Sunnyvale, CA October 29, 2001 The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is set to use real-time asset tracking technology to build the infrastructure for advanced logistics management, monitoring and security systems in developing nations, according to the solution provider involved in the effort.
UNCTAD is partnering with software company Savi Technology to deploy real-time data collection technologies and Web-based software to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of logistics information systems in Africa, Asia and South America.
The objective of the partnership is to help build sustainable data networks that enable shippers and private or public freight forwarders to access real-time information on the Internet about the movements and status of their consignments and containers.
Privately held Savi Technology, a pioneer in the field of real-time location systems (RTLS), has been working on real-time tracking since 1989 and has prior experience working with large-scale public agencies. Beginning in 1994, Savi implemented a system for the U.S. Department of Defense to do item-level tracking in containers shipped around the world.
Under the partnership with UNCTAD, Savi will provide a combination of radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems and Web-based software on the Internet to provide real-time management, monitoring, measurement and maintenance of assets and equipment moving throughout the supply chain. The use of such technology can improve logistics processes and utilization of assets.
Participants in the project will affix electronic RFID "tags" to railcars and their containers. The tags hold microchips with key logistics information, such as the asset's identity and contents. Strategically placed RFID readers collect the information and then transmit it wirelessly to an Internet software platform, where users can better manage their assets in real time. Alerts are sent to users whenever a key event occurs, such as a delayed shipment or unauthorized container entry, and corrective action can be taken immediately.
"Advanced supply chain management is a critical factor in any economy, and especially so in developing nations," said Coll Hunter, a principal adviser to UNCTAD. "The solutions and synergy we wish to create with Savi should help provide an economic stimulus to parts of the world that don't have the resources or capital to sustain growth and development with the latest technology."
Initially, the project will focus on opportunities in Africa to upgrade and build real-time tracking systems that monitor the movement and security of containers and freight moved by rail. Future projects include improving logistics information systems across rail, truck, air and ocean in Asia and South America.
UNCTAD, established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body, is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment and development issues.
For more information on wireless asset-tracking technologies, see The Net Best Thing column in the January 2002 issue of iSource Business.