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Startup Profile 2020: Safecube

France’s Safecube is using IoT technology to help shippers gain greater control of their international supply chains.

Despite estimates varying wildly, it seems fair to say that internet of things (IoT) technology looks set to grow exponentially over the coming years as companies operating in a broad swathe of sectors seek to enjoy the increased visibility promised by its use.

Indeed, this past May, UK-based digital transformation research firm Transforma Insights reported that by the end of last year there were some 7.6bn active IoT devices in operation around the world, a figure that it predicts to grow to 24.1bn by 2030. Over the same period, it also expects the global IoT market to jump in value from from around $465bn to $1.5tr.

While such figures remain moot, one company that seems poised to tap into this growth is France-headquartered Safecube, which uses IoT devices placed within shipping containers to track and monitor customer shipments across the globe via a cloud-based online platform.

“Safecube solutions rely on inexpensive IoT tracking devices put with the goods,” explains sales director Raphaël Anasthase, noting that these reusable, low-energy devices provide customers with real-time geolocation, condition monitoring and other alerts independent of the shipping line, transport provider or freight forwarder employed.

As such, the system not only provides shippers with “real-time, granular and end-to-end visibility over their shipments”, but in so doing helps to rebalance the relationship they have with their transport provider(s) thus giving them greater control of their supply chains. In addition to being more agile in dealing with disruptions and deviations, this can also translate into reduced transit lead times; route optimisation; enhanced quality control; better in-transit inventory management; and overall improved customer service levels.

Provided on a pay-per-use basis, the Safecube solution requires “no investment, no monthly fees, just a price per shipment”. What’s more, the solution, he says, “can be deployed in the blink of an eye with almost no operational load as Safecube takes care of every aspect for the shipper and no integration is necessary”. Meanwhile, the company is also able to provide consulting services to help customers gain the most value from the data and insights borne of the system.

Founded in March 2019 by CEO and former Uber executive Waël Cheaib, Safecube owes its existence to a collaboration between tyre manufacturer Michelin, IoT provider Sigfox and supply chain consulting firm Argon & Co. With Michelin seeking to address the lack control and visibility it had over its intercontinental shipments, the three companies came together to develop an IoT tracking service based on the 0G Sigfox network. “The results were so satisfying for Michelin that they decided to create Safecube to market the solution,” Anasthase states.

“Michelin is our first customer. They get visibility and control over thousands of shipments per month through our IoT tracking service and we support them in leveraging this new data daily,” he reports. However, Michelin is certainly not the only shipper to benefit from the system, with Anasthase reporting that Safecube’s current client list also includes shippers from the automotive, speciality chemical, pharmaceutical, agro-food and perfume sectors.

“The choice of the Sigfox global network allows us to provide a global end-to-end IoT tracking solution at a very competitive price,” he says, identifying the Safecube system as representing the first solution to use a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) on a global scale. “The price of classical IoT tracking solutions based on cellular was a major limit to adoption because it made a return on investment difficult. [This] is not the case with Safecube,” he continues.

And when it comes to ongoing adoption, Safecube echoes other digitalisation firms in noting that the current COVID-19 pandemic is proving a boon to business as shippers look to new ways of countering the disruptions it continues to cause. “Many shippers must adapt and diversify their supply chains and they don’t want to do it blindly. Consequently, they can get value from a fast-to-deploy and investment-free visibility solution such as Safecube,” he says

More information on the company can be found at the Safecube website

About Author

Brian Dixon is a business and industry journalist with more than 20 years' experience writing about ports and logistics. A member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, he has covered stories on six continents. He divides his time between the UK and East Asia

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