FedEx Launches Real-Time Tracking with SenseAware ID

The new tracking devices will be used for future COVID-19 vaccine shipments.

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Need to Know

  • A lightweight device on FedEx shipments will transmit location data every two seconds, leading to optimized real-time tracking.
  • The new sensor-based tracking on FedEx packages will help trace future COVID-19 vaccine shipments.
  • FedEx has been using SenseAware since March when it used the technology to safely transport COVID-19 test specimens from drive-thru testing centers to laboratories in the U.S.

Analysis

FedEx has announced the implementation of new sensors that will give real-time tracking data on packages, with the intention of using them on future COVID-19 vaccine shipments.

SenseAware ID, which is part of FedEx’s SenseAware platform, will take the form of tiny sensors that will be placed on time-sensitive packages and shipments, such as vaccines and other medical items. The devices transmit location data every two seconds while attached to a shipment, using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), to WiFi access points or gateway devices within the FedEx Express network. Location data is therefore provided hundreds of times over the course of a shipment’s journey from source to destination, rather than dozens of times using current manual tools.

“Package tracking and visibility are more important now than ever, as businesses have become increasingly reliant on timely deliveries,” said FedEx chief information officer Robert B. Carter. “Created by our innovation teams at FedEx, SenseAware ID was designed to give our customers the precise level of tracking they’ve been looking for, enabling them to optimize their supply chains and make any necessary adjustments during the journey of their shipments.”

The SenseAware platform allows customers to monitor factors like light, vibration, and temperature, in addition to location, when shipping an item. FedEx used the technology in March to ship COVID-19 test specimens from drive-thru testing centres in the US to laboratories.

The roll-out of SenseAware ID is just the latest in a series of moves by FedEx to give consumers better visibility of their shipments. In March, FedEx partnered with online freight marketplace Freightos in order to access that company’s WebCargo AcceleRate, a multi-modal rate management and sales digitization platform; and WebCargo Air, an air cargo pricing, quoting, and eBooking platform. With the Freightos partnership, FedEx has been able to give customers access to instant global freight pricing. And in May, FedEx unveiled a partnership with Microsoft that would offer real-time insight on product inventory to sellers.

SenseAware ID sensors are being applied to First Overnight shipments within the domestic FedEx Express network in the United States, and a round of customers in the healthcare, aerospace, and retail industries will be given access to SenseAware data in November 2020. FedEx expects to expand access to SenseAware ID to additional customers in the first half of 2021.

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