At that time, it expects to have half of the approximately 1,000 units on-site equipped with active RFID tags, as well as a number of RFID interrogators. Identec's solution, known as the Reefer Asset Management System (RAMS), has been on the market for about six months, and is already in use by freight carriers, as well as several port terminals.
The RAMS i-Q350 RCM is an active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag that connects to the reefer unit's microprocessor controller via a standard serial port. This connection to the microcontroller not only enables the RAMS tag to receive temperature, humidity and other data from sensors built into the reefer unit, but also allows the tag to serve as a two-way wireless modem between the back-end server and the microprocessor controller. Because of that two-way communication capability, the RAMS tag (acting like a modem) enables users such as TecPlata to not only monitor conditions, but also remotely instruct devices within the container to alter settings or turn themselves on or off.
Identec developed the technology approximately five years ago for another customer, Sea Star Line, in partnership with Mark-It Services (MIS), the vessel company's New Jersey-based reefer services provider. Sea Star Line sought to use RFID to obtain data regarding the conditions of refrigerated containers on its vessels, and also wanted staff members on those vessels to be able to remotely address any problems identified by the system, such as a temperature registering as several degrees higher or lower than it should be.