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Phillips Connect Technologies updates development of smart trailer TrailerNet open-architecture platform

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

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Phillips Connect Technologies (PCT) detailed the development of TrailerNet, its open, completely agnostic platform for consolidating all smart-trailer sensors from any supplier into one central hub, using one data plan to deliver alerts to the driver and customizable fleet management dashboards to the fleet’s operations or dispatch teams, the company explained.

The open platform strategy, adopted by PCT since its inception, is based on the premise that fleets want choices and every company has its own unique needs. The goal of PCT is to partner with every equipment and smart-trailer component manufacturer to provide the best combination for each customer, while offering one data plan and designing the system for easy plug and play. The data from the designated combination of manufacturers is aggregated, correlated and sent to the cloud where it is customized in a display for different end users. The analytics displayed for a driver, fleet manager or a fleet owner will all be customized to their specific needs.

To date, 16 partnerships have been forged with industry manufacturers to integrate their smart-trailer components with the PCT TrailerNet product. PCT is in advanced discussions with several other large suppliers about onboarding their technologies into TrailerNet.

Click here to read all the news announced at TMC 2018.

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PCT has recently formed an exclusive partnership agreement with Fleet Complete giving them access to all of the features they have in their product range (asset tracking, geofencing, fleet tracking, ELD, etc.), as well as an innovative solution to cargo-sensing. The strategic partnership between the two companies will equip fleets, OEMs and suppliers with immediate and actionable visibility into all smart components on their trailers.

TrailerNet currently consists of four major system architecture and hardware modules. All components are patent pending, and prototypes are being field tested now.

1. Sensor Distribution Module (SDM): The SDM is the central hub, which all data flows through, and includes an internal modem specifically designed to work with the TrailerNet telematics platform.

2. Sensor Interface Board (SIB): This component is installed (wired or wirelessly) just downstream from the sensors. This is a “daughterboard” device which translates the sensor data into a universal language, and performs the necessary processing, prior to sending it to the TrailerNet SDM. The SIBs allow TrailerNet to easily add new sensors onto an existing system without requiring any programming… it’s truly plug and play.

3. Proprietary Electrical Harnessing: A separate harness using patent pending connectors (All IP69 rated) which allows all sensors to be daisy chained inline and has the ability to be updated in the field. The concept here is to make the system completely plug and play, making it extremely easy to install. This is the only system in the market designed to perform like this.

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4. Modified nosebox: Which houses the standard J560 connection and includes circuit breaker protection. There are two new featured components on it as well. First is a keypad, included for manual override of the PCT door lock and Trailer Lockdown™ system. The keypad is also built-in to ensure quick troubleshooting in the event of an emergency or loss of cellular activity. The second feature is the Lite-Sentry™, it’s a product which reports the status of the trailer lights through the drivers mobile or dashboard device and the fleet’s operations/dispatch team.

Phillips-manufactured components of TrailerNet have been prototyped and are included in the prototypes running now:

• Trailer LockDown: A smart lock that literally locks the trailer by cutting air flow to the trailer brakes, making it impossible to steal a trailer or take accidentally. To release the lock the driver must enter an unlock code assigned to that specific trailer. This product is controlled through the nosebox keypad, a mobile device, or dashboard via a web portal.

• Trailer Door Lock/Unlock: This product protects trailer and cargo from any unwanted door openings and is controlled through the nosebox keypad, a mobile device, or dashboard via a web portal.

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The system is currently in the alpha stage, testing with Wabash.

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