Norbert Riepl

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Ice cold over the sea: In conversation with refridgerated containers

Bananas, bananas. Bananas every day! But how do they actually come to us?

The picture shows the port of Hamburg with all its cranes.

Deutsche Telekom is also active in the Port of Hamburg.

Vegetables, fruits (20 percent of all transports are bananas!), meat, fish or medicines travel in frosty atmosphere in refrigerated containers (technical term: reefers) across the oceans. As with any refrigerator, there is always the risk of a defect. A refrigerator and freezer combination has a capacity of around 350 litres. In contrast, a 20-foot container has a volume of over 38,000 litres. Potential damages that suppliers or shipping companies face are correspondingly bigger.

Inspector to container: Please report

To ensure that the long transport does not become a vabanque game, refrigerated containers are inspected between their voyages. This is what the experts at Smith-Europe, the Dutch market leader for reefer container services in Europe, do. For this, Smith-Europe uses a special Android app to "talk" to the containers. Since the empty containers are usually located at the edge of the Rotterdam port, the radio signals are often too weak. Or they are strongly dampened by the containers themselves.

NarrowBand-IoT is the salvation

Because of this, there were always problems. The data from the containers were not constantly transferred cleanly into Smith Europe's inventory. In close cooperation, T-Mobile Netherlands and the Dutch app forge Itude-Mobile developed an IoT-solution. Smith Europe uses our machine and sensor network (NarrowBand IoT, NB-IoT for short). This is where their communication between the container depot in the port and the outside world takes place. Stable data transmission is no longer a problem thanks to sensors in the five equipped containers and the new network component. The transport of our bananas is secured.

Symbol picture Networking

Internet of Things

The Internet of things becomes part of our everyday life.