So, the day has finally arrived when shipment tracking can drill down to the individual package rather than just the trailer, ship, train or plane they are on. According to an article in CBS’s TechRepublic web site, a company called BwWhere Wireless has come up with sensors which use GPS, Wi-fi and similar technologies to track the position of each unit they sell. These devices are quite small and run on 2 AA batteries which are said to last up to ten years with moderate usage. The company showed off this technology at the recent Mobile World Congress tech expo and these trackers utilize an “internet of things” strategy which is like the smart devices now showing up in your homes. These devices don’t use much power, and the ten-year estimate should more than cover several years of more frequent pings in addition to the long-life estimate for moderate use.
Prior to this product debut, tracking of individual packages or crates was difficult especially if the package was larger, was lost, or was in an accident. This is because you relied on carriers to relay information and if there was a delay or accident they weren’t as forthcoming with that knowledge. Tracking of LTL shipments was especially difficult as they were cross-dock loaded several times during their journey. Likewise, ocean shipments have improved in how freight is tracked, but different country, technology, and shipping line standards make continuity of information very difficult. The most reliable information came from full truckload haulers and carriers such as FedEx or UPS as packages are scanned and tracked at every stop.
This technology allows customers to track the package down to whatever level they wish. The service associated with it can incorporate weather delays and traffic problems as carriers report them. These devices can also detect impacts and crashes to help determine if a shipment was damaged or destroyed in transit. As with many tracking systems, proximity alerts can also be incorporated to track if the package is stolen or misplaced. This is all a vast improvement over tracking devices used on trailers which can only track the whole trailer or the vehicle pulling it.
This is important to our customers who buy trailers for a couple of reasons. First, rather than viewing it as a threat, consider offering these trackers as a value-added service or a service upgrade where they are removed upon arrival. Second, consider finding ways to turn the telemetry and data this service offers into a badge of honor. “We take the safest routes and have the fewest accidents of any trucking company our size.” This is one of the claims you hopefully can make inviting the “devil you know” rather than the one you don’t.
Here’s the article: New IoT Sensors Allow Companies to Track Shipments in Real-Time