20 May 2018

Cargo Eye: new live cargo monitoring capabilities for the digital age

Cargo Eye is a new air cargo monitoring tool launched in November 2017 that provides data for Finnair Cargo in real-time. Internet of Things tools, such as Cargo Eye, are transforming the air cargo industry and providing new capabilities for better tracking, monitoring and operations. 

Record growth in cargo operations, the addition of wide-body Airbus 350s, the opening of the COOL Nordic Cargo Hub, and the introduction of state-of-the-art cargo management and automated handling systems all inside 2017 means new business opportunities for Finnair Cargo.  

But such expansion also presents a new challenge: How do managers and line supervisors maintain overall awareness of what is going on? How can they see the “big picture” of their operations amidst a myriad of different systems used to run day-to-day operations?

The answer is Cargo Eye.

In brief: what is Cargo Eye?

  • Cargo Eye presents data from multiple sources, including from Finnair Cargo's enterprise resource planning system (SkyChain) and from Internet-connected sensors on sensitive goods, like pharmaceuticals and Norwegian fish. 
  • Cargo Eye data sources include: SkyChain, a cargo management system providing e.g. booking data, Sensire sensors that give information on location, temperature and humidity of shipments, and Kaltiot trackers that provide the location of ground transport vehicles and the temperatures of shipments. 
  • Cargo Eye also displays the live global position of aircraft and trucks, provides real-time information about arrivals, departures and connecting transport for shipments, displays the contents of incoming aeroplanes and cargo ground traffic, and shows where every cargo taxi is at the terminal. 
  • The Cargo Eye system can display data from partner companies' devices and systems. For example, small transmitter devices located in partners' vehicles. 
  • Cargo Eye information is primarily monitored from the Control Center at Finnair Cargo's new COOL Hub in Helsinki, where operators typically view it across multiple huge screens and take actions according to the live information. 
  • By monitoring the data and live operations, experts are able to ensure terminal operations run smoothly and it improves the efficiency of preparations and how rapidly experts respond to unusual circumstances. 
  • In the future much of this information will be provided to customers so they can track what's going on when and how they please. By providing even more transparency and improving the flow of information to customers Finnair Cargo wants to speed up the shake up the cargo industry. 
  • The Internet of Things tool, Cargo Eye, was created in partnership with Qoco Systems and it was launched at Slush 2017 with a call to startups to help transform transparency and data-sharing in the logistics industry.

End-to-end tracking and monitoring to ensure quality

“Cargo Eye is a new operations monitoring and tracking platform that presents live, relevant and contextual data in a simple, graphical view,” explains Kari Saarikoski, Digital Transformation Lead for Finnair Cargo.

Cargo Eye collects live data from across all of Finnair Cargo’s information and tracking systems – the global position of aircraft, flight information, the geographic location of all cargo ground traffic and key data from the SkyChain – and renders it onto a large screen in Google Maps format.  

In an instant, the viewer gets a top-level, panoramic view of what is happening and where everything is. A navigational sidebar is included, allowing the user to filter onto the screen that data which is most relevant and contextually meaningful to them.

“We see Cargo Eye as an indispensable management tool,” continues Saarikoski.  

“For example, the CCC (Cargo Control Center) in the COOL cargo terminal can look at one screen and see where every truck and plane is carrying seafood or pharmaceuticals, get updated on its arrival and connecting transport, monitor its contents and temperature, and be prepared to shift ground resources to where they are needed most in anticipation of delivery.”

Endless potential: data from multiple sources

Under development since early this year, Cargo Eye is the product of cooperation between Finnair Cargo personnel and Finland-based QOCO, a provider of digital smart solutions.

The genius of Cargo Eye is that it not only interfaces with critical Finnair Cargo IT systems, but also allows linkage – via APIs (Application Protocol Interface) – to a world of other potential applications and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

“We are already able to interface with small transmitter devices that we and our partner shipping companies use to track vehicles,” Saarikoski points out. “As for our ground operations, Cargo Eye can pull-up an airport map that shows exactly where every cargo taxi is thanks to GPS-based devices that feed into our network.”  

And this is just the beginning. Efforts are underway to learn how critical data could be shared directly with customers, as well the development of cloud-connected applications to run on mobile devices.

Data is transforming terminal work processes

Jukka Glader, head of Finnair Cargo Operations, emphasises the potential impact Cargo Eye will have on his team.

“The events of the past year only validate our efforts to transition away from trying to supervise and control every detail to managing-by-exception,” says Glader.  

“Cargo Eye helps us do just that. Our CCC now has a powerful tool giving it a simplified, holistic awareness of all our operations. As alerts arise, we can selectively go deeper into a specific system to resolve the issue. This gives us much better resource management.”

“We also see the visualisation power of Cargo Eye assisting our sales and managements teams,” Glader concludes.