IoT shipment tracking tools to monitor cargo. Comparison of 5 devices

IoT shipment tracking tools to monitor cargo. Comparison of 5 devices

Jakub Grabny
Jakub Grabny
January 10, 2021  | 5 min read

Shipment tracking tools support visibility in the supply chain. When picked out correctly, they collect precious information about the location and environmental conditions of your consignment. We compared five devices with sensors to help you choose the best one for your daily tasks.

Different cargo needs to stay in different conditions. Food, medicine, or medical equipment may have specific storage temperature and humidity requirements. Also, shocks, tilts, light, sound, orientation or even pressure may be a threat for fragile cargo.

Depending on what is shipped, it might be useful to introduce smart sensors. If you want to save yourself a lot of trouble, take a look at the devices’ comparison we made.

In this article, you will learn about 5 shipment tracking tools:

  • KizyTracking - a tracker to provide info in real-time & its light sensor
  • TrustedGlobal’s TG series devices - for motion, shock, light, tilt, and temperature tracking
  • Cellocator Nano - with internal sensors to control temperature, light, pressure, and acceleration
  • Lightbug for location tracking
  • LogMore logger for passive data collection

 

KizyTracking: a real-time shipment tracking tool

kizy

KizyTracking is a company that provides small trackers. They are focused on delivering end-to-end supply chain visibility in real-time, anywhere in the world.

The small size was achieved by reducing the amount of additional internal electronic such as environmental sensors. The only embedded one is a light sensor. The sensor communicates changes in light density, for example in case of a parcel being open acting as a parcel theft detection mechanism.

Tracker functionality is not limited though. It is extendable via the USB-C connector which can be used to add other sensors.

 

Kizy for hot and cold chain

Currently, Kizy offers USB-C temperature sensor, which makes it a satisfactory solution for monitoring cold-chain logistics. However, they are not certified yet with EN12830 and EN13486 standards that are required by the EU regulation when shipping temperature-sensitive goods like medical supplies.

The sensor is factory calibrated, according to ISO/IEC 17025, provides an accuracy of ± 0.3°C and can operate from -40°C to +85°C.

  • The eternal sensor does not significantly increase the tracker size; it is only 75mm high and weighs 7 grams.

 

TrustedGlobal: devices to track all kinds of motion

trusted

TrustedGlobal’s TG series devices have the same set of built-in sensors. The only difference between the models is the battery size.

Sensors in the TG device allow measuring and tracking:

  • motion,
  • shock,
  • light,
  • tilt,
  • and temperature.

 

It is also possible to attach external “tags” to control:

  • temperature,
  • humidity,
  • and radio frequency identification.

 

Motion sensor

A motion sensor measures acceleration due to gravity - it is based on movement, direction, and speed by leveraging a 3-axis accelerometer. A user can be notified with an alert, even when a short motion happened, for example, to prevent theft detection. The accelerometer is also used by a tilt sensor to detect direction and inclination.

 

Shock sensor

A shock sensor, also known as an impact recorder, is capable of measuring acceleration forces up to 8G along with X Y Z direction to tell from which direction the impact occurred. The shock sensor may protect the shipment by alerting if the goods are exposed to a greater impact than allowed.

 

Other sensors

A light sensor can measure light intensity and trigger an alarm, for example, when a parcel or container is opened. It might prevent unauthorised access to valuable goods. The tracker is also compliant with cold-chain shipments thanks to an incorporated temperature sensor. The user can be alerted when the temperature outside the configured range is detected.

TrustedGlobal’s device supports connecting external, wireless RHT and RFID tags. RHT stands for “relative humidity and temperature” and allows to measure parameters on a high accuracy level. RFID tag communicates to the main device and serves as identification to make sure that all your goods are kept together.

 

Cellocator Nano: multitool

cellocator

Cellocator Nano device is equipped with multiple internal sensors, such as: temperature, light, pressure, and accelerometer. It can also record sound with a built-in microphone. The temperature sensor enables Nano tracker to be used in cold-chain solutions, and it guarantees the accuracy of ±0.3°C and a minimum resolution of 0.1°C.

