Asset tracking goes global with OnAsset Intelligence/AT&T partnership

OnAsset's security and cold-chain monitoring devices will feed real-time data through AT&T's global wireless network

For pharma manufacturers that want step-by-step tracking of cold-chain shipments (or just to monitor any shipment in transit), OnAsset Intelligence (Irving, TX) has now struck a partnership with AT&T (Dallas) whereby the former’s Sentry 400 Flight Safe datalogger and Vision platform (a cloud-based reporting system) will be integrated with AT&T’s wireless network. Both companies will market the asset-tracking service, and next-generation dataloggers are in the works.

OnAsset was one of the early offerings of small devices that both take condition readings (temperature, pressure, shock and vibration, light/dark and humidity, among others) and combine them with cellular communications capability. The result is an asset tracking system that can automatically communicate status to logistics providers or shippers. Although it’s being called real-time reporting, the service cannot communicate during a flight (FAA requirements preclude radio transmissions of aircraft in flight), and in fact the ability to automatically shut off when a flight begins and then turn on again when the plane lands is a desired feature of the technology.

The AT&T partnering isn’t OnAsset’s first; it had a prior relationship (now ended) with the Sprint communications network. OnAsset also has partnered with several air carriers and is the underlying technology for Southwest Air Cargo’s Cargo Companion service. OnAsset also recently announced a similar arrangement with Envirotainer, developers of popular unit-load devices (ULDs) that can carry pallet-sized cargo in wide-body aircraft. Adam Crossno, CEO of OnAsset, says that shippers have an increased flexibility in accessing shipment-tracking services from carriers, from security monitoring firms, from telecomm companies, or with their own internal logistics departments. “The life sciences industry is still educating itself about the value of real-time tracking,” he says, “but having gone through multiple rounds of testing and qualification with it, we are now seeing tremendous uptake of this technology.”