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DLA Plans IoT Solution for Tracking Assets at Texas Facility

The agency has signed a multi-million-dollar contract with Savi to initially track the movements of 24,000 vehicles and other high-value assets at the Red River Deport, as well as wherever the vehicles are deployed around the world.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 22, 2018

Supply-chain and asset-management technology company Savi has signed a contract with the United States' Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to provide Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track approximately 24,000 military assets—primarily vehicles—as they move around the world. The system employs technology provided by Orbcomm, an IoT firm that makes communications solutions to track, monitor and control assets, while Savi provides sensor-based analytics, software and hardware. Orbcomm's contribution consists of solar-powered cellular sensors that transmit data as assets move around the DLA's facility, as well as from other locations worldwide.

The order is part of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s RFID-IV contract (#W52P1) between military agencies and technology providers for tracking assets and their in-transit visibility as they move around the globe. Since 2013, Savi has provided nearly all of the DoD's RFID-related contracts, totaling $800 million (see U.S. DoD Reaffirms Commitment to Savi as Sole RFID-IV Provider).

Rosemary Johnston
The new DLA deployment will take place at the Red River Distribution Depot in Texas, one of the agency's eight depots. The facility provides support for tracked and wheeled vehicles, aircraft and major weapon systems, including repair, storage and shipping. The depot serves as the storage site for the U.S. Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicles Systems, as well as several rocket systems and multipurpose wheeled vehicles.

The solution will consist of Orbcomm's cellular devices, transmitting GPRS- or CDMA-based data that is managed by Savi's Visibility real-time asset location and analytics software, according to Rosemary Johnston, Savi's VP of operations. Orbcomm's GT 1100 devices include solar-powered units to supplement the power of an onboard lithium-ion battery, as well as GPS unit and satellite communication. A ruggedized enclosure is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, as well as exposure to water, dust, shock and vibration.

The sensor measures 114 millimeters by 337 millimeters (4.9 inches by 13.3 inches) and 25 millimeters (1 inch) in thickness. The device's solar functionality enables the battery to have a lifespan of typically five to 10 years. This offers reliable service without maintenance or battery change across a typical asset's lifecycle, says Greg Flessate, ORBCOMM's senior VP for government and maritime. It is designed to go into either standby sleep mode or deep sleep. The sensors leverage solar energy not just from direct sunlight, but also from ambient light, even if a vehicle is parked away from natural lighting.

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