The History of Real-Time Temperature Loggers
In the modern logistics world, real-time tracking of trucks, ships, and containers has become popular with the international rollout of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network. Early devices operated in a public network. When using the GSM (2G) network, there were several problems.
• High battery consumption resulting in bulky devices and short battery life
• Lack of standardization in roaming and SIM card handling
• Lack of an international standard for airline approvals
As a result, those devices were dedicated to a local trucking market or to the maritime market, transmitting values from ocean containers to proprietary antennas on ships. One of the first companies to launch a true international real-time temperature and location-tracking logger was a freight express company operating a fleet of aircrafts. The price for one device was higher than $1,000 per device – not including the connectivity and roaming.
Later devices used the 3G/4G network, which meant a significant reduction of battery consumption. Powered by lithium batteries, they achieved a battery life of 30 or more days. To get airline approval, they had to be multi-sensor devices monitoring all kinds of parameters like pressure, acceleration, and light. Using lithium batteries (other than button cells) became a new problem in 2017. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a regulation limiting the number of lithium cells per handling unit and requested declaration of each data logger sensor used in a shipment. This was another drawback of real-time temperature loggers.
Now, real-time data loggers provide a longer battery life than before, are IATA compliant, track location, and use 4G LTE mobile networks and new NB-IoT technology.
The internet of things (IoT) is a network of physical objects, which exchange data with other systems and devices through the internet. These “things” use sensors, software, and other technologies to collect and transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Are all wireless technologies part of the IoT?
Following the definition above, the devices must have the capability to transfer the data over a network without requiring human interaction. Two characteristics determine the degree of fulfilment whether a solution belongs to the IoT:
1. Is the wireless technology based on a proprietary or a standard protocol? A proprietary protocol has security advantages, but it means that software is required.
2. Does the antenna network use a private or public antenna network? Public antenna networks have the advantage to reach a much wider coverage compared to private networks.