The existence of several types of wireless track-and-trace systems suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to locating global air cargo shipments. While the science behind how they work can get technical very quickly, here is a quick guide to the most common tech on the market – or will soon be emerging:
Radio frequency identification (RFID) – One of the earliest forms of track-and-trace tech, RFID was developed in the 1940s using electromagnetic waves to receive signals from the targeting object and then saving the location on a reader. RFID is reliable, but it has a minimal range and tends to be used indoors, where objects can pass directly in front of scanners.
Global positioning satellite (GPS) – These units can achieve global coverage but can be hindered by line-of-sight issues caused by buildings and urban canyons.
Bluetooth low energy (BLE) – Compared to classic Bluetooth, BLE is intended to provide considerably reduced power consumption and cost while maintaining a similar communication range.