Smartphone sensors revolutionising logistics

Smartphone sensors revolutionising logistics

In a reversal of past practice, technology originally designed for consumer use are now seeing increased usage in the goods industry.

Previously, new technologies were initially applied in business first, and migrated to private users only later.

A new study conducted by logistics provider DHL, "Low-Cost Sensor Technology", showed how technologies like Microsoft's video-game camera Kinect, smart watches and NFC (near-field communications) technology can be incorporated into logistics.

"The success of Smartphones and tablet PCs has created a situation in which employees have better technology for personal use than they do for business needs," says Dr. Markus K├╝ckelhaus, Director of Trend Research at DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. "But they expect to have the same standard of technology at work. For this reason, we think companies have to step up and put Smartphone sensors in particular to work in logistics."

For instance, logistics companies can harness the sensors in tablet PCs and smartphones that recognise surroundings. These sensors can measure acceleration, position or light that can be used to record the arrival time of shipments in parcel centers as part of tracking and tracing services, pinpointing the shipment's exact location and updating their status on an online platform.

Meanwhile, sensor systems of Microsoft's Kinect have also been used by DHL to measure pallet volume. Testing has shown that measurements made by depth-sensing technology are 50 per cent faster than those performed with past technology. Other potential uses include fill level measurements for containers and trucks as well as the monitoring and documentation of freight damage.

ellenja@sph.com.sg

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