IoT Tracking Systems: Taking The Fright out of Air Freight

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IoT Tracking Systems: Taking The Fright out of Air Freight

IoT Tracking Systems: Detecting cargo damage in transit can help insurers and forwarders to clear claims faster. Lufthansa Industry Solutions and its partners have developed a novel solution that uses a combination of sensor, eSIM, and blockchain technology.

by Gerhard Kafka

Disputes often end up as finger-pointing exercises with nobody willing to take the blame without incontrovertible evidence. “It wasn’t us, it was them” is a difficult and costly tangle for insurance companies or loss adjusters to resolve. With fast turnarounds and multiple points of contact – between cargo handlers and customs officers – it is important to be able to pinpoint and correct the cause of any mishap for the efficient running of the air freight industry.
That’s why Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND) chose to develop a trusted, secure IoT service to detect and document damage, in partnership with embedded SIM (eSIM) data security specialist Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), smart-device manufacturer Sloc, and blockchain start-up Ubirch. Using G+D Mobile Security’s SIGNiT tracking with Sloc’s Damage Detection Sensors, LHIND’s system offers detection-as-a-service (DaaS) so companies can identify danger areas and modify their supply chains to prevent future incidents.

IoT Tracking Systems - Eyin the Sky

Eye in the Sky: Lufthansa Industry Solutions turned to Giesecke+Devrient and Ubrich to develop a secure blockchain-based IoT system to detect and document damage during transport.

Moving freight by air is usually the fastest and most effective method of transporting goods over distance – but it is also very expensive. According to a World Bank report, air freight costs are typically four to five times higher than road trans-port, and 15 to 16 times higher than going by sea. With higher costs involved, it’s essential that any damage to the goods is easily reported so settlement can be reached quickly.

The Challenge

As freight passes through multiple hands, placing responsibility for damage can be difficult. The secure, trusted collection and transmission of cargo dam-age data is necessary to provide a complete picture of when and where it happened. Any data collected must be tamper-resistant and irrefutable, especially when insurance claims and business decisions are based on it. For example, if the data shows that one particular company was responsible for a significant amount of damage, it could have a knock-on effect to its relationships with other suppliers and customers. Any tracking solution has to avoid errors and prevent the possibility of data alteration to protect the reputations of everyone involved.IoT Tracking Systems

IoT Tracking Systems - The Mix Is Key

The Mix Is Key: To locate a container several technologies such as GPS, mobile radio, and satellite are used.

The Solution

A key component in fleet management systems is the cargo container tracking component. This is usually GPS-based but it can also be set up as a cellular triangulation platform. In some applications LPWAN (low-power WAN) technologies, such as LoRa or Sigfox, can also be used to transmit data from a container to a nearby access point. Once container location, direction, and speed are determined, the details can be transmitted to a fleet management application. Users can then see actual, real-time locations of their fleet on a map and respond to events quickly and decisively. The data is usually transmitted across terrestrial networks but satellite tracking, while more expensive, may be necessary for uninterrupted communication in remote environments.

With SigniT we are solving the most critical challenge of these ecosystems: trustworthy data for all digitized processes.
Carsten Ahrens, G+D Mobile Security
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LHIND has combined several technologies into its secure air cargo offering. Sloc’s sensors are connected to a unique eSIM card containing G+D Mobile’s SIGNiT software, using Ubirch’s blockchain to assure integrity. This novel use of secure SIM connectivity with embedded blockchain cryptography ensures 100 percent end-to-end security of the sensor data.

Business Benefits

With the damage detection sensors, Lufthansa Industry Solutions provides an innovative DaaS offering that uses the SIGNiT solution from G+D Mobile Security. It helps companies to use IoT data to reliably track where goods were damaged in transit.

Our aim is to achieve significant ROI improvements of 70 percent.
Holger Schlüter, Lufthansa Industry Solutions
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Offering totally secure and tamperproof damage reports across the entire transportation process allows companies to understand their supply chains in much finer detail. This insight can transform relationships with transportation providers, highlight weak links, and offer an objective, reliable method of managing global ship-ping and cargo operations.IoT Tracking Systems
Although developed for air freight, LHIND’s goods tracking system is flexible and, if it takes off and provides the dividends expected, it could easily be adapted to improve land and sea transport.


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G+D Mobile Security’s product uses a novel combination of eSIM and blockchain technology. It forms a scalable framework that can be extended from air freight to encompass land and sea operations.

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