Trend: WiFi use in freight container security

There is a firestorm raging in Washington over the approval by the administration of a deal which would allow Dubai Ports World, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company, to run operations, including security operations, in 21 U.S. ports (some in the press referred to 6 ports to be run by the company, but the deal involves 21 ports on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast). The debate has focused attention on port security and maritime security more generally, and Aliso Viejo, CA-based start-up WiFi Wireless has something to say about it. The company has just announced its WF205 System, part of the company's WFSCT System. The patent-pending technology is a fully integrated, self-contained, rugged communication and security system. The full integration of any satellite modem and the use of patent pending Controlled Reception and Transmission Beam Antenna (CRTBA) technology improves signal stability and reception. The system has no moving parts.

Securing cargo containers is big business. More than 9 million cargo containers arrive at US sea ports each year, and the number is growing. Worldwide, about 50 million cargo containers are shipped each year (in addition, more than 4 million cargo containers a year arrive on trucks and rail from Mexico and Canada). Globalization means that many of these containers are loaded with merchandise produced in countries weak on good governance and thoroughly compromised by corruption at all levels. Smuggling contraband is already a growing problem, and anxiety about a weapon of mass destruction smuggled in one of these containers is increasing. The big hitters are moving into the container safety market. The most recent example: a collaborative effort between GE, Siemens and Mitsubishi to manufacture and market a container safety solution.

Start-ups are also active in the space. The WiFi Wireless' WFSCT System allows a ship owner cargo tracking and monitoring on their vessels without expensive or complicated ship-board installations. The cargo container ID tag offers continuous cargo monitoring and management features such as real-time container identification, security alerts if cargo tampering is detected, temperature monitoring and hazardous or explosive materials detection. The system can be integrated with other existing communication systems. Equipping freight containers with tracking devices is not yet mandatory, but shippers would find the cost of installing the devices more than offset by reduced insurance premiums and more business from informed customers.

For more on WiFi Wireless' solution:
- see this press release
For more on GE-Siemens-Mitsubishi solution:
- see this report

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