Identec Solutions has launched Narrow Band Industrial Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solutions as it looks to offer remote reefer monitoring as a bespoke, scalable solution, taking advantage of the new 5G standard.
With the expansion of 5G being pushed forward strongly, the wireless solution provider is developing 5G-compatible solutions for its various Industry 4.0 applications.
Urban Siller, CEO of Identec Solutions, said: “We will further strengthen this focus in the coming years in order to expand our market position.
“A number of companies are engaged in research in this direction. We are the first with a ready-to-use solution, making us pioneers in our sector.”
The in-house developed solutions for wireless identification, positioning and status detection of persons, materials and objects are largely aimed at niche markets with very harsh environmental conditions.
The industries supplied range from oil rigs, mines and container ports, right to manufacturing plants for mass production.
The provider believes that 5G using NB-IoT opens up important perspectives, particularly in these harsh, sometimes remote areas of application where extensive connectivity plays a crucial role.
Martin Sobotka, software engineer at Identec Solutions, said: “The new radio technology is designed for M2M (machine-to-machine) communication and offers the opportunity of very energy-efficient communication via the existing mobile radio infrastructure.
“Moreover, it promises a good building penetration. This is where we see the greatest advantages for the digitisation of industry and logistics.”
With around 10 gigabits per second, the 5G mobile radio standard has a significantly higher bandwidth than its predecessor 4G, which is particularly useful for home applications such as data streaming. Bandwidth, however, plays a subordinate role in industrial use of 5G.
Siller added: “We use standards such as CAT-NB1 (alias NB-IoT) or CAT-M1. These standards stand for a slow but constant data transmission at low frequency and thus contrast with high-frequency home applications such as data streaming. These two standards are part of 5G and are already globally available.”
In a first step, the company will build on its Reefer Runner solution for the automated monitoring of reefer containers, with a prototype already being used for inland marine transport on the Rhine between Basel and Rotterdam.
Thanks to the real-time monitoring of the reefer containers, the transport of cheese and fish from the Netherlands to Switzerland, for example, as well as pharmaceutical products and chocolate from Switzerland to the Netherlands can be guaranteed without interruption of the cooling chain.
This can happen regardless of the manufacturer type of the container, while eliminating the need for manual inspection, aiming to increases efficiency and minimise the risk for the carrier.
Sobotka stated: “What used to be a major investment in terms of local wireless infrastructure can now be offered as a cloud application without local infrastructure and without local software installation.
“Customers can thus monitor their refrigerated containers conveniently via devices such as PCs, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. This primarily benefits smaller companies. The range of potential use cases for this solution is wide. The use in road and rail transportation for example is conceivable, to only name a few.”
The first 5G-compatible solutions will be delivered in autumn 2020.