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article imageHoneywell taps AT&T to help bridge spotty IoT connections

By DX JOURNAL     Sep 25, 2018 in Business
This story is sponsored content from Cognizant.
Unreliable communication networks meant transportation companies are unable to capture full value from the IoT. But that’s changing.
If it’s true that a network is only as strong as its weakest link, it could easily explain why logistics providers have been less than thrilled with the rollout of some IoT freight solutions.
In the freight and shipping business, containers and other physical assets move from place to place, sometimes over long distances, where network connectivity can be poor to non-existent. Most cellular networks — especially the latest 5G networks that are beginning to roll out worldwide — are designed to serve large swaths of population. Urban areas represent the motherlode in terms of service, while rural regions like farmland or rough, mountainous terrain are often dead zones.
This simple reality creates a challenge for any IoT platform that needs to reliably communicate from all points along a shipping route.
Related: Stepping into Digital with IOT – 14 Cases
In 2017, 100 surveyed freight and logistic companies said that unreliable communication networks meant they were unable to capture full value from the IoT. Connected sensors aboard trucks and trains are designed to provide real-time capture and communication of critical data, such as location, temperature, light, humidity and pressure.
Honeywell, which provides digital transformation and IIoT services to its clients, realized that it needed to be proactive to address this challenge. Conventional wisdom suggested that what was needed was a satellite-based communication platform. However, such space-based systems are expensive when compared to terrestrial equivalents, and not necessarily optimized for the constant, yet low-bandwidth requirements of freight IoT sensors.
So Honeywell formed a partnership with AT&T to devise a communication solution that delivered the cost benefits of terrestrial with the coverage of satellite. Their combined system “works via a mesh network protocol which allows the sensors to communicate data back to a nearby centralised gateway device,” according to Computer Business Review. The result: Vastly improved connectivity via next-generation Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) networks.
[Download] Stepping into Digital with IOT – 14 Cases
“It gives logistics providers near real-time data insights about their shipments in-transit,” says Sameer Agrawal, general manager of IoT Solutions for Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. “And we can unleash a wide array of connected products and services for aircraft operators.”
With some projections estimating that the logistics automation market will be worth $101 billion by 2024, the need for a robust, reliable, and ubiquitous wireless communication link has never been greater.
[Download] Stepping into Digital with IOT – 14 Cases
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