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Digitizing assets to make more sustainable decisions — Net-Zero Carbon

(Photo: FreightWaves)

On this episode of Net-Zero Carbon, Tyler Cole, director of carbon intelligence at FreightWaves, is joined by Daniel MacGregor, co-founder of Nexxiot. They discuss how data can benefit different stakeholders and sectors and how harvesting operational data can improve business decisions.

Nexxiot provides hardware and software solutions to gather data and allow companies to optimize fleet operations. The company is trying to “hit the sweet spot” — accelerating positive environmental change and making those changes commercially viable.

Harvesting useful rail data

Nexxiot noticed that rail freight was “hemorrhaging money” due to inefficiencies, but it was hard to pin down the issues because there are so many moving parts and asset types in that sector. 

“Most of the time you don’t know what caused something. People with the main knowledge might have a good guess, but they don’t have proof,” MacGregor said. This makes it difficult to make informed decisions for more efficient operations.

The company created sensory devices that attach to railcars and send granular data to the cloud every five minutes. This helps rail companies manage maintenance, operations and route optimization.

“You can really reduce a lot of costs but also a lot of environmental waste from manufacturing processes and reclaiming broken-down assets,” MacGregor said.

Delivering data to various stakeholders

Data is useful for stakeholders across the supply chain. 

Asset owners aim to optimize their operations, reduce maintenance costs and provide a high quality of service to cargo owners. Data relaying humidity, temperature and other cargo conditions are valuable to cargo owners to ensure the products they move arrive in optimal form. Industrial operations rely on timely cargo arrivals to run their plants efficiently.

“It depends on who the stakeholder is. We try to think of the entire ecosystem, whether it’s the customs [or] the terminals, everybody needs to have some of that data in order to optimize their own operations,” MacGregor said.

Data can help companies optimize upstream and downstream and facilitate greater efficiencies with competition.

“It makes sense to me that we need full end-to-end visibility across the supply chain. By necessity, that’s going to cover a myriad of actors and stakeholders,” Cole said. “When I think about a solution like this, I think about it like a layer two blockchain that’s plugging into all of the different layer one systems and building on top of it.”

MacGregor said that Nexxiot believes in integration, open-source and connectivity to “provide value as broadly as possible, even to our own competitors.” The company started by using the technology and sensors that were already available instead of starting from scratch.

MacGregor studied environmental science but decided to go into industry instead of scientific research. “If you look at the governments of the world, they’re quite preoccupied,” and he aims to “drive the positive change that we need to see now.”

View all of FreightWaves’ Net-Zero Carbon episodes and sustainability stories.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.