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tively, there must be buy-in and commitment to change across the entire organization.” operational challenges within an organization, but by itself, it cannot solve the issue. With the insights uncovered by the platform, users can then modify their operations to maximize efficiencies across their supply chain. And to do so effec-

Current Track and Trace Issues Track and trace technology is making inroads in food safety and food freshness and spoilage prevention. But there are still track

The IoT data ecosystem needs to allow users to integrate

multiple smart devices and suppliers.”

metamorwor / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Christian Allerd, president and general manager of global sales, Orbcomm

and trace technology issues that the industry needs to tackle. Chief among these are improving battery life and durability for devices and achieving interoperability for companies that are using multiple vendors and systems.

 IMPROVING BATTERY LIFE Sensors and other IoT devices depend on extended battery life as they are deployed in or moved through remote locations where they can’t be easily serviced. To improve battery performance, vendors are making telematics devices smaller and using rechargeable batteries, solar power and energy harvesting. “We use both satellite and cellular networks to ensure connectivity in even the most remote locations,” says Allred. “We also implement robust designs that can withstand extremely harsh environments…If we can do this and deliver devices that are self-powered with solar recharging technology or low-power consumption and long service life, we can eliminate the need for frequent battery changes.”

 INTEROPERABILITY

BOOSTING TRACK AND TRACE WITH BLOCKCHAIN

By Lara L. Sowinski John Monarch, CEO of ShipChain, which recently launched a blockchain-based track and trace platform, sees blockchain as the underlying layer of an entire ecosystem that includes information culled from a variety of sources throughout the supply chain. In this respect, blockchain is able to truly elevate track and trace to a new level. “Blockchain provides an underlying system of trust that everyone can put data into,” he says. Food safety is something that stands to benefit considerably from blockchain, adds Monarch, whether it’s from the perspective of regulators, logistics providers or consumers. “There’s increasing demand from consumers today to know where their food came from and to verify things like organic and non-GMO certifications,” he says. For logistics providers that need to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, for example, blockchain offers a way to verify compliance instead of relying on manual recordkeeping or other methods. ShipChain conducted a successful pilot program with Perdue Farms before launching its track and trace platform in February. According to Monarch, “When we created ShipChain nearly two years ago, we had a vision of revolutionizing a clumsy, outdated and expensive shipping network.” The track and trace platform brings a new level of transparency and visibility to the logistics industry by allowing shippers to view specific details of their freight, identify potential bottlenecks and imp rove operations on a continuous basis.

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The slow evolution of common standards for connectivity and data exchange in the IoT world and proprietary operating systems by IoT manufacturers are two major setbacks for track and trace and supply chain automation. The emergence of cloud-based platforms that can interoperate with many different types of IoT devices and sensors is starting to bridge the gap, however. These platforms are capable of collecting and aggregating data from many different IoT sensors, devices and systems—and bringing them all together on a common platform. “APIs and interoperability are crucial to avoid creating new data silos,” explains Allred. “The IoT data ecosystem needs to allow users to integrate multiple smart devices and suppliers, plus other information sources, which is exactly what we are doing today.” www.foodlogistics.com

3/1/19 10:37 AM

Profile for Supply+Demand Chain/Food Logistics

Food Logistics March 2019  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...

Food Logistics March 2019  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...