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Posts tagged ‘cargo tracking’

Introducing the Next Generation of Real-time Cargo Tracking Devices

Matthew Neidlinger | Director of Product Management,

Digital Solutions, Emerson’s Cold Chain Business

The global rollout of 4G and 5G cellular networks will deliver the high-speed, high-bandwidth capabilities preferred by the mobile device industry. But for those stakeholders in the perishable supply chain, this transition also will phase out legacy 2G and 3G cellular networks and usher in a technology shift that will impact their abilities to track in-transit temperatures and locations of shipments. Fortunately, Emerson has developed the next generation of real-time tracking devices that will bridge the gap between 2G and the next generation of low-power, wide-area (LPWA) 5G networks to ensure continuous tracking of perishable shipments.

What’s the alternative to 2G and 3G networks?

Most of the real-time trackers in use have been designed with cellular connectivity protocols that utilize 2G or 3G SIM cards. In many ways, these networks ideally are suited for the data requirements of the cargo tracking industry, which just need to transmit small packets of data periodically — such as live location and temperature information. Simply put, tracking devices don’t require the same bandwidth, memory and data transmission requirements of high-end mobile handsets.

That’s why Emerson’s GO real-time trackers were originally designed to utilize 2G and 3G cellular network technologies. Thus, these devices can be manufactured and sold at accessible price points without compromising their ability to perform their critical functions. With the sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks, real-time tracking devices will need to transition to the next generation of cellular network technology (i.e., 5G). But rather than utilizing expensive bands designed for mobile handsets, our new GO real-time Trackers will leverage emerging LPWA 4G and 5G network technologies that evolved from 4G LTE:

  • Category M (Cat-M), where “M” stands for mobile
  • Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)

As the logical successors to 2G and 3G, these 4G/5G networks will allow the next generation of real-time trackers to transmit valuable sensor data while helping to keep real-time trackers cost-effective.

The next generation of real-time trackers is here

Our Digital Solutions business is committed to helping the perishable cold chain industry make this transition. To bridge the gap between 2G and emerging technologies and ensure uninterrupted tracking and help monitoring, we are developing the next generation of real-time tracking devices that utilize 5G and the new Cat-M and NB-IoT networks. The first of these new devices is already available: the GO real-time 4G/5G Tracker.

This release is part of our efforts to expand our suite of 2G and 3G real-time trackers with new devices engineered to enable multi-network compatibility. In doing so, these new devices will help eliminate real-time dead zones by providing coverage for shipments that travel between 2G and emerging 5G networks. Like our previous generation of devices, the GO real-time 4G/5G tracker provides the following key functionalities:

  • Help to monitor in-transit conditions such as temperature, location, light and humidity for up to 20 days of continuous operation.
  • Notify users in real-time via text or email if any adverse conditions arise during shipment (when configured with our Oversight software portal).

In the coming months, Emerson plans to release additional 4G/5G models that offer an expanded in-use life of up to 60 days and a reusable device platform. Our next generation of devices will be available in dual- and tri-mode network capabilities.

From 2G and 3G to 5G (Cat-M and NB-IoT) — Sunset and roll-out timing

As the evolving mobile device industry transitions to 4G LTE and 5G technologies around the world, our industry will see more 2G and 3G networks become obsolete. This transition is already taking place but will be in flux for the next several years, with specific turndown timelines dependent on the cellular carrier and global or regional preferences.

From a cargo tracking industry perspective, it’s important to realize that coverage zones may vary and there may not be worldwide conformity for some time. This variability will create complexity when trying to ensure real-time coverage of perishable shipments around the globe. Emerson is doing everything we can to help prepare the cargo tracking industry for this cellular network transition. Read our informative white paper to learn how you can ensure uninterrupted real-time cargo tracking of perishable shipments.



Prepare for the Future of Real-time Cargo Tracking

Matthew Neidlinger | Director of Product Management,

Digital Solutions, Emerson’s Cold Chain Business

The real-time cargo tracking industry is changing. For years, 2G and 3G cellular networks have enabled real-time trackers to deliver live location and temperature data on shipments traveling throughout the global perishable cold chain. But in many parts of the world, the mobile device industry is outgrowing the use of 2G and 3G; many of these legacy networks are turning down to make room for newer 4G and 5G options. As this transition takes place over the next several years all around the globe, end-users of real-time cargo tracking devices may experience gaps in their live shipment monitoring and tracking capabilities.

What the 2G turndown means to perishable cold chain stakeholders

In recent years, real-time trackers have become essential tools for helping to monitor food quality and safety in the perishable supply chain. For many cold chain leaders, Emerson’s GO real-time trackers are viewed as essential, cost-effective devices for protecting their valuable shipments. Combined with a cloud-enabled technology infrastructure and supporting Oversight software, this solution grants growers, logistics companies and food retailers live access to in-transit shipment location and sensor data they need to help monitor food quality and safety — such as levels of temperature, humidity, light exposure and much more.

