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Secure Inventory Monitoring and Tracing for Natural Resources with LoRaWAN®

Argos Inspection and Technologies use The Things Stack for stock monitoring

April 6, 2023
By The Things Industries

Tracing the flow of goods is crucial for ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing, regulatory compliance, and trust in the supply chain. Regrettably, natural resource industries are exposed to numerous types of fraud and non-transparent operations, resulting in significant financial losses and reputational damage for stakeholders. LoRaWAN can be used to monitor and trace the commodities in real-time and alert about unusual events in time.

Commodity fraud can cause major financial losses and damage to reputation. Fraud in the natural resource industry can take various forms, such as fake documents, tampered samples, improper quantity and quality data, misrepresentations of the origin of the commodity, unauthorized removal of commodities, and double financing with importer and exporter organizations working together in collusion. Instances of misconduct in commodity trading included: an iron ore trader who obtained export licenses using fraudulent documents; an oil trader who deceived multiple buyers by selling pledged oil cargoes leading to a $2 billion loss: and two former executives charged with a $500 million fraud scheme related to inflated oil values. In a separate incident, a Swiss trading house suffered cargo fraud when paving stones were substituted for 6,000 tons of blister copper and spray-painted to resemble semi-refined metal. To mitigate such losses, exercising due diligence and caution, and employing appropriate monitoring and tracing tools for goods are imperative in this industry.

As a Swiss company with over 30 years of cumulative experience in the inspection industry, Argos Inspection and Technologies specializes in providing digital and physical solutions for stock inventory monitoring and tracing of natural resources. Its expertise lies in integrating machine learning, smart sensors, and digitalization of transactional documents to create a secure and efficient platform for tracing goods 24/7, with minimal physical inspections required and only performing them when needed.

Argos platform enables real-time processing of natural resources trade data and documents, as well as the monitoring of commodities in storage. This solution is ideal for bankers, traders, investors, and funds seeking efficient ways to reduce risks, control costs, and increase transparency in the global flow of goods.

The technology

With advanced IoT sensors and customizable dashboards, Argos’ 24/7 monitoring system delivers real-time data, enabling its clients to identify issues and trends to take immediate action. Argos teams also conduct on-site physical inspections when required, providing thorough evaluations and reporting of commodities. This aims to replace outdated standalone systems and spreadsheets, facilitating efficacy in its client's business operations.

The solution is built on LoRaWAN, a low-power and long-range wireless communication protocol for IoT devices, enabling secure, bidirectional communication between sensors and gateways. This technology offers a reliable connection that can span several kilometers, making it suitable for monitoring natural resources in storage facilities, even in remote or challenging locations.

At the core of the data transmission process, Argos Inspection and Technologies relies on The Things Stack as a highly dependable and trustworthy channel to exchange information between the cloud platform and sensors. “The Things Stack's unmatched capacity for secure, reliable, and scalable connectivity makes it the perfect platform for implementing our solutions,” says François Gilardoni, CTO of Argos Inspection and Technologies. He adds: “We employ a best-in-class strategy to construct our technology stack by integrating our proprietary software and hardware solutions with off-the-shelf devices, such as Terabee, Dragino, and SenseCap. Furthermore, we collaborate with technology partners to develop proprietary hardware to enhance our monitoring and tracing capabilities.”

"At The Things Industries, we are proud to provide a highly secure and scalable LoRaWAN platform that enables companies like Argos Inspection and Technologies to build innovative solutions for monitoring and tracing goods in real-time", says Wienke Giezeman, CEO of The Things Industries.

To complement these technologies, Argos’ next release will likely incorporate blockchain and machine learning algorithms to provide even greater monitoring capabilities, transparency, and traceability of goods and transactional documents.

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