 

Light and pressure sensors

An ambient light sensor can trigger events if a meaningful change of light, to which the device is exposed, is detected, for example, when a package is opened or closed. The light sensor can detect light intensity up to 1024 lux, which is an equivalent of daylight.

A barometric pressure sensor might be useful to monitor the height at which the package is located inside the carrier vehicle. Moreover, if crucial, the pressure sensor can detect a height change of 1 meter and above.

 

Accelerometer

An accelerometer is used to detect movement, vibration, or impact.

The usage of accelerometer enables triggering various events, for example, an orientation change event when the earth-gravity vector of the device changes more than the configured degrees threshold. Absolute orientation including X, Y, Z vectors is reported with all transmissions. Typical usage of the accelerometer is motion detection, and “idle” state after a period without any significant movement logged.

Another application is impact and free-fall detection, which can easily distinguish between ordinary movement events. It will detect dangerous incidents, i.e. crash, as well as loading/unloading movements. A built-in microphone can listen-in to surrounding noises, and also it can be used to call the device from a white-listed number or by typing the right password to listen-in in real-time.

Apart from built-in sensors, the device can detect tampering when someone attempts to remove the device from its cradle that comes with the unit or when the cradle is removed from the mounting surface along with the tracker.

 

Precise condition tracking due to BLE communication

The main Nano unit can be paired with up to 16 MultiSense devices via BLE communication to provide a more precise environmental condition tracking of your consignment. External beacons are small with 58.5 x 46 x 15mm dimensions and 26 grams of weight but are embedded with rich sensing capabilities having temperature, humidity and light sensors along with an accelerometer.

 

LightBug for location and movement events tracking

lightbug_pro

The key feature of LightBug devices is location tracking. However, you can also benefit from a built-in accelerometer, which allows detecting various movement events such as motion start, motion stop, rotation and fall. Even though the devices are focused on providing real-time position, the Pro device is equipped with a temperature sensor which can be used to determine the surrounding temperature.

 

Logmore for passive data collection

logmore

The main purpose of Logmore logger is passive data collection. QR code scans transmit current scanner (mobile) location, but it is also equipped with various sensors to control environmental conditions between subsequent scans.

The sets of sensors are different depending on the device model.

The most powerful one, Logmore Three, includes temperature, light, humidity, shocks, and tilt sensors to provide detailed information about the consignment’s state during shipment.

  • The precise temperature sensor measures temperature with an absolute accuracy of ± 0.5°C and resolution of ± 0.1°C.
  • Humidity is measured with an accuracy of 4% RH and a resolution of 1% RH.
  • The shock sensor can detect an impact from -16 to 16G, it can also provide interpolated estimation up to +- 50G, alongside with X, Y, Z vectors.
  • Orientation is provided for full 360 degrees, with X, Y, Z vectors, so you can know the exact placement of your goods during the transport.
  • The ambient light sensor provides relative values to detect whether the parcel is exposed to the light or not.

All data is logged in internal memory which supports up to 20,000 measurements, that are synchronised and displayed after the QR code scan. The scan can alert the user about any configured discrepancies in the fetched data, for example, if the temperature was outside a configured range.

 

Summary

Location tracking is not the only thing that can support your supply chain.

Measuring environmental data and alerting when your goods are exposed to harsh conditions can significantly improve your logistics solutions. Monitoring in real-time can help you save your valuable goods, evaluate the carriers, and make sure that your consignment is well properly.

Alerting and early response to changing conditions will save you money and time if you can safely deliver your shipment instead or preparing a new one in case of damage. Predictive analytics of gathered data can help you optimise the routes, select the best courier company and make your shipments more effective.

You can even incorporate AI and machine learning solutions to automate the entire process and reduce the amount of time needed to monitor the goods on your own.

 

At Skyrise.tech we help companies to deliver their goods in the best conditions. If you need consultations or research on the device you need to track your shipments, let us know!