European rail operator adopts sensors to track assets

A European rail operator is using sensors and blockchain to track its cars. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Zurich-based tech company Nexiot has inked a deal with German firm VTG Aktiengesellshaft to enhance the company’s train tracking sensors, The Handy Shipping Guide reports. The companies hope to improve the way VTG’s 80,000 railcars assets are tracked by applying blockchain technology.

The sensors will also be applied to shipping containers and similar assets to track updates related to mileage spanned, borders crossed and events relevant to delays that a shipment might encounter mid-transit. Any of these elements will trigger Nexiot’s self-sustaining sensors, documenting information sent out as messages to the distributed database every 5 minutes.

Nexiot’s Director of Marketing and Sales, Daniel MacGregor, described these enhancements as a way to “build transparency, trust and legal compliance to our management solution, as the data records are legally binding.” These sensors were already deployed as of January 2018, gathering a total of more than 100 million data points in that month alone.

The blockchain technology infused in these sensors improved data collected by adding a date-and-time stamp. With the date and time stamped in the transaction, it added credibility to the proof of third party quality and proof of service delivery metrics.

MacGregor added, “This blockchain technology also opens the door to the introduction of Smart Digital Contracts. Our sensors have already established a new level of accuracy for contract stipulations of location and location-based events.”

Based on the impressive volume of data gathered for the first month of 2018, MacGregor is optimistic moving forward. “By 2019, it is estimated that 20% of all IoT deployments will have basic levels of blockchain services and this development promises to deliver a long overdue layer of services to enhance quality in logistics. The technology builds trust by preventing manipulation of records of historical events, reduces costs, information silos, overheads, and unnecessary middlemen, and accelerates transaction executions to near real-time instead of days and weeks.”

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