Objectives of the service
The RTICM project aims at designing, developing and demonstrating a cost-effective integrated and centralised platform to better monitor and control the multimodal (i.e. by air, road, rail and sea) transport supply chain of high value containers, globally. It also aims at providing customers and relevant stakeholders of the supply chains with better awareness tools in order to take near-real-time and long-term corrective actions to reduce losses and improve the efficiency of cargo’s transportation process, before they become costly problems.
The above objective is pursued via the extension of the capacities and functionalities of an existing container tracking device, to prove in a pre-operational demonstration phase its added value, and to develop and extent a joint RTICM container tracking service for high value cargos.
The new functionalities to be integrated in the RTICM service offering are:
- Internal container wireless network
- IRIDIUM satellite communication access
- Software update over the air
- Linking of geo-fencing capability
- Linking of satellite based AIS data
Users and their needs
The target market of RTICM are high value cargo shipments with a value of more than 65.000 Euro in the following industries:
- Consumer Electronics
- Consumer Products
High value container shipments with a cargo value of more than 65.000 Euro, result in about 23 million shipments/year and representing an important industrial business. It offers significant growth potential with an annual growth forecasted to increase in average 8-10% by the next decade.
During the 6 month pre operational trial Hellman Logistics (D), Kühne&Nagel and Husky (L) are involved in validating the service concept at a global scale.
Service/ system concept
RTICM can offer a comprehensive real-time cargo monitoring service, composed of three main elements:
- Sensing Component: The sensing component includes a small and simple container plug-in device with a comprehensive, customized client sensor suite which can be placed inside the cargo or the pallets
- Analytics Component: The analytics component is a cloud based software solution which uses the device sensor data in combination with other data sources and turns them into actionable information, e.g.: intrusion alert message, fulfilment and performance analysis of shipments, triggering events workflows. The goal is to correct negative trends before they become costly
- Operations Component: The operations component makes sure, that the devices are available at the client on time when a shipment starts, or devices are picked up at the moment the shipment is over.
The final aim of the pilot stage consists in gathering the required info in order to demonstrate that the RTICM can lead to significant savings in the management of the supply chain and in a higher customer satisfaction.
The high level schematic system architecture is displayed in the figure below, showing the key building blocks and the logistic service chain, starting from “Mounting of the tracking device on the freight container” till the ending of the sequence with “Shipment of unit to starting location of next assignment”.
Space Added Value
The proposed RTICM system and service solution includes two relevant space assets, without which the required user requirements and performance cannot be achieved:
- Global satellite communications: Iridium communication satellite network allow ubiquitous bidirectional data transmission capabilities worldwide with lowest latencies and highly reliable, providing the near real time M2M data link to the RTICM device
- SatNav for track&tracing of cargos
In addition, Satellite based AIS vessel tracking do bridge the location gap if the container is stuffed inside the vessels hull and outside the reach of any communication mean. AIS track analysis offers an improved estimation of the time of arrival through the detection of any non-reported detour or delayed harbour arrival.
The Final Review of the project (original contract for the Mobilbox device and CCN for the visioboxx device) took place 1st of June 2018. The market uptake of the MobilBox as a high end tracking device is still behind expectations, basically due to the still high cost in a price sensitive logistic market. However, the visioboxx as a low cost alternative is already very successfully marketed for important customers from the automotive industry sector in Germany aiming at better controlling the car manufacturing supply chain, particularly the in time delivery of components for the production within the assembly line. In addition a large contract was also signed for an institutional user in Egypt interested in manufacturing the visioboxx devices and using its services.