To Keep Cold Chain Safe, NanoThings and Senet Tag the IoT

By Cynthia S. Artin March 15, 2018

Senet, a software and network service and operations company which has built a LoRaWAN network in the US, clearly believes little things mean a lot.

Last week, they announced a strategic partnership with NanoThings, an IoT logistics solution provider using nano electronics to make device connectivity less expensive with low cost tags, deployable by the millions.

NanoThings has rolled out a new offering called the “NanoTagä” and they’re first aiming it, with Senet as the network and cloud connectivity supplier, at the asset tracking and cold chain industries.

The companies theorize that by combining nanotechnologies with widely available and affordable low power wide area network (LPWAN) coverage, managing connected things becomes easier and a lot less expensive than alternatives (satellite, cellular and narrowband connecting to higher end sensors which require more compute power at the edge).

As recently reported by Juniper Research, connections using unlicensed network technology will increase from 50 million by the end of this year to almost 400 million by 2022, generating revenues 100 percent higher than cellular solutions. With our unique and flexible network expansion and business engagement models, Senet is at the forefront of supporting this growth and contributing to the digital transformation of businesses globally,” said Bruce Chatterley, CEO of Senet.

Their ambitions are not small. According to their new release, this combination will “disrupt the logistics industry.” NanoThings did invent and has filed for a patent on what they claim are “the world’s first and only Low Power Wide Area Network enabled disposable environmental sensors.”

Thinner than a credit card and powered by ultra-thin, non-toxic batteries, these tags bridge the gap between Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and cellular-based asset trackers.

“Industry adoption of existing products has been limited by cost, size or connectivity. Cellular-based products are expensive and power hungry, and RFID has extremely limited read range. Senet’s low power network offers inexpensive connectivity and better propagation than cellular, allowing us to leverage low-cost nanotechnologies to bring a new breed of product to the market,” said Tim Williams, CEO of NanoThings.

The companies are looking at economics as the driving factor, given the obvious gains that can be had when more assets can be managed to drive efficiencies in logistics, shipping and ongoing tracking, but also point out the benefits of a smaller footprint and general ease of use with the electronic tags. Hundreds of companies have been developing for the continually growing asset tracking industry, but the costs have been high whether for hardware, systems or connectivity.

This includes the cold chain industry, which is regulated to maintain food safety. A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain, which follows an uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities, along with associated equipment and logistics, which maintain a desired low-temperature range.

The North American cold chain market size was valued at USD $62.37 billion in 2015, according to Grand View Research, and could reach over $100 billion by 2025. With more and more retailers, including drug stores, convenience stores and big box stores carrying frozen products.

Strong government regulations are requiring manufacturers to follow stringent practices in their procurement and service providers to increase investment for obtaining safety certifications, which could drive tremendous interest and investment in any system that helps them better managed the supply chain.

Cold chain is also a mission critical aspect of the supply chain for the pharmaceutical industry, as many drugs, including expensive oncological treatments, must be kept at low temperatures and stored through their shelf life in a highly stable fashion.

New cold chain technologies are being deployed to retain the quality of the harvested food and pharmaceuticals, while guaranteeing a cost-efficient supply of the products. With a proper cold chain in place, the quality and nutritive values of food and drugs are extended, given restrained bacterial growth & biological degradation.

Some of the advanced features available with NanoTags include a long-lasting battery, durability, temperature, pressure and shock sensing and proprietary “open sensor” functionality that determines when packages are opened.

“Using sensors, tags and other wireless technologies to track assets and goods through the global supply chain is one of the fundamental use cases for the Internet of Things. It is also one of the most impactful, with trillions of economic value to be generated by asset supply, usage and associated IoT data monetization, said Bruce Chatterley, CEO of Senet. “We are looking forward to working with NanoThings to help IoT reach its full potential in these critically important markets.”

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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