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A Bird's-Eye View

The SMART Container, voted the best new product at RFID Journal LIVE!, provides a new level of visibility into cargo shipments.
By Paul Prince
Jun 01, 2009—On April 29, RFID Journal presented the third annual RFID Journal Awards to four companies for outstanding achievement in radio frequency identification technology at RFID Journal LIVE! 2009, the seventh annual conference and exhibition. The winners were:

Charles Vögele Group for best RFID implementation

Focus Magazine for most innovative use of RFID

Vail Resorts for best use of RFID in a service

The SMART Container's control unit (shown attached to the container's ceiling) works in conjunction with the Blackbird Wing, which functions as an RFID portal.
Best in Show: ODIN Technologies
Millions of cargo containers cross the world's oceans and continents each year, and technology vendors have offered a variety of solutions to secure and track those containers and their contents. But each has limitations. An electronic seal, for example, can indicate whether a container's door has been broken, but it can't identify the goods inside the container or track the container's location 24-7.

ODIN's SMART Container system not only overcomes all these limitations, it also can be deployed in minutes. The system features a battery-powered control unit (about the size of a carry-on suitcase) that consists of a computer, GPS receiver and communications array. To monitor the status of shipments, the control unit can accommodate sensors that measure conditions such as motion, sound and temperature.

The control unit works in conjunction with ODIN's new Blackbird Wing, which has a built-in EPC Gen 2 RFID interrogator. It functions as an RFID portal, automatically identifying the tag of every pallet, case or item that's loaded into—or removed from—a container.

The communications array can transmit the container's contents, whereabouts and security status in real time via a satellite, cellular or Wi-Fi connection, or a built-in 433 MHz active RFID tag. The control unit and wing are contained in rugged enclosures with powerful magnets that enable them to be attached quickly to a container's interior steel walls.

"The SMART Container has the ability to always know not only the location but the contents of containers, down to the unit level, at any point in transit," says Patrick Sweeney, ODIN's founder and CEO. "It's like a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] for logisticians."

Other Winners

The award recipients (from left to right): Frank-Michael Müller, CEO, Focus Magazine; Robert Urwiler, CIO, Vail Resorts; Patrick Sweeney, CEO, ODIN Technologies; and Thomas Beckmann, VP of group supply chain management, Charles Vögele. Photograph by Tom Hurst.

Click on the links below to read about the other 2009 RFID Journal Award winners:

Charles Vögele Group for best RFID implementation

Focus Magazine for most innovative use of RFID

Vail Resorts for best use of RFID in a service
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