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FedEx rides the IoT wave with near real-time tracking

Teresa Leung (Computerworld HK) | Sept. 11, 2013
In the logistics industry, the ability to allow customers to track items from the time they place a delivery order to the time they arrive at their destinations is important.

Data available from the service will help customers better plan their routes in the future. "You gain a deeper understanding of their supply chains with in-depth analysis that results in improved asset management," said Leung. "Now you're able to know whether your packaging, storage, and transportation methods are right for your businesses."

Using SenseAware with other carriers
Initially launched in its home market in the US in 2009, the SenseAware service is now available in Hong Kong and on a growing list of air and ground transportation carriers—including Cathay Pacific; Delta Air Lines (including Delta Connection Carriers); Qantas Airways; Singapore Airlines Cargo; United Airlines mainline jets; third-party ground carriers; and private fleets.

"That means you can still make use of SenseAware if you don't ship your items with FedEx," said Leung.

He declined to reveal the monthly charge for using the service, saying it depends on the length of the contract period. The monthly charge covers the use of the multi-sensor device, the web-based application, support, and all telecom charges related to the tracking service. "It's a cost-effective way to track shipments because you don't need to set up your own infrastructure," said the FedEx MD.

He revealed FedEx is in talks with various companies in Hong Kong to gauge their interest in the service.

Regulatory challenge
To make the service available in more markets, Leung said FedEx must comply with local regulations. "Different countries have different regulations when it comes to placing an activated, multi-sensor device in a shipment," he pointed out. "FedEx is working on it and hopefully the service will be available in more markets."

As airlines also need to make sure that those multi-sensor devices won't affect flight operation and security, getting the OK from airline partners will also take some time, he added.

 

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