, and of course warranty and support should all be factored in to selecting the right solution.

Without reliable connectivity and the right router solution, any one of these scenarios is at risk.

Here are 4 things to consider when choosing an IoT router solution:

  1. There are now a wide range of LTE modules, each with different performance speeds and capabilities. Do you require LTE-Advanced, xLTE, Cat1 LTE or 3G failback for your applications?
  2. Are you looking for mobile usage that can be hardwired into a vehicle, or a router than has the ports, performance and features, such as Wi-Fi and advanced firewall capabilities, to run your entire business?
  3. Does your router solution come from a single point of contact that includes hardware, connectivity, services and support? Or are you sourcing all or some of these components separately? Many companies these days are opting for a one-stop-shop, which can save costs and eliminate headaches if something goes wrong and support is required.
  4. Are you prepared for the future by selecting a product that is software upgradable, provides adequate bandwidth capabilities for future needs, offers a long term warranty and support, and is feature rich for future growth?

cradlepoint router for iot networkingWhile there is a great deal to consider to get that perfect router solution in place, ORBCOMM can help get you on the right track. For example, we’ve just recently announced new packaged LTE router solutions for IoT networking, branch/failover and in-vehicle Wi-Fi. Customers benefit from a turnkey, end-to-end solution from a single point of contact, and receive ready-to-deploy equipment that’s activated, configured and tested with three years of warranty and support.

From one router to thousands, the entire process is streamlined, saving you time and money while ensuring the best possible solution and pricing.

For more information and a free assessment of your business needs, contact us at

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

7 Oil & Gas Assets that Need Remote Monitoring

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oil & gas fleet safetyOil and gas sites require a lot of equipment that often operates in remote locations, making it challenging for energy companies to keep track of operations. To manage some of these complexities, operators are deploying devices that monitor and collect data from field equipment to ensure proper operation, automate processes, and deploy quick corrective measures when issues are detected.

Optimizing operations by remotely tracking oil field equipment

Using a system that works across all operations, energy companies can get production data and notifications on any critical events without the need to dispatch field personnel.

Oil & gas monitoring

Here are seven types of oil and gas asset monitoring that can lead to improved operational efficiencies and cost savings:

1: Compressor Monitoring

Uninterrupted operation of this vital equipment is imperative for profitability. Compressor downtime can cost thousands of dollars per hour in lost production. Often, energy companies don’t know when their production wellhead compressors have stopped functioning unless someone drives to the site and checks on status.

Remote monitoring of compressors helps companies ensure equipment is working at peak capacity. Pressure and temperature readings, as well as reliable and timely information on run-time hours, make it possible to manage production and schedule maintenance activities.

Energy companies can also track shutdown codes and remotely diagnose a problem before dispatching a technician. This increases the likelihood of fixing a problem during the first visit and helps ensure technicians have the right parts, procedures and equipment upon arrival. Fewer visits translate into labor and transportation savings for energy companies.

2: Tank Monitoring

tank monitoringThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that that there are approximately 1.3 million regulated underground storage tanks in the United States, while the American Petroleum Institute (API) estimates there are about 700,000 petroleum storage tanks. Whether they hold oil, condensate liquids or saltwater, tanks can leak, overflow or spill. When this happens, not only do tank owners have the social and environmental responsibility to clean up the damage, they may also be subjected to regulatory fines.

Both above-and-below-ground tanks can be remotely monitored to avoid these costly problems. Level sensors connected to IoT devices can report when the contents of a tank have reached a high level and need to be emptied. These sensors can also be used to detect possible corrosion and leaks when unexplained low levels are detected. Also, remotely monitoring pumps and their power sources can be a cost-effective way to ensure that overflow doesn’t happen.

3: LACT Meter Monitoring

Lease Automatic Custody Transfer (LACT) meters are critical instruments in the ownership transfer of petroleum products from production to gathering companies. Their volume readings help companies determine how much oil is being moved and what to charge. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2015 there were over 600,000 active oil well sites throughout the United States.

Many of these sites are in remote areas where there is little infrastructure and it can take many hours even days of driving to reach them. Remotely monitoring the LACT meters at these sites is the only cost-effective way to accurately bill customers based on volume without physically visiting the site.

4: Rectifier Monitoring

Used in cathodic protection systems for pipelines, tanks, wells and other critical equipment, rectifiers send a current through the exterior of the pipe to keep it from corroding. It is important to monitor the current and voltage sent from these rectifiers in order to lengthen the life of the pipeline and reduce the risk of leaks. Remote monitoring of cathodic protection systems also helps maximize the life of the pipeline network, preventing premature failure by corrosion. Through remote monitoring of rectifiers, pipeline companies reduce the need to physically drive to remote sites to take voltage and current readings. Automated remote monitoring also creates an auditable record trail of pipeline health data, which is legislated in most countries.

