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SenseAware is FedEx’s Internet of Things Response to Supply Chain Optimization

By 24/7 Staff / / September 30th, 2016

Chris Swearingen, manager of SenseAware at FedEx, gave a talk titled "How Innovations in Manufacturing and Supply Chain are Redefining Mobility and Reshaping the Globe" he spoke about the company’s “internet of things” product SenseAware and how it is driving supply chain optimization.

Supply chain visibility is critical to a company’s operational performance improvement, according to 63% of 149 responding companies in a survey conducted by Aberdeen Group.

“Visibility is a prerequisite to supply chain agility and responsiveness,” the report states.

And it requires tracking the location of a shipment not only at the transportation level, but also at a unit and item level.

Location tracking is good protection against shipment theft or loss, but companies need a deeper level of visibility for their products, according to FedEx.

The company’s solution? The IoT-inspired SenseAware, a sensor-based logistics solution.

SBL uses sensors to detect the shipment’s environmental conditions while warehoused or in transit and sends the data - via wireless communication devices - to a management software system where the data is collected, displayed, analyzed and stored.

Chris Swearingen, manager of SenseAware at FedEx

“The IoT-inspired FedEx SenseAware, is a sensor-based logistics solution”Chris Swearingen, manager of SenseAware at FedEx

It is “the basis of a powerful new central nervous system for the global supply chain,” according to FedEx.

The device is meant to provide intelligence that can help enterprises coordinate and manage product, information and financial flows.

SenseAware is a sensor device for the IoT
SenseAware is a multisensor device that monitors critical shipments - in near real-time - from when they are packed and picked up to the time they’re delivered and beyond.

Typically placed inside packages, pallets, trailers and warehouses, the device collects data from items and transmits that data via wireless communication to an online application for monitoring and analysis.

SenseAware measures environmental conditions on the unit level, including:

  • Current location;
  • Relative humidity;
  • Temperature;
  • Light exposure;
  • Barometric pressure; and
  • Shock detection.

For example, vaccines must be maintained at a very narrow temperature range during shipping or they are compromised and cannot be used. A SenseAware device traveling inside the shipment container can monitor the temperature and help ensure the vaccines’ stability.

On its own, the SenseAware device can monitor temperatures between -20°C and 60°C, according to FedEx. With the dry ice probe, the SenseAware device can measure temperatures from -80°C to 60°C. Adding the cryogenic probe will allow for measuring temperatures as low as -195°C.

FedEx offers an online application that displays the collected data from SenseAware. The dashboard provides an overview of all of the active SenseAware devices in a network.

How an enterprise can connect its FedEx packages
Here are ways companies can monitor their shipments on a package or pallet level through the company’s ShipmentWatch software:

  • Order a SenseAware device for an individual shipment or multiple devices for larger projects;
  • FedEx will program device according to needs;
  • Device is shipped to enterprise;
  • Place the device in your package or on your pallet; and
  • FedEx monitors the SenseAware application 24/7 from pickup to delivery. - 24/7 Support including Chat

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