U.S. Military Ramps Up Adoption of Satcom-RFID Kits
Most of the nation's military branches have deployed the technology, which combines RFID and satellite communications, to track and manage supply shipments in the field.With the PDK, the military can track the movement of weapons, vehicles and other supplies. A fixed reader can be temporarily set up at a position where supplies are trucked through, or where incoming supplies are unloaded from a plane. The PDK's handheldreader can be carried into areas where inventory counts are needed and, upon return to the kit, be connected to the modem so it can transmit the collected information to a DOD server.
The PDK was developed by Savi Technologies in 2005, based on the needs of the U.S. military (see Portable Kit Enables Remote Tracking). "They had a need for a self-contained unit with no fixed infrastructure for power or communications," says Savi's David Stephens, senior vice president, public sector. The military was already using the Iridium modem for satellite communications, which is why Savi developed the PDK with the Iridium 9601 modem built in.
Savi personnel visited locations in Iraq to test the PDK system as recently as this past fall, when the company added new capabilities to the PDK platform. Those capabilities included the Savi Manifest Application (SMA) enabling cargo and vehicles to be associated with each other on the In-Transit Visibility (ITV) server.
"We are continuously working to expand user functional applications to increase the operational efficiencies of the service management systems using the standard PDK platform," Stephens says.
Iridium recently signed a contract with the U.S. military for its 9601 Short Burst Data (SBD) modem to be included on the department's list of standard equipment. It can be sold to any agency within the DOD, with or without the accompanying PDK. The modem can be connected to Bluetooth, ZigBee or ultrawide-band (UWB) devices, Ewert says, as well as toRFID readers.