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ABI: Telematics Interest Forces New Products
According to new research from ABI Research, increasing fleet owner interest in trailer tracking and monitoring solutions has telematics vendors scrambling to introduce new, specialized telematics equipment. The study finds that the industry has evolved to the point where telematics systems vendors are now providing specialized hardware for specific types of trailers besides the common dry van, such as refrigerated and flatbed trailers, and even intermodal cargo containers.
"We are seeing this newfound interest in trailer tracking and monitoring coming from several areas," says Frank Viquez, ABI Research's director of automotive research. "Homeland security has been a big motivator among fleet owners and will remain so, but other factors include the replacement of analog-based telematics hardware with digital, a readily realized return on investment for hardware, and the use of telematics as a differentiator for major truckload carriers to improve their efficiency and customer service efforts." One of the largest commercial deployments so far this year has been in North America, where Schneider National will outfit all of its 48,000 trailers with Qualcomm's new T2 trailer tracking hardware.
ABI Research cautions industry participants that markets are in differing stages of growth around the world. For example in Europe, the EU's growing pains are temporarily stalling hardware vendor efforts until standards for a harmonized road-tolling infrastructure and equipment can be realized. In the Middle East and Africa, adoption continues to increase but will pale in comparison to some emerging Asian regions, including India and China.
ABI: RFID Gets Pharmaceuticals' Attention
Drug counterfeiting may cost the worldwide pharmaceutical industry more than $30 billion annually, and the use of RFID could help reduce that counterfeiting, asserts ABI in a recent report. Some companies are embracing RFID tagging of drug shipments at the item level. At least three major manufacturers — Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Purdue Pharma — have announced plans to tag their products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended tracking in the pharmaceutical supply chain, and state governments in the U.S. — beginning with Florida and California — are starting to mandate "pedigrees": verification of drug shipments' integrity from manufacturer to retailer. While none of these initiatives requires the use of RFID, they do recommend it.
According to ABI analyst Sara Shah, the state pedigrees, which will take effect over the next two years, are pushing companies to adopt RFID. "While RFID will address patient safety issues," says Shah, "it will also bring down costs for pharmaceutical companies. Tagging items through the supply chain provides increased visibility and enables executives to make better and timelier business decisions."
Now that the EPCglobal standard for RFID tag data has been ratified, Shah believes, high-volume production will see tag prices start to fall in the third quarter of 2005. "With the industry losing $2 billion due to overstock and expiry and $30 billion due to counterfeiting, there is an opportunity for RFID to right the ship," she says. "Supply chain visibility and real-time data-driven supply chain information-sharing solutions can help troubled pharmaceutical makers, distributors, and retailers to strengthen performance."
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