The Container Owners Association, the international organisation representing the common interests of freight containers owners, is taking the unprecedented step of proposing an open data classification schema for refrigerated containers and compatible wireless devices. The aim is to permit interoperability of telematics device data from the various solution providers in the maritime shipping sector at the API (application programming interface) layer.

Through its Reefer Telematics Working Group – comprising IIoT representatives from Refrigeration Machinery Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) and Telematics Providers – the COA is currently finalising the development of an open standard Reefer Data Classification Scheme, supported by an open source Unified Data Model (UDM). Started as a proactive initiative of the COA members, this work to develop the UDM reflects the high level of collaboration among diverse industrial shareholders.

The key objective of the COA’s Reefer Telematics Working Group is to remove barriers to interoperability within the industry and to make it easier for data consumers to build value-added services for their container operations. This is relevant, as it is estimated around 70% of all data integration activities today are spent validating, structuring, organising and cleaning data – a cumbersome burden that the UDM eliminates for the data consumers.

Starting with reefer data, the open standard will be extended to cover 2-way communication – while it can also be extended to cover all container and transportation application types. The success of the Reefer Telematics Working Group will be achieved when it has enabled container owners and operators to decouple telematics devices from their IT investments. Enabling the industry to make independent decisions on devices – and to improve interoperability – will reduce risk and provide a more competitive and innovative market-place of solutions to be explored and deployed.

The Unified Data Model has already been proven with a “top 5” container shipping line over the last 2 years, with a full implementation of the model into their IT infrastructure. Following a common structure, the Unified Data Model provisions for a higher level of data integrity and compliance regardless of device.

About the Container Owners Association (COA)

The Container Owners Association represents the common interests of all owners of freight containers. The principle aims of the COA are to provide global expertise, to promote common standards and to facilitate international lobbying. Further information