Norbert Riepl

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Pain point pallet: where are my deliveries?

You know this: you have sent off your goods and nobody knows where they are. Why? The most important parameters of a supply chain can already be recorded today! With the 5G network expanding, this trend is picking up speed again. The European Pallet Association (EPAL) has put around 500 million pallets in circulation in Europe alone. Some of them have been equipped with the Low-Cost-Tracker for a pilot project. Among other things, this helps to locate lost or even stolen consignments - companies complain of damage running into billions every year.

Sensors are the secret stars of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) lives on data, it is the basis for almost all applications and the elixir of artificial intelligence. In short: not only everything is networked with each other. It also measures what can be measured. In the future, sensors in pallets, containers and boxes will transfer billions of status data. In addition, they can localize themselves and communicate with each other. The Low-Cost-Tracker is a prime example of this.

Up to five years battery life

Its waterproof sensor, developed jointly with Fraunhofer IML and equipped with a SIM card, registers shocks, position, acceleration and temperature of the pallet. It automatically reports deviations due to vibrations or temperature changes and automatically transmits current data to a portal. Data is exchanged via Telekom's machine and sensor network, the so-called NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT for short). This narrowband technology works practically everywhere. The advantages of the new technology are low energy consumption, low costs and high penetration in buildings.

Peek-a-boo, where am I?

Due to missing or incorrect information, 30 percent of all deliveries worldwide do not reach their destination on time. For many manufacturing companies, this is a disaster because they have minimal storage space. If the brakes for a car or the paints for an auto body shop are not available on time, production is delayed. Therefore, you’d better always keep track of your delivery, whether by water, rail or road. This helps to control the transport more precisely and allows reliable statements on the expected delivery date. 

Been keeping cool? 

To "be cool" certainly is the most desirable state when it comes to food like vegetables or fruits or  or "special paints". The tracker can monitor the cold chain in the supply chain, temperature deviations can be corrected. This keeps its recipient in good spirits. Lacquers, for example for designer glasses, retain their consistency. A few degrees deviation from the ideal temperatures will otherwise destroy the color and reduce the quality after painting. 

Stable nets and competitive prices

"The Low-Cost-Tracker makes load carriers intelligent and lifts the data gold of logistics. This becomes a decisive competitive advantage. For scaling in the billions, a global standard with secure certification and authentication, for example via SIM card, is just as essential as stable networks guaranteed in the long term, competitive prices and flat rates. Currently, only NB IoT can do this," says Prof. Michael ten Hompel, Managing Director of Fraunhofer IML.

 tracking module

The gold nuggets in the supply chain: a tracker that makes shipping pallets smart

Deutsche Telekom, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Fraunhofer IML, for short) and the European Pallet Association (EPAL) have put the world’s first 500 intelligent pallets into real-life operation.