Use of IoT technology to manage, track and locate goods at sea

Marc Pégulu of Sensing Products on the best way to track your box shipments.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing ecosystem of tech companies that solve challenges and make the world a better place. Whether it’s managing soil levels on remote farms for better crops or connecting devices inside our homes, this technology manages, tracks and locates all kinds of things everywhere.

However, much of the IoT is about land-based activities, despite the fact that 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Our oceans are used to transport goods around the world, but monitoring applications in the world’s oceans are limited and historically extremely difficult.

The World Shipping Council’s 2020 report estimates that there are an average of 1,382 containers lost at sea each year. Add to that the unexpected slowdown in arrival times and the transport of packages from factory to freighters to fleets and to store shelves undamaged and on time. This is an ongoing industry issue and what does it mean for vendors when these scenarios occur? Put simply, unhappy customers and a drastic loss in sales.

LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® standard provide businesses and individuals who want to leverage the IoT with long-range, low-power solutions that are flexible, scalable and easy to implement. Using LoRa for wireless sensors with precise geolocation allows companies to monitor many variables while vessels are at sea, including the condition of shipping containers and the condition of machinery, energy efficiency, measurements environmental and freight.

This data can even be used to perform preventive maintenance.

The sensors are placed in shipping containers and can detect when a container is opened and / or closed, monitor the temperature of heat-sensitive cargo (as needed) and provide end-to-end tracking of each container. The information captured by the sensors is transmitted to gateways using LoRa which transmit the data to a network and to an application server for information processing. Sensors using LoRa provide real-time information and automated alerts on cargo status to traders and port staff through a computer or mobile device. Real-time data always ensures that in the event of a container being exceeded, the fleet captain will be alerted in real time and can potentially mitigate the loss of any other cargo.

IoT solutions such as long-range and low-power technology are not only scalable and easy to implement, but also bridge the technology gap of cellular and Wi-Fi / BLE networks that require either high bandwidth or high power. , or have limited range or inability to connect to terrestrial networks. In addition, these sensors do not require GPS and use batteries that can last up to 20 years, making them extremely cost effective, easy and efficient for customers, port agents, buyers and suppliers.

Main features of LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard:

Long range : Unlike other connectivity protocols, LoRa can provide access even in the most remote areas, as well as indoor coverage. LoRa’s range can go up to 15-30 miles without losing connectivity, ensuring the sensors are always connected and capturing data.

Low battery: The LoRaWAN standard provides the ultimate battery life, up to 20 years depending on the application.

Geolocation: Allows application tracking without additional GPS module or unnecessary power consumption; while ensuring extreme precision.

Open standard: The global LoRaWAN standard provides interoperability between applications, IoT solution providers and telecommunications operators like no other solution available.