IoT (internet of things) is a huge buzz word. One extraordinarily large courier company with a massive fleet of vehicles and airplanes with over 300 000 employees has taken the technology and applied it into their business which has resulted in gigantic savings.

Your business relies on data that’s reliable, relevant, and real-time. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of Internet-enabled devices that allows an object or person to autonomously communicate back to a server to be monitored and analysed. IoT devices can measure and track just about anything, including temperature, movement, location, and more. Using IoT devices can improve your business operations and advance your team’s capabilities through real-time, accurate monitoring.  

The problem
Trolley tracking. With over 250 000 trollies each worth a few thousand euros. Trolleys are an expensive commodity to go missing and require too much man power to manually track the location of each trolley.

The Solution

Proof of concept trials resulted in very interesting results.

1. Trolleys were not meant to travel outside the country but regularly did.

2. Trolleys that were logged in one location were actually in another.

3. Finding trolleys through a manually logged process was extremely time-consuming often resulting in additional trollies being purchased.

The solution!

Each trolley was equipped with a small GPS enabled device with long run time. Trollies were logged and tracked.

The GPS

Small GPS enabled device with an accelerometer to monitor movement. GPS co-ordinates are only sent when movement is detected to preserve battery life. A large battery is connected giving the device a functional usage of many months to years (depending on the trolley usage).

The trolleys and their usage

Trolleys vary in size – they range from small to large industrial units with full locking mechanisms. Each is highly mobile and is used to quickly and securely move cargo. The cost of each trolley varies from a few hundred euros to a few thousand.

The internet connection

Each device would communicate through the Sigfox network which is an ultra low bandwidth, low power network designed exclusively for internet of things devices. When compared with better-known networks like GSM the battery saving comparison is ultimately the best feature. The Sigfox network is designed to let devices go into a deep hibernation while not in use. Essentially devices are only online for a few seconds at a time.

Savings

1. Fewer lost trollies and significant increases in recovered trollies

2. Improved trolley management

3. Fewer resources being deployed to manage their trollies

Through direct savings, the company estimates their European offices will save over 250 million euros. This project will soon start being rolled out to the rest of the world.

How does this affect you?

Apart from it being an interesting use case for new technology, it’s implementation is extremely simple. A GPS attached to a trolley! If you have any small assets you need to keep track of an IoT device can do so very effectively for you.

What about other applications?

IoT has been deployed successfully in a huge variety of industrial and commercial applications – agriculture, automation,  smart cities and homes and so much more. Join the IoT revolution!