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Companies Testing IoT System When Goods Are 'On the Road'

A waste-management firm and a high-value goods logistics provider are piloting a solution from Barcoding Inc., using CalAmp sensor devices and tags as well as software to capture and manage data about goods—even when they are in transit—via a combination of cellular, Wi-Fi, BLE and other technologies.
By Claire Swedberg

In the case of the waste-disposal based pilot, which is taking place in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, CalAmp SC1004 sensor devices are being applied to each rail container loaded with garbage destined for a receiving station. Another SC1004 device is attached to the chassis on which the rail container is loaded. Each of the two devices can transmit data via a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, depending on the network that is available at any specific location, thereby providing 100 percent coverage across the supply chain.

Users can store data in the software linked to the container, such as whether that container is full or empty, where it originated, what type of waste is being transported within it and its destination. The company is tracking where the containers and chassis are located, when and where they are separated, and where they end up after the container has been emptied. There are six points of interest, O'Boyle explains, such as loaded stations or disposal sites, where the data is collected.

The second pilot, O'Boyle says, is being conducted on the U.S. East Coast by a high-value goods logistics company whose products can be valued up to $100,000. Even the loss of a single product, therefore, can be significantly expensive. Thus, the technology is being used to track where the palletized products are located at any given time, as well as where they are delivered.

The company is applying SC1004 devices to pallets and storing parameters in the software for each tagged item, such as the type of product and its manufacture date, as well as its delivery location. The iOn Tag smart sensors transmit to the SC1004 device, which forwards their location periodically as the product remains in transit to a customer. If it stops at a specific location, that data is identified and stored in the software. If it remains at a specific location long enough to determine that a product was delivered, that location information can be compared against the scheduled delivery address in order to confirm that the item has been properly deposited at the customer site.

Both pilots are expected to conclude after four to six months, O'Boyle says. While they both represent new customers for Barcoding Inc., he notes, the company is presently in discussions with many of its existing customers already using the AAT solution to add the CalAmp-based functionality to track goods in transit.

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