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Partnership Combines Wireless Sensors and Live Detectives

The security solution enables customers to track shipments using cellular-based sensor technology and a manned response team, and via RFID for high-value items.
By Claire Swedberg
For any theft attempt, Flemming says, a security solution requires technology to detect that attempt, along with a human response from a fleet of detectives employed by FCS throughout the United States. "There are systems out there—GPS systems—to track location only," he states. Those using such GPS systems, he says, "were getting tons of reports—it's moving, it's moving." The information that interests his customers, he notes, is simply whether the cargo is being stolen, which can be detected by a Sentry device with sensors to detect light from an open door, vibration from an impact against a trailer, or a trailer's movement in the wrong direction.

The Sentry device transmits approximately every 15 minutes, remaining dormant between those times. It can, however, transmit immediately if it senses an exceptional event, such as vibration or light. That data is then forwarded to a Web-based server, and FCS' dispatch staff is alerted in the event that an incident occurs. The staff is trained to evaluate the technology's data in order to determine if a response is necessary, and can call in detectives if required. The company's customers are not currently utilizing the RFID-enabled case, Cuban says, though other customers—such as art auctioneers—are doing so, and FCS' customers could use the system as well.

About a year and a half ago, Flemming says, he began working with OnAsset to develop technology that would provide more than just location data. The team spent several months testing the Sentry GSM-based solution with mock scenarios of theft attempts, in order to determine whether the system could detect that attempted theft.

To date, Flemming says, his company has monitored 14,887 shipments and $386 million worth of cargo via the partnership. The number of attempted thefts has dropped, he notes, while successful thefts have been reduced almost to zero. According to Flemming, six people have been apprehended and prosecuted over the past year as a result of the partner solution.

OnAsset Intelligence has also signed a partnership with Southwest Airlines Cargo, which will now accept cargo shipments containing the Sentry 400 FlightSafe device, which transmits via GSM cellular connections.

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