Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) is starting to deploy private LTE networks on Seaboard Marine’s cargo ships. The integrator got its start building networks for cruise ships and is now bringing together partners to create IoT networks on cargo vessels. Ericsson provides the LTE radios, Druid Software supplies the vessel’s core network and mobile edge compute capability, and Globe Tracker outfits the refrigerated containers with telematics and also supplies a platform to expose the data collected to Seaboard Marine. WMS has deployed networks on a small number of Seaboard Marine vessels and expects to deploy more before the end of the year.
Lee Mabie, VP of strategy, product development and marketing at WMS, said the networks give the ship’s crew and customers more information about the status of perishable cargo. He said a significant portion of food on cargo ships spoils before it reaches its destination. That’s why shippers are willing to invest in connectivity that can generate data about the status of perishable items before it’s too late.
The next step will be pushing alerts to crew members when a refrigerator stops working. Mabie said WMS is working with Druid on a solution that will enable crew members to get a text message when a refrigerated container malfunctions. “That’s probably the killer app because it’s a vessel-specific benefit,” Mabie said.