Digital Transformation in Yard Management Using LoRaWAN

In the dynamic environment of a freight yard, IoT technology, including LoRaWAN solutions, can provide accurate insight into trailer location and movement, equipment status, scheduling and more.

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Recorded Webinar

Apr 13, 2022 | Length: 52:13

In the dynamic environment of a freight yard, IoT technology, including LoRaWAN solutions, can provide accurate insight into trailer location and movement, equipment status, scheduling and more.

Watch this recorded webinar to learn how IoT technology — including Long Range, Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) solutions can help freight yard managers ensure smooth, safe, and cost-effective operations by providing visibility and control over every trailer movement and every aspect of loading dock performance.
5 Reasons to Consider LoRaWAN
In addition to its long-range and low-power, read about five more good reasons to consider LoRaWAN for wireless connectivity.

Follow-up Webinar Q&A

Thank you again for attending our session on Digital Transformation in Yard Management using LoRaWAN. Here are the questions that followed the presentation and their answers. If you have additional questions, be sure to reach out.

Why do customers choose you? What do you have that others do not have? Which industries are you serving? Which successful business cases can you share with the audience?

4Front: We are the manufacture of the loading dock equipment and as they are looking for connectivity solutions for their facility operations, we are able to discuss our options during that time.

What is your GoTo market strategy?

4Front: Our Go to market strategy is devised by working the sales and marketing team. At the core of our strategy is creating products with a customer focused approach. We accomplish this by launching Minimum Viable (MVP) products to the market with target customers to gather feedback based on a timetable. If the product meets the criteria for the target market, the go to market strategy is reviewed and any revisions are made before officially launching the product to market for all customers. At the core of our strategy is utilizing our distribution and key accounts sales channels to drive our products in the market.

Do you only provide development kits or actual solutions as well?

Digi: Digi provides development kits for OEM customers that are seeking to build a complete sensor offering. Digi provides complete device, gateway and cloud solution offering for OEMs and enterprises that are looking to solve IIoT problems with little or no development. The Digi X-ON solution offering can provide all the way from cloud-scale customer enterprise web applications down to basic device & gateway management.

Are there any components of this system measuring things away from the yard…like tracking trucks BEFORE they arrive so that their arrival is anticipated in advance?

Digi: The industry for monitoring trucks in transit and optimizing routes is very mature today in terms of IoT. Our solution is targeted at a different customer, the warehouse or yard manager, not the trucking industry. The primary concern for the supply chain industry is in loading and unloading at the warehouse.

How are the end devices powered? If by batteries, then it seems like an over the air update can put a large drain on the battery. How is this mitigated?

Digi: The Digi IEC is powered as a Class C LoRaWAN device with sub-second 2-way latency using the same industrial power that is supplied to the docking electronics. The IEC can also be used for remote docking operations on batteries. Configuration Over The Air (COTA) uses less than 99.9% less battery power and 95% less time than typical FUOTA approaches to edge device updates.

What are all of the devices, and how is the LoRaWAN gateway connected to the Internet? What is the overall functionality?

Digi: The docking electronics are based on an industrial controller. The IIoT solution uses the Digi Intelligent Edge Controller (IEC) to interface with the docking electronics, providing an edge monitoring and control with an integrated LoRaWAN radio to the Digi X-ON cloud. The X-ON cloud manages the devices, gateways and delivers the cloud application. Digi X-ON also provides custom data APIs directly to other logistics and warehousing automation customers of 4Front that are developing their own software solutions on top of the 4Front system.

What technology is used for determining location of end devices? GPS or LoRaWAN triangulation by installing multiple LoRaWAN GWs?

Digi: The Digi X-ON platform combines mobile, GPS and other location technologies into a selection algorithm that calculates the most accurate location for each device and/or gateway. In general, LoRaWAN triangulation is rarely used, as lacks the accuracy or cost effectiveness of the Digi X-ON device location.

How is edge-compute powered? How is it programmed?

Digi: The Digi IEC uses a proprietary edge compute engine that is shipped with each device. The edge compute system can monitor sub-second in real-time. The edge compute engine operates locally on the IEC, so uses lower power, network and cloud computing resources than a cloud-based software agent. The edge compute engine supports a proprietary Over-The-Air language for programming rules, actions and events.

Does the 4Sight solution only track the trailer on the yard? Does it provide condition monitoring of the contents on the trailer that may be in a Refr truck?

4Front: The 4SIGHT Connect solution not only tracks the trailer in the yard but can track anything affixed to it externally. We also leverage LoRaWAN technology for our loading dock equipment. We are not monitoring the contents of the trailer. However, we provide the means to integrate with our yard solution to send information regarding the contents that may be available in another system like a Warehouse Management system, etc.

Are we considering 2.4 GHz options?

Digi: There are no use cases we are considering for 2.4 GHz for industrial solutions primarily due to range, interference.

I used to use Rabbit controller starter and advanced kits. Are there any available dev kits for Digi’s LoRaWAN solution?

Digi: Yes, the Digi X-ON and Digi XBee LoRaWAN kits are available on Digi-Key and Mouser. These kits provide a complete developer experience for building your own sensors. The Digi Intelligent Edge Controller (IEC), Digi HX series gateways and Digi X-ON cloud is a fully complete OEM product that can be integrated with a wide range of industrial controllers and sensors to add IIoT automation. Please contact your local Digi sales representative or reach out via our Contact Us page if you would like a deep dive introduction, demo or a field trial of the Digi IEC solution