Visilion are rolling out our upgraded tracking device that aims to improve the end user experience of our customers. To give you a good overview of the new model we’ve interviewed Visilion Program Manager, Peter Ekdahl. With over 13 years of working experience with Sony, Peter has been managing product development since April 2019.
For those who are not yet familiar with the Visilion tracking solution, can you explain which kind of companies can benefit from using it?
Peter: Manufacturing companies and logistics providers stand to benefit. This is because supply chain and logistics managers in these companies are striving to have better control of their deliveries and improve their businesses. By having access to real-time information about the location and condition of goods in transit, they can do that. This is especially important when shipping valuable, fragile or time sensitive goods, since safe, intact and on time deliveries are crucial to make the customers happy, as well as minimising damages and waste.
So, Visilion has a new tracker, what features and functionalities can customers look forward to?
Peter: When we compare the new tracker with the previous model, our customers can look forward to several product improvements, including battery capacity, humidity sensors and an improved IP (Ingress Protection) rating measuring dust and water protection.
Our customers can now look forward to our new tracker having close to 40% increased battery capacity. We have managed to achieve this by making better use of the physical space inside of the tracker. In addition, by using a new generation chipset which operates more efficiently, operation of the device is further improved.
Moreover, our old tracker had an IP rating of 54, meaning that it could withstand damp weather conditions. Although sufficient for most operational uses, we took our new tracker a few steps further and ensured that it now has an IP rating of 67. This means the unit continues to function even after being submersed in one meter deep water for 30 minutes.
Lastly, we have added a humidity sensor to the new tracker, which will be especially useful for customers whose goods are exposed to container rain and condensation during transit.
I would also like to say that from a mechanical point of view, the overall build quality of the new tracker has improved as a result of adjustments made to the manufacturing process.
How will these key improvements solve challenges faced by potential customers?
Peter: Customers that use any form of long-haul transport face various challenges that will now be better addressed with our new tracker. Products that are shipped by train or ship often have transit times that can range from two weeks to two months. Our new tracker, with its nearly 40% increase in battery capacity and other hardware and software optimisations, will offer our customers peace of mind knowing it will hold its charge during long-haul journeys.
Moreover, products that are shipped around the world can pass through multiple different climate conditions on their journey to market. Customers therefore have a keen interest in knowing if their products have been exposed to excessive amounts of humidity in transit. With our tracker’s new ability to measure humidity we are now able to provide consumers with that crucial information.
How will the data be a benefit to potential customers?
Peter: The data that our trackers gather will provide customers with insights regarding transit of their products. Furthermore, aside from simply providing the data to customers as a post analytics report, the Visilion solution provides it in real-time. There is a major benefit here as customers can receive warnings during the shipment of their products if the tracker senses an increase in humidity, for example. Depending on the transport mode used, it may provide logistics companies with enough advanced warning to alter their route and prevent damage to goods. This is particularly pertinent to data measuring humidity as humid conditions can cause serious damage and defects to products that are sensitive to any condensation buildup.
Is there a story of sustainability here?
Peter: Everything that we do to build upon Sony’s Visilion solution strives to keep both the environment and sustainability in mind. We are committed to the Sony Group Code of Conduct which gives due consideration to the impacts business activities have on the interests of stakeholders, shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, local communities, other organisations — and the global environment. Moreover, our commitment to these standards will play a role in Sony’s success in achieving its Road to Zero global environmental plan. This plan aims to reduce Sony’s environmental footprint to zero by 2050.
What were some of the challenges that you faced in developing this new tracker?
Peter: We have spent a considerable amount of time working to strike the balance between relaying information in real time, our tracker’s sensing intervals and the battery life of the device. We had to figure out the optimal time interval for our trackers to collect information. Would it take measurements every minute or hour when sensing for temperature or humidity for example? Additionally, there was the question of how often the tracker should send this information in real-time. Depending on the geographical location of the new tracker, we also had to address the issue of connectivity throughout a shipment’s travel as cellular internet access is not available in the middle of an ocean or when the device is in flight mode for instance.
How will the new tracker allow Visilion to expand its operational capacity? In other words, how will this new tracker enable Visilion to do its job better?
Peter: With greater battery capacity and the new sensing capacity of humidity, we now have a broader range of use cases with respect to how we can help our customers. With a tracker that has nearly 40% more battery capacity, customers can rest easy knowing that each leg of their shipment’s journey will be tracked and monitored. Furthermore, our user interface will include new data series and alarms to account for our tracker’s new ability to sense for humidity. We look forward to our customers’ feedback as we roll the new tracker device out to market.