Currently, the logistics industry has the following issues and pain points:
• High-value goods are easily stolen, adulterated, or exchanged during transportation. Channel conflicts also frequently occur, and it is difficult to monitor goods in real time.
• The logistics enterprise and the cargo owner cannot automatically obtain and monitor the location of the logistics vehicles. Logistics vehicles are often provided by a third-party logistics enterprise (including private vehicles attached to the enterprise). Although all logistics vehicles have been connected as required to the national integrated network and monitoring system for commercial vehicles, vehicle location information cannot be obtained automatically and must be queried manually.
• Without real-time monitoring of valuable goods, such as in a convoy, the logistics enterprise and the goods owner cannot detect any abnormal situations in time. They have to fix any problems later, which has high costs.
• The entire cold chain logistics lacks information transparency. It is hard to ensure food and drug quality.
Current freight logistics mainly accesses the GPRS, 3G, or Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in two hops. It uses vehicle-mounted terminals to upload data from temperature sensors, GPS, and identification cards to the IoT platform over 2G, 3G, or 4G public networks. Major problems are as follows:
• There are difficulties in fault rectification and maintenance of vehicle-mounted terminals, and the interfaces on sensors and vehicle-mounted terminals may be incompatible with each other. There are difficulties in fault rectification and maintenance of vehicle-mounted terminals, and the interfaces on sensors and vehicle-mounted terminals may be incompatible with each other.
• Newly added sensors and vehicle-mounted terminals are often connected with wires, which are troublesome to lay out.
• It is inconvenient for a third party to add proprietary monitoring sensors and obtain data, for example, a third party may have problems monitoring the location and temperature of its transportation containers.
• If sensors are installed independently from vehicle-mounted terminals, the sensors may not be able to monitor the entire logistics process, because a backhaul using 2G, 3G, or 4G public networks results in high power consumption.
NB-IoT Enables Transformation of Smart Logistics
The solution uses the carrier network without requiring a gateway or a concentrator. It is more convenient to install devices and data can be obtained flexibly. Vendors and owners need only focus on the core services, without paying attention to network maintenance.
NB-IoT-based sensors can directly access the network, resulting in a simple network structure.
Sensors have low power consumption and are powered by batteries. Installation is simple, without the need for wires. The sensors can monitor the entire logistics process in real time.
The solution collects and traces data with a backhaul volume of less than 100 KB.
When working with GPS, the solution can provide positioning accuracy to the nearest 10 m, which meets the positioning requirements of logistics.