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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
Jan 24, 2018

Two companies have begun testing a new Internet of Things (IoT)-based solution from Barcoding Inc., leveraging technology from telematics provided by CalAmp that aims to fill the gaps in traditional RFID-based supply chain visibility—namely, when goods are in transit. Barcoding's Active Asset Tracker (AAT) solution employs CalAmp's sensor technology—the SC1004 sensor device and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled iOn Tag—to allow Barcoding's customers to view, in real time, the locations and conditions of assets and cargo, even in places where RFID technology infrastructure isn't feasible.

The U.S. companies currently testing the technology are a waste-disposal organization and a high-value goods logistics company. Both firms have asked to remain unnamed.

Barcoding Inc.'s AAT solution traditionally leverages active RFID-based sensors that transmit data regarding the locations of the goods and assets to which they are attached, explains Tom O'Boyle, Barcoding Inc.'s director of RFID. The solution helps companies, such as manufacturers, logistics providers and retailers, manage the movement, storage and condition of goods passing through facilities. However, once RFID-tagged goods are loaded onto a truck, and until they are received at another location with the necessary RFID receivers or other location-based technology infrastructure, they are not visible to the software.

As a telematics company, Irvine, Calif.-based CalAmp offers solutions that capture data about shipments from smart sensor devices and tags far beyond RFID receivers. Its customers use the CalAmp solution for safety and compliance, as well as for supply chain visibility, and include pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers and retailers of perishable foods. The CalAmp SC1004 tag comes with a built-in sensor, as well as GPRS, GPS and Wi-Fi functionality, in addition to the iOn Tag's BLE feature. In that way, the device continues to forward data about its location and environment, wherever it may be, using cellular connections.

With the new solution, data transmitted by the SC1004 and iOn Tags is captured on CalAmp's SC iOn Command Portal. The software analyzes the data and reports actionable business intelligence back to the user. For instance, says Jeff Newman, CalAmp's VP of business development, the CalAmp SC1004 device can be placed inside a cargo container. When combined with the iOn Tag smart sensors at the pallet level, information including temperature and humidity, as well as shock or light, are gathered to better capture incidents, such as a fallen box or pallet, or the opening of a container (based on the presence of light).

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