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Category: RFID, Automated Data Collection, and Internet of Things

RFID, AIDC and IoT New Round Up for July 22, 2019


Real-Time Ocean Container Tracking Gaining Steam; Bar Code Fraud with Gift Cards; Be Careful Buying Bar Code Scanning Apps


July 22, 2019
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are three of the top stories in automated data collection, RFID and the Internet of Things in recent weeks.

Real Time Ocean Container Monitoring and Tracking Gaining Momentum

The ocean container shipping sector is increasingly using IoT devices to track container movements and conditions.

A recent article on the IEEE Spectrum web site reports that several large and small shipping companies have turned to Traxens, a French technology firm, to help them deploy IoT devices across their fleets.

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When the buyer of the real gift card tries to use it or checks on the card web site, it will find there is no value.

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Last year in fact, the largest container carrier, Maersk Line, not only began deploying Traxens technology – it invested in the company as well.

In early July, Indonesian shipping company, PT TKSolusindo deployed a series of Traxens Iot monitors, slightly longer and thinner than a brick, with a series of sensors plus GPS tracking. These devices can track location, detect shock and motion, and check the temperature, humidity, and alarms on refrigerated containers.

150,000 shipping containers will be equipped with Traxen devices across all of the carriers they plan to serve over the next few years. When Maersk invested in the company, it committed to ordering 50,000 devices.

Traxens notes that the devices will not just monitor containers, but eventually also allow customers to regulate the internal temperature of a refrigerated container, which could be quite value when shipping food or medicines.

Traxens uses cellular technology to communicate with its devices. And of course, battery life is an issue, with the need for the batteries to last for months. Traxens says its technology reduces power loss and increases energy efficiency.

That combined with smarts about when information is communicated maximizes battery life.

Maersk, however, appears to be keeping its options open. The company has also done deals with telecom company Ericsson and for the development of a Remote Container Management system, which is an interface that allows customers to check the location and conditions of their container.

Bar Code Fraud on Gift Cards

For about as long as there have been bar codes in retail – we recently marked the 45th anniversary of the first UPC bar code scan – there have been thieves trying to game the system.

As SCDigest has reported a number of times, local police regularly catch thieves who put UPC price stickers from much less expensive items on more costly ones, paying the low price, then generally selling the stolen goods for cash on the street.

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Sometimes, thieves pocket tens of thousands of dollars using this approach before they are caught.

Now a new twist on that old scheme.

Just recently, reports from Huntsville, AL on a similar but more ingenious ploy to steal gift card values, a crime apparently cropping up across the US.

"Scammers are printing out their own bar codes, laminating them and putting them on top of the actual gift card bar code," sold at grocery and other retail outfits, said Julia Cherry, Director of Communications for the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama.

It works like this: the thieves glue a bar code for another gift card at the retail display, covering the real bar code. Then when the clerk activates the card, the value goes to the scammer's card instead of the one being purchased.

When the buyer of the real gift card tries to use it or checks on the card web site, it will find there is no value.

"Make sure you're not just pulling off the first one you see. Try to get one in the middle or the back. Even then, there's no guarantee that it hasn't been tampered with so make sure you're closing inspecting all gift cards," Cherry said.


Bar Careful with Apps for Bar Code Scanning on Smart Phones

Looking for an app to enable bar code scanning on your smart phone(s)? Be careful what you download or pay for.

According to a recent blog post by Richard Gao on the web site, "the creatively named "QR Code Reader-Barcode scanner & QR Code Scanner" might be one of the absolute worst apps in the entire marketplace. At over one million installs, there's a lot of dirty money in play if even a small fraction of people were defrauded out of roughly $100 each."

Gao says complaints about the app in general began in early October 2018, with reviews before then complaining about full-screen ads infiltrating every nook and cranny of their phones after downloading a trial of the app.

Looking at reviews, many people reportedly they were charged the full $95.00 for the app even after cancelling before the trial period ended. Some claimed that they'd never even accepted the subscription in the first place and were still charged. Others stated that the app bombarded their phone with ads, with some even saying that it sent up to 15 notifications per day with bogus things like "test 6321."

And make sure if you do try or buy a scanning (or any) app, make sure you read through many pages or reviews. Gao says the reviews for the QR Code Reader-barcode has several obviously fake positive reviews near the top.

Any reaction to the stories in this week' roundup? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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