XcitID

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The Xciti'ID project is dedicated to design, develop and validate a pre-operational integrated service platform aiming at significantly improving the management of the transport supply chain of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical goods (as well as other goods, such as food) by providing globally and 7days/week near-real-time track and trace services with associated temperature data logs.

Objectives of the service

Xcit'ID is the follow-up of the "Gulliver" ARTES 20 Feasibility Study, whose final presentation was held in ESTEC in July 2012. Gulliver pre-validated the technical and commercial feasibility of the proposed solution, and forged consolidated partnerships with the following important stakeholders:

  • SANOFI-AVENTIS, multinational pharmaceutical company (Hungary)
  • SVD, international logistics (France)
  • AXA, insurance (France)
  • UNICEF, humanitarian ONG for children

Xcit'ID is aimed at deploying three operational pilots to be tested by these partners in the field.

Up to 25% of pharmaceutical products must be kept within a narrow temperature range to remain safe and effective, putting strong constraints on the supply chain.

Pharmaceutical cold chains from producer to end user are highly complex and build on extensive networks of transporters, warehouses, importers/exporters, pharmacies, etc... Lack of coordination between parties is often the reason for cold chain losses (i.e. goods either physically lost or temperature constraints not enforced) making inventory optimization very difficult. As such, the availability of goods to the end-users can only be ensured with expensive oversupply.

It has to be remarked that the value of Xcit'ID Objectivesthe goods of one single shipment can easily exceed 1Million USD. Therefore, even a small reduction of losses saves a considerable amount of money.

Present solutions consist of simple temperature sensor-loggers that just provide the container's trip temperature historic to verify whether the cold chain has been intact during transportation, showing the final recipient if the products are in good condition. In this way, temperature failures are only known at the end of the chain, when tags are unpacked from goods, and it is therefore too late to react. In underdeveloped regions, the lack of reliable infrastructure challenges any monitoring systems.

The main goal of Xcit'ID is to fill in the gap with a new product providing near-real-time monitoring of temperature, geo-position and timing, of uniquely identified goods travelling along world-wide cold chains, independently from local infrastructure.

 

Users and their needs

The following typologies of users are target, mostly active worldwide:

  • Multinational pharmaceutical companies
  • International logistics companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Humanitarian ONG (Aid & Development community)
  • Pharma Industry: cold chain performance improvement to reduce product losses and improve inventory management,
  • Insurance companies: better understanding of risks and responsibilities and improved risk mitigation,
  • NGO's operating with Xcit'ID in underdeveloped areas ensure products quality and the campaigns success,
  • International logistics companies (e.g. transporters): allows proving when they are not responsible in case of temperature failure and products losses,
  • Donors can verify that the goods they have paid for arrive at destination in good condition.

Service/ system concept

Present solutions consist of simple temperature sensor-loggers that just provide the container's trip temperature historic to verify whether the cold chain has been intact during transportation, showing only to the final recipient if the products are in good condition. If they are not, it is too late to react effectively.

The main goal of Xcit'ID is to fill in the gap with a new product providing near-real-time monitoring of temperature, geo-position and timing, of uniquely identified goods travelling along world-wide cold chains, independently from local infrastructure.

Space Added Value

XcitID targets shipments worldwide, often where there is a lack of terrestrial communication means. Not to mention the need of near-real-time geo-positioning of the goods.

Product Benefits

The project brings different benefits depending on the player involved in the chain:

  • Pharma Industry: cold chain performance improvement, product loss reduction due to temperature failures; inventory management optimization
  • Using Xcit'€™ID, the customer gets lower premium from insurance companies due to a higher quality control and loss ratios reduction achieved with the system
  • Insurance companies: better understanding of risks and responsibilities. Risks control and assessment, risk mitigation
  • The use of Xcit'€™ID makes it easy to determine liabilities in case of temperature failure, product loss or theft, etc...
  • NGO'€™s operating with Xcit’ID in underdeveloped areas ensure products quality and the campaigns success. The efficient management of the cold chain provided by Xcit'€™ID increases the availability of goods while reducing losses and unnecessary storage
  • Transporters: Xcit'€™ID allows good practices companies proving they are not responsible in case of temperature failure and products loss. It provides a means to monitor the goods and, in case of temperature failure, react in time to save the goods
  • Donors can verify that the goods they have paid for arrive at destination in good condition: their money is well used, the mission goals are achieved and campaigns are successful

Product Features

User Needs and Requirements lead the definition of the demo system architecture, which is composed of three main components:

  1. RFID-TTUs: temperature sensors-logger-tags, with long battery autonomy and unique identification. They are packed with goods at box/pallet level
  2. RFID-RTDs: terminals retrieve temperature samples from tags, generate alerts and send information to/from:
    • Locally, to the operator (e.g. truck driver) via Bluetooth
    • Remotely, to Novacom Platform via GPRS or Satcom
  3. The Novacom Platform, hosting and managing all the associated monitoring services

Two different environments with particular integration constraints lead to two RFID-RTDs:

  1. "Automatic", installed in reefer trucks or containers and last-mile vehicles. It works autonomously (no human interaction required). An optional HMI (e.g. tablet PC) allows local check of temperature historic/alerts
  2. "Manned", operator's portable terminal, intended for warehouses and final recipient facilities where goods pallets (with RFID-TTUs inside) are placed in a metallically isolated refrigerated area inside the facility

Xcit'ID FeaturesThe Novacom Application Platform records data coming from the RFID-RTDs in a database. It makes them remotely available to all users involved in the supply chain. The position of the uniquely identified goods is shown on a cartographic GIS interface, providing access to all associated information in the form of charts and graphics. Alerts are automatically generated and sent to operators in charge of the goods by SMS or email. It can integrate with the actors databases to aggregate all required operational data, in order to enhance coordination and information exchange, and easing decision making, coordination and inventory management.

The Application Platform also works as hub for a satellite-based bidirectional short message exchange tool between operators in the field and supervisors.

 

Key Issues

The idea of developing a new product to trace in near-real-time the temperature and geo-positioning of goods uniquely identified at box/packet level, was mainly triggered by the requests coming from two stakeholders:

  • Insurance companies, which so far have no means to manage risks and determine liabilities in pharmaceutical cold chains, where the value of the transported goods is very high and loss is frequent and very expensiv,
  • Aid & Development community, who demanded a state-of –the-art solution providing products monitoring to optimize the quality and performance of pharmaceutical cold chains, allow real-time reactivity when the chain fails, and consequently reduce losses.

Current Status

The Final Review has been successfully held via telco on 05 Mar 2015. 

The Pilot stages of the XcitID project have been completed with excellent results and feedback from all the involved users. Specifically:
a. 7 shipments of high-value pharmaceutical goods have been carried out from SANOFI (Hungary) to Russia (Moscow), to Ucrania, to Belorussia, to Kazahstan, to Azerbaijan and to Georgia. SANOFI has expressed its interest to negotiate with Novacom a subscription to the XcitID service
b. Medicine Sans Frontiere (Chad) has carried out 2 shipments of vaccines from Ndjamena to Moissala and has also successfully used the fixed terminal version of the XcitID platform at their warehouse
c. UNICEF (Chad) has used successfully the fixed terminal version of the XcitID platform at their warehouse in Ndjamena
b. Medicine Sans Frontiere (Chad) and UNICEF 
(Chad) have also provided their interest for a future commercial subscription to the XcitID services, but have expressed additional needs that Novacom is going to address via an add-on Activity (see next lines about the CCN).

Status Date

Updated: 17 October 2016 - Created: 15 February 2014