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Retailers Track Reusable Crates via the IoT

Sensize offers a cellular-based asset-management system using Arm's connectivity and its own Internet of Things sensor and software to provide supermarkets with location data regarding crates used for home delivery in the United Kingdom, as well as companies moving goods in large plastic magnum boxes.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 16, 2019

Reusable packaging management company Sensize is offering an Internet of Things (IoT)-based solution that enables its customers to view the locations of thousands of crates, pallets or other reusable containers as they are deployed around the world. Supermarkets, manufacturers, logistics suppliers and other companies are using the technology to better manage the use of those containers as goods are moved to customers.

To enable a seamless IoT connection, Sensize is leveraging a connectivity solution from Arm. Arm's Pelion Connectivity Management service provides IoT global connectivity via cellular transmissions from locations around the world. It provides software that manages the transmitted data. Sensize's IoT trackers and Microsoft Azure-based software provide location data. Some companies are also employing Sensize trackers with temperature and impact sensors to not only understand items' locations, but also the conditions to which reusable containers (and, therefore, the goods loaded within them) are exposed.

Sensize's Luke D'Arcy
The Pelion Connectivity Management service works with local service providers to offer global connectivity so that companies can connect and manage all of their devices via a single contract and user interface, according to Niall Strachan, Arm's director of product for Pelion Connectivity Management. Arm supports a variety of connectivity protocols beyond cellular as well, such as LoRa and LPWAN, although cellular is the most pervasive. The firm also provides Pelion Data Management, a service that manages the collected data and also generates analytics, as well as related connectivity services such as real-time billing information and an application programming interface (API) to enable integration to a specific user's system (such as Sensize's).

Sensize uses the data to provide customers with a view into where their assets are located, says Luke D'Arcy, Sensize's director, or to issue alerts related to delays or the misrouting of those items. The Sensize technology is in use predominantly by U.K. companies, though it is also being deployed, or is under discussion for deployment, by customers throughout Europe and most recently in the United States, D'Arcy reports.

One example involves the tracking of magnums—large plastic reusable crates used to move everything from food and pharmaceuticals to electronic parts and liquids. The box, which measures 4 feet by 4 feet, has foldable sides and can sometimes end up missing in the supply chain. Some companies have reported losing half of the magnums in their inventory annually. Sensize's trackers enable them to better view where their magnums were lost, whether during the shipping process, during cleaning or at a customer's own warehouse.

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