Last week, AT&T announced that by the end of June the company plans to launch a new cellular technology that will help pallets used in warehouses and on trucks connect to the Internet. The technology, known as LTE-M, is a version of the same radio technology that’s used by smartphones to get high-speed connections to the internet. Now, the technology is ready for use in everyday objects and gadgets, too.
One of the companies that will participate in AT&T’s pilot LTE-M network is RM2 – a global pallet development, management and supply company. RM2 has developed a new kind of pallet, the BLOCKPal, which has an LTE-M radio built into it. BLOCKPal pallets are made from pultruded glass fiber reinforced composite materials that are designed to last far longer than standard wooden ones.
“BLOCKPal’s pultruded composite material has a greater strength to weight ratio than structural steel and delivers superior performance characteristics that you cannot get with wood, plastic or any other pallet type,” RM2 says on its website.
In addition to its strength to weight ratio, RM2 says the new pallet is cost effective and offers durability, superior handling, sustainability and fire resistance. Additionally, the LTE-M radios will allow RM2 and its clients to keep track of the pallets and the goods that sit on them as they’re transported around the country and the world.
According to Mercury News, AT&T hasn’t said yet how much it plans to charge companies to connect their Internet of Things devices to its LTE-M network. But it’s considering charging them on a per bit or per device basis.