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There’s no such thing as having too much data when it comes to logistics and supply chain tracking. That’s why supply chain visibility company Roambee has been adding ways to give enterprises greater visibility into how shipments move around the world.

Earlier this month, Roambee announced the acquisition of cloud analytics firm Arnekt. The deal would supplement Roambee’s location-aware, package-tracking Honeycomb platform with Arnekt’s natural language processing (NLP), data science, and AI capabilities.

“This addition will enable us to keep improving our customers’ bottom line when it comes to their deliveries,” Roambee CEO Sanjay Sharma told VentureBeat. “For example, a lot of retail companies run on tiny margins, and those can be negatively impacted with bad supply chain performance.”

“They can only collect money if they invoice on time, but they need proof of delivery to do that. And proof of delivery is a broken process right now. The good news is that the friction in delivery systems can be eliminated via data collected by sensors, which can determine when boxes are delivered and in what condition, triggering an invoicing process automatically and improving cash cycles for companies,” Sharma said.

Roambee did not disclose financial details of the acquisition.

Arnekt adds machine learning to Honeycomb

Roambee uses firsthand sensor data generated from a portfolio of purpose-built sensors, like its BeeSense and BeeTrac devices, combining that information with data from other available third-party data streams and devices to paint a comprehensive picture of where customer assets are, the condition they’re in, how secure they are, and more. Via Honeycomb, the company provides customers with visibility into their shipments, inventory, assets in the field, and returnable items.

With Arnekt, Roambee gains AI- and machine learning-infused frameworks that are used by such high-profile customers as Honda, Epson, and HPE.

“This acquisition enables us to scale and grow our offerings, such as the Swarm AI network analytics platform, to help customers optimize their supply chain operations,” Sharma said.

“So think of really big companies that ship huge amounts of goods around the world. Arnekt brings the capability of hyper-scaling process efficiencies based on the structured and unstructured data going into our platform.”

Sharma added that people are hugely important to the process.

“Another segment we serve is people in the field — warehouse managers, manufacturing managers, and so on. Arnekt’s natural language processing is important to help us translate the data intelligence we gather into language the field force can understand and then use to issue marching orders to their teams.”

Supply chain tracking — hot and cold

Roambee’s focus is on helping reduce shipping losses and improving time to invoice. The company said its tracking capabilities extend far beyond the needs of individual enterprise customers, as it’s also playing a role in the global COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.

The logistical intelligence Roambee gathers doesn’t just provide the location of assets across various transport modes — Honeycomb-based services include spoilage monitoring for food shipments, damage monitoring, trailer and container security monitoring, and pharmaceutical cold chain monitoring.

Roambee provides pharmaceutical cold chain monitoring to “one of the largest U.S.-headquartered, global COVID-19 vaccine makers,” the company said.

Vaccine shipments using dry ice need to be completed within two days. That puts pressure on the supply chain, Roambee marketing VP Scott Hurley told BioPharm International recently. “Without effective real-time monitoring, that is all but impossible,” he said.

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