This week AT&T highlighted improvements to its container tracking service to help shippers and transport companies alike gain a more “complete view” of freight containers while in transit.
The key change revolves around the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to create “intelligent” container fleets, noted Mike Troiano, VP-product management for AT&T IoT Solutions, in a statement – helping improve transportation operations with information based on specific business needs.
Here's how it works, he explained: Each container features a monitoring device that collects data with sensors and sends it to a web portal.
Via that single web portal, fleet managers can view the location of containers for cargo owners, back-office workers can easily find containers, and trucks drivers can be more productive because they have more information about their next load to pick up, he said.
More broadly, carriers can quickly locate and send containers or trailers that are closest to the clients who need them, while also gaining the ability to precisely identify customers that are keeping containers for longer time periods, Troiano stressed.
"Shipping companies are constantly moving their trailers and containers across the world," he added. "Our container monitoring solutions can help them know that a shipment will arrive on time. We're helping businesses better manage their distribution process and offer a service customers can depend on."
Other key benefits touted for AT&T’s improved container tracking service include:
- More Control – Receiving timely alerts on containers or trailers that deviate from their expected location; identifying containers that have been idle to optimize pool size; and keeping more accurate records of when cargo shipments depart and reach their destination.
- Custom Notifications – Knowing the status of container or trailer inventory, the safety of cargo, or excessive dwell time with custom alerts; detecting if and where a container drops or impacts the cargo; and gaining the ability to add a variety of sensors as business needs change.
- Longer Battery Life – Each of AT&T’s tracking devices is solar powered and uses an industrial grade chargeable lithium ion battery. Shipping companies can provide years of continuous service without battery changes, reducing the total cost of ownership.
“Whether a container is in a nearby freight yard or moving around the world, knowing its location can help businesses minimize theft or loss,” Troiano said. “Companies that transport time-critical or valuable goods can monitor their cargo to ensure it's safe and arrives on time.”