5: Test Point Monitoring

Test points measure pipe-to-soil potential to certify effective cathodic protection. Like rectifiers, test points need to be monitored and configured on a regular basis to lengthen the life of underground pipelines and tanks, as well as to reduce the risk of leaks.

According to the EIA, there are over 305,000 miles (488,000 km) of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines. The cost of driving to these sites and checking test points along the vast network can be very costly. Automated remote monitoring of this equipment can pay off very quickly. Remote monitoring solutions can collect data from multiple rectifiers and test points, and send it as frequently as required to increase the efficiency of the system and comply with regulations.

6: PIG Monitoring

Pipeline Inspection Gauges (PIGs) are devices that run inside the pipelines and take readings and pictures to detect anomalies or corrosion that may lead to leaks or bursts. Using tracking devices along pipelines and GPS-synch time and location technology, technicians can align PIG readings with exact location, helping them improve the accuracy of PIG readings and reduce the time and costs associated with doing PIG runs.

pipeline monitoring

7: Gas Meter Monitoring

For large commercial and industrial consumers, a continuous and guaranteed supply of natural gas is a must to keep the business operating. For suppliers of natural gas, being able to predict demand helps them balance how much product they need to purchase and deliver against cash flow.

The remote monitoring of gas meters can help meet the demands of both consumers and suppliers. By gathering daily usage data, supply companies can use the information to forecast purchases by date, quantity and cost. Not only does this enable efficient cash flow management, but it also increases customer satisfaction by allowing suppliers to ensure a steady supply at the most competitive rate.

Which oil & gas remote monitoring system?

scada monitoringThere are many remote monitoring systems in the market and it is important to choose the one that best meets your operational needs. Some considerations when selecting a solution include:

Equipment Interface
Reliable and accurate collection of data from equipment is critical for a remote monitoring solution to meet its promised value. Look for solutions that connect to multiple equipment interfaces and can be configured to report at the frequency that meets your company’s requirements.

Human Interface
Look for a solution that offers a cloud-based interface so that an authorized user can view the data from a portal or mobile device. Also, a solution that delivers alerts by email, text message or phone helps ensure the appropriate personnel are notified.

Not all remote sites have access to power. Look for monitoring solutions that use a power source that works with the equipment already in use. For example, a unit paired with a rectifier can run off the rectifier’s power source or requirements. A tank level monitor can be solar powered. Also, having a back-up battery or a solar option is important where power outages might occur.

Evaluate both the initial and ongoing costs when considering a remote monitoring solution. The remoteness of a location and number of assets being monitored must be taken into account when choosing a solution. Often, deploying a full-scale SCADA system in a remote area can be cost- prohibitive. Look for a solution that can still meet the local monitoring and control functions that the company requires, without the financial burden.

There are many communication options available in the market. Look for a solution that functions with multiple communication modes. A solution that includes cellular and satellite messaging will provide cost-effective options for areas with and without terrestrial coverage. Back-up communication when the primary network fails is key to ensuring uninterrupted visibility of operations.

Reports and Data Integration
A solution with customizable reports will convert data into important information. Integrating data into existing enterprise systems will also ensure that everyone from accounting, production and maintenance can understand what is happening at remote sites in order to increase profitability.

To learn more about ORBCOMM’s portfolio for the energy sector, contact us at and be sure to visit us at Booth 1971 of DistribuTECH, January 23-25 in San Antonio, Texas.

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

Industrial IoT Innovations and Insights: ORBCOMM 2017 Year in Review

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2017 was an exceptionally busy year for ORBCOMM, with new clients, projects, products and acquisitions combining to further strengthen our position as the most comprehensive global provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions.

Before we embark on another busy year shaking things up in the world of fleet and equipment telematics, here is a look back at the year that was in connecting our key markets with the power of the IoT…

Connected industry

In November, ORBCOMM surpassed two million industrial IoT subscribers spanning the transportation & distribution, heavy equipment, maritime, oil and gas and government sectors. This is a significant milestone that reflects both the overall global growth in IoT adoption and ORBCOMM’s expanded market penetration in industrial IoT. It also reflects ORBCOMM’s widening geographical reach (for example, in July, we teamed up with MCN to offer IsatData Pro (IDP) service in China).

From connecting transportation, construction and maritime assets, to providing IoT connectivity for everything from smart grids to smart footwear, ORBCOMM saw growth from both traditional and emerging markets last year. Read more ›

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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: , , , , , , , ,

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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