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Savi Technology Offers Cold-Chain RFID Deployments in Africa

Several African agencies and oil companies have been using a Savi RFID solution known as OMNIS, from SGS, to provide traceability of oil and gas shipments; now the company is in discussions to track cold-chain goods as they are transported by truck, in order to identify or prevent thefts.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 28, 2017

Sensor-analytics company Savi Technology is currently in discussions with businesses in Africa to track cold-chain goods as they are transported by truck, and thereby identify or prevent thefts. African agencies and oil companies have already been using a Savi Technology radio frequency identification-based solution known as OMNIS, from SGS, a Geneva, Switzerland-based inspection, verification, testing and certification services firm, to provide traceability of oil and gas shipments.

The technology enables users to manage the location of their cargo, such as oil and gas, and to confirm that it has not been tampered with as it is moved in tanker trucks through the supply chain, down roads and across borders. The OMNIS system has reduced the loss of cargo for the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and other agencies.

Savi's Vicki Warker
Several companies that offer perishable food or other products plan to use the technology in Africa as well, to detect where their trucks are located, the temperatures at which the goods are transported and whether the containers have ever been tampered with. If tampering does occur, they will know when and where that happens.

SGS has provided its cargo-tracking services in Kenya since 2012, including electronic seals, readers and software from Savi, to automate data collection regarding cargo in transit (see Tanzania Adopts SGS RFID Cargo Tracking). The technology enables oil companies or African governments to track cargo from major loading points in Kenya to destinations in Tanzania and Rwanda. SGS's system helps companies secure their shipments of oil. Many of these truckloads of oil or gas are vulnerable to theft as they move from a loading point to a customer.

When a truck is parked, idling at a traffic light or driving very slowly, thieves can approach the vehicle, open the valve and collect the high-value oil or gas within a container, then escape without being detected by the driver. In other cases, a complicit driver may be aware a theft is taking place and may enable it to happen by stopping his or her vehicle.

Savi's Mobile Tracking System, built into OMNIS, consists of SaviSecure electronic seals with active 2.4 GHz RFID transponders, using a proprietary air-interface protocol built inside. The seals detect whether the enclosure to which they are attached has been breached, and transmit that status to a reader installed on each vehicle—installed either in the cab or on top of the container or trailer.

The Savi electronic seals and readers create what Vicki Warker, Savi's chief marketing officer, calls a small network on each conveyor device. Every vehicle typically has 12 to 16 electronic seal devices attached to enclosures and valves around its tank, and readers which capture and manage the data and then forward it, along with a GPS location, to a server via a GPRS cellular connection.

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