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Ctrack Markets RFID-based Cargo-Tracking Seals in Europe

The technology, known as ISIS, enables companies to record which goods are loaded onto and removed from a particular truck—information that can be coupled with sensor data about the location of the vehicle itself.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 20, 2014

Vehicle-tracking solution provider Ctrack, based in South Africa, has begun marketing its Integrated Security Intelligent Solution (ISIS) in Europe. ISIS employs active radio frequency identification tags to help logistics and security firms identify the cargo that delivery trucks are carrying, and determine whether that cargo is being dropped off at the correct time and location. Ctrack sells the technology to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that are building the tags into their own electronic security seals for customers in logistics or other industries involving a fleet of vehicles. The active RFID tags transmit real-time tamper alerts and battery-level alerts, as well as provide optional temperature and humidity monitoring.

Two companies in Asia have been piloting ISIS for the past year, both of which have begun ordering thousands of RFID-enabled electronic security seals known as I-Seals, with built-in battery-powered reusable RFID tags, to track goods as they are delivered by vehicle, beginning this month. The I-Seals and tags are assembled by Mega Fortris in Malaysia, while the ISIS hubs—telematics devices into which the RFID hardware is installed—are manufactured by Ctrack's parent company, DigiCore, also based in South Africa.

One of the I-Seal models is integrated with a wire cable that can be attached to a pallet and then locked shut, so that the cable or seal would have to be broken or cut in order to be removed.
Based on the success of the two pilots, Ctrack has begun offering the solution in Europe, as well as in other parts of the world, such as South and Central America, Australasia and Africa. Ctrack is actively seeking distribution partners for North America as well, says Richard Lane, the distribution and partnership manager of DigiCore's European division, based in the United Kingdom. This month, he reports, several logistics and security firms plan to begin piloting the technology in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Holland.

Ctrack was launched in Johannesburg in 1985, to provide a solution for tracking commercial vehicles. The company's current vehicle-tracking solutions employ GPS-based data, along with sensor measurements, to identify where a vehicle is located and how it is being operated. Prior to ISIS' introduction, however, Ctrack's solutions were unable to track what was loaded onto a particular vehicle, or what happened to that cargo.

For example, companies often contend with a loss of goods that a driver may claim to have delivered even though the customer says it never received them. Management may then be unable to confirm whether the missing items were loaded onto a specific vehicle, Lane says—and, if they were, the date, time and location at which they went missing.

To address the problem, Ctrack began developing ISIS several years ago. The result is a solution to track not only a vehicle's location, operation and condition, but also its cargo. The RFID-based system consists of the active UHF RFID tag seals developed and provided for this solution by Mega Fortris, as well as DigiCore's own RFID reader built into a device that Ctrack calls a telematics hub, mounted in a vehicle's cab, trailer or container. The hub receives RFID tag transmissions along with other sensor data (such as GPS location or accelerometer readings), and forwards that information to a server via GPRS, Wi-Fi or satellite communications. "The development [of the I-Seals] took more than two years," says Sam Ng, Mega Fortris' general manager of operations, "and is the culmination of innovation and dedication by both Mega Fortris and DigiCore."

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