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Deutsche Telekom, SAP unleash the Bees to track shipping containers


Deutsche Telekom and SAP have debuted an IoT solution for logistics that can track the status of individual containers as well as the position of the vehicles carrying them.

The Germany-based operator is responsible for collecting the data and integrating it into other SAP applications. Users of the solution can coordinate the movement of their fleets of vehicles or ships, document the state of goods and optimise their supply chains by using live data.

The solutions uses IoT devices from Roambee, a partner company of Deutsche Telekom. The devices use GPS to track its location, can measure temperature and humidity, and can track when it is undergoing vibrations.

[Read more: Operators look to potential of industrial IoT to produce new revenue streams]

The devices, dubbed Bees, can be attached to containers magnetically or be packed with the shipped products because of their size. These Bees can automatically create transport lists, document loading and unloading of pallets, as well as optimise storage, Deutsche Telekom said.

The Bees send data to a nearby Roambee beacon using Bluetooth Low Energy and this is sent onto the customer.

[Read more:T-Systems taps Microsoft for public cloud push]

The operator singled our car manufacturers, production operation, warehouses and suppliers as potential logistics companies that could use the solution.

It will offer the service to customers either through a monthly subscription or by selling individual Bees, which will be costed according to their associated services.

Deutsche Telekom said the new service is the first fruits of a partnership it signed with SAP at Mobile World Congress in February this year.

TIM is another operator looking at the potential of new kinds of connectivity to improve shipping and logistics. It is using pre-5G technology to connect the port of Bari as part of a wide-ranging trial exploring next generation technology.