Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Location sensing integration tracks goods through supply chain

Steve Rogerson
August 1, 2017



California-based Cratus is integrating Norwegian company Thin Film Electronics’ technology into mobile sensor platforms, enabling location sensing and tamper-evidence monitoring of high-value goods through the tap of a smartphone or commercial reader.
 
Cratus' recently launched mobile sensor-platform for high-value shipments was designed to record ambient environment data including temperature, pressure, shock, orientation and humidity. Serving as a silent sentinel on a package's journey through the supply chain, the sensor platform was designed to capture adverse events and record them for dispute resolution and general supply chain monitoring.
 
In addition to GPS tracking and multiple methods of communications options including Bluetooth, cellular, wifi and LPWAN, Cratus wanted to add location tracking capabilities and next-generation tamper detection functionality to its sensor platform and turned to Thin Film's OpenSense technology to enhance the security, flexibility and user experience in its offering.
 
"We chose Thin Film's NFC solution based on its unique ability to indicate both the sealed and tampered states of a shipping box or product enclosure," said Zeki Gunay, CEO of Cratus Technology. “Our customers can now use the Cratus sensor platform with Thin Film's OpenSense tags to reliably track and determine the integrity of a shipment throughout its journey along the supply chain. Thinfilm's technology not only gives us a way to extend the applications of our products and promote their reusability, but also provides an added layer of package security, which delivers significant value to the customer."
 
According to a report by security risk management firm Kroll, during 2016 29% of businesses suffered from thefts of physical assets or stock, while 26% of businesses suffered from vendor, supplier or procurement fraud. These losses typically occurred within an unmonitored, unsecured supply chain.
 
Adding discrete, flexible sensors such as the OpenSense tags into packaging can help reduce these losses once the product leaves the shipping dock. OpenSense combines IoT technology and a cloud-based management portal that enables digital authentication and engagement in the physical world. The tags, which can be integrated into a range of packaging form factors, generate data to help supply chain managers track, trace and secure shipments.
 
"Our collaboration with Cratus demonstrates Thin Film's continued growth in the business-to-business market, and we're excited to add our OpenSense tags to the Cratus platform," said Davor Sutija, CEO of Thin Film. "We look forward to working closely with Cratus in delivering leading-edge supply chain solutions that effectively reduce the fraud, waste and loss that often occurs through product tampering and diversion."
 
Thin Film Electronics creates printed tags, labels and systems that include memory, sensors, displays and wireless communications. It offers end-to-end mobile marketing with hardware, label and packaging integration services, and cloud-based management, reporting and analytics.
 
Cratus develops sensor-centric products and systems with embedded algorithms. Products and sub-systems are customised using requirements derived from the needs of each application.