But as 2G and 3G networks become obsolete, end-users of these real-time tracking devices may experience data gaps in their in-transit shipment coverage, which could result in:

  • Inability to help monitor food quality (freshness) and safety in real-time
  • Missing real-time alerts (emails/text messages) of temperature excursions
  • Incomplete data for prompt resolution of shipment disputes
  • Potential risks to brand reputations

If your company is currently using 2G and 3G real-time trackers, you already may have experienced the impacts of cellular network turndown. However, if you’re not closely monitoring in-transit shipment data, you may not even be aware of gaps in your real-time data. Moving forward, it’s important to be vigilant of any disruptions in coverage. Look for the following signs of network connectivity issues:

  • Increasing blind spots in visibility to shipment location/temperature data
  • Intermittent brownouts of real-time access
  • Gaps in historic trip coverage and data points

What is Emerson doing to help you navigate the cellular transition?

The cellular network transition has created a complex landscape that will be in flux for the next several years. As cold chain experts and cargo industry stewards, Emerson is doing everything possible to help prepare the cargo tracking industry for this ongoing transition. We’re addressing this challenge on multiple fronts by:

  • Working closely with our customers to determine which real-time trackers work best for their shipping routes
  • Communicating with cellular companies to get a better understanding of the specific timing of 2G and 3G network turndowns
  • Developing the next generation of real-time trackers that utilize emerging low-power, wide-area (LPWA) 4G and 5G network technologies

Wherever your business ships its perishable cargo, Emerson is committed to helping you navigate this cellular transition. Our subsequent blog will discuss the timing of the 2G network turndown, emerging cellular technologies, and the next generation of devices designed to bridge the gap between 2G and 4G/5G networks. Read our informative white paper to learn how we’re helping the industry achieve uninterrupted real-time cargo tracking of perishable shipments.

How Restaurants and C-stores Can Deliver Safe, High-quality Food Offerings

MattToone_2 Matt Toone | Vice President, Sales & Solutions – Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Whether you’re a convenience store (c-store) operator, quick-service restaurant (QSR), or a fast casual or fine dining establishment, ensuring food quality and safety is imperative to your success. In this blog, the first of a three-part series based on a recent E360 article, Minimizing Food Safety Risks From Farm to Fork, I’ll explore the efforts involved in maintaining safety throughout the food supply chain.

How Restaurants and C-stores Can Deliver Safe, High-quality Food Offerings

Dining out has become an everyday part of American life. It’s estimated that more than one-third of us eat at a fast-food restaurant every day, and more than 60 percent have dinner at a restaurant at least once a week. As consumers are becoming increasingly discriminating about what they eat, restaurants are under more pressure to deliver fresh, healthy foods and in greater varieties. But, above all else, restaurant operators must ensure food is safe to eat.

Food’s journey to a customer’s plate (or a packaged take-out container) is fraught with hazards. Ensuring food safety is a cumulative effort shared by every stakeholder along the journey — from production and processing to transportation, cold storage and ultimately, the foodservice provider. Temperature deviations, unsafe handling practices and improper food preparation processes can all increase the potential for foodborne illness outbreaks.

Thankfully, improvements in refrigeration equipment and internet of things (IoT) technologies are helping to provide more reliable and consistent temperature and quality control within the cold chain. Throughout food’s journey, operators at each point are now able to monitor, control and track a variety of conditions necessary for preserving food quality, including: temperature, humidity, the presence of ripening agents, lighting and much more.

Meeting customer expectations

Modern restaurants and c-stores are being held to increasingly higher food safety and quality standards. Consumers and regulators alike are demanding greater transparency in the food supply chain, which includes improved traceability of food’s journey from farm to fork. To keep customers coming back, operators must not only consistently deliver safe, high-quality food but also openly disclose their suppliers.

Protecting against foodborne illness outbreaks helps to not only ensure your customers’ well-being, it also guards against potentially devastating impacts to your brand’s reputation and bottom-line profitability. As one of the final links in the food supply chain, restaurant operators must ensure that food is safe on receipt and adhere to safe food storage, handling and preparation processes in their kitchens.

This starts with understanding everything that contributes to food quality and safety throughout the cold chain. With today’s connected infrastructures and IoT-based monitoring and tracking capabilities, operators now have the potential for visibility into each step of the journey — even the possibility for comprehensive cold chain traceability. Then, once food has been received into inventory, this process continues by applying all the modern tools available to ensure food quality, safety and consistency.

Food supply chain safety is cumulative

It’s estimated that nearly half of the fresh fruit and one-third of the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States are sourced from foreign countries — transported by land, sea and air in a process that can span the point of harvest, processing, cold storage and distribution. Overseas shipments can last anywhere from two to four weeks; for domestic transportation, it can take three to four days to ship strawberries from California to the East Coast.

In total, these perishables can potentially undergo as many as 20 to 30 steps and multiple changes of ownership throughout the food supply chain process. The more these items change hands, or are staged, loaded and unloaded, the greater the chances for contamination and temperature excursions along the way.

In my next blog, I’ll take a closer look at the environmental factors and conditions putting food at risk as well as the food safety regulatory landscape.


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