AT&T Takes Container Tracking to a New Level

Companies can use the Internet of Things to create intelligent container fleets, yielding more shipment visibility

DallasSept. 30, 2015AT&T is helping businesses manage their shipping containers as they move across the globe. Companies that transport containers by truck, railroad or trailers can use the AT&T network to help them have a complete view of their inventory from departure to arrival.

According to Machina Research, there will be 69 million machine-to-machine (M2M) connections in the supply chain by 2023 with container tracking being the biggest single area.1 AT&T can work with businesses to develop a solution that helps them meet their container monitoring needs. Companies can use Internet of Things (IoT) technology to create intelligent container fleets. They can improve operations with information that’s delivered based on specific business needs.

Here’s how it works. Each container has a monitoring device that collects data with sensors and sends it to a web portal. Managers can view the location of containers for cargo owners. Back-office workers can easily find containers. Drivers have the tools to be more productive because they have more information about their next load to pick up.  

Shipping companies can quickly locate and send containers or trailers that are closest to the clients who need them. They’re also able to identify customers that are keeping containers for longer time periods. They can improve the usage of containers and reduce their overall transportation spend.

Key benefits include:

  • More control. Receive timely alerts on containers or trailers that deviate from their expected location; identify containers that are idle to optimize pool size; and keep more accurate records of when cargo shipments depart and reach their destination.
  • Custom notifications. Know the status of container or trailer inventory, the safety of cargo, or excessive dwell time with custom alerts; detect if and where a container drops or impacts the cargo; and evolve by adding a variety of sensors as your business needs change.
  • Longer battery life. Each tracking device 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.

“Shipping companies are constantly moving their trailers and containers across the world,” said Mike Troiano, vice president of product management, AT&T IoT Solutions. “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.”

Whether a container is in a nearby freight yard or moving around the world, knowing its location can help businesses minimize theft or loss. Companies that transport time-critical or valuable goods can monitor their cargo to ensure it’s safe and arrives on time.

AT&T develops IoT technology for industries like asset management, vehicle solutions, equipment and machinery, and smart cities. The solutions include smart meters, cargo tracking, connected cars and fleets, as well as smart city street and traffic lights.

1Machina Research, “Supply Chain: strong revenue growth forecast due to demand for enhanced operational efficiency,” (November 2014)

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