HomeConnectivityPostNL connects 250,000 roll containers using BLE trackers in the Netherlands

PostNL connects 250,000 roll containers using BLE trackers in the Netherlands

Netherlands postal logistics provider PostNL has deployed Bluetooth-based tracking beacons on 250,000 roll containers. It has partnered with Polish IoT provider Kontakt.io on the project.

PostNL delivers 1.1 million parcels and 8.1 million letters throughout the Benelux nations each day. The newly deployed Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons allow roll containers to be tracked through its internal supply chain via various cellular-based access points and gateways. Data is sent to the cloud for analysis.

The tracking sensors, branded as unique loading devices (ULDs), on the roll cages, features a motion sensor, alongside mesh-based positioning. PostNL said it is able to track the location of the ‘load unit’ on the roll containers on delivery trucks and in parcel depots.

Roll-cage journeys between customers and depots can now be planned more efficiently, said Kontakt.io. Turnover speeds can be increased due to faster tracking, and space on roll containers can be better utilised – meaning fewer journeys and environmental savings, it said.

Sander Heije, product owner of IoT at PostNL, commented: “We went through a vendor selection process, identifying the leading companies and products. When we started work, we knew we had to optimize the solution to our operating needs. Through iteration and testing, we were able to start tagging our fleet of ULDs on schedule and move from a vision to a working solution we can use in our everyday operation.”

Rom Eizenberg, chief revenue officer at Kontakt.io, said: “The decision to select BLE… made it possible for them to select best-in-breed vendors to deliver the required components, united by a common language. There are valuable lessons for other carriers here, in how this project was able to bring together IoT technologies to deliver business outcomes and positively impact the customer experience.

Roll cage tracking is a busy market for IoT. In particular, France-based ultra-narrowband IoT provider Sigfox has won a deal with ALPS Electric Europe to deploy tracking devices in 250,000 roll cages for logistics company Deutsche Post DHL.

It has also been involved in deals with Austrian logistics and postal provider Austrian Post to connect 30,000 roll containers, Irish postal company and fleet operator An Post, and Finnish postal service provider Posti.

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