Introduction and Overview
This is an entry into
the App Innovation Contest.
Freight Stream is a
Windows 8 Desktop application specifically designed for the tablet market.
It will be an end to
end solution that will streamline the way in which Freight Couriers receive,
plan, store, dispatch and track cargo hauled by them and communicate this
effectively to the client.
By using the
technology now available on these tablets we can enable this industry to be
more transparent and much more effective in their daily operations, automating
much of the manual tasks that exist currently and providing a modern approach
to shipping, handling and tracking goods.
Freight Stream will
target the Tablet platform.
Freight Stream will
target the Retail category.
The Freight and
Shipping industry has existed for as long as man has had ships to sail
and ox-wagons to transfer goods on land with. The central idea
has remained the same: Freighters offer their ability to ship a
client's goods in exchange for money.
There have always been
a couple of obstacles in this industry:
To be profitable the couriers generally need to fill their vehicles or vessels close to capacity
- The more they haul per load, the bigger their profit
But the above two
points now need to be evaluated in context with the
The quicker they can deliver, the better their image thus more clients
- More regions covered leads to more clients but can lead to a loss if the vessels on the routes are not filled
- Departing more often rather than waiting longer for more goods has the risk of emptier vessels
It is these facts that
have made the freight industry risky and difficult to run, requiring
intense planning and quick decisive decisions to be made in order to
sustain a profitable company.
Together with this we
are in a modern age where clients demand real time information on the status of
their shipments. They also want to be enabled to manage more of their shipments
and dispatch them with ease.
We have also engaged
with industry pro’s in this sector to get some input into what could be
beneficial in their world.
Where can Freight
Stream and Tablets help?
Tablets are smart
- They can take much more factors into consideration and thus plan more effectively
- They can provide real time decisions whilst managing risk
- They can iterate through various plans to get the best plan and adapt this in an instant
- They can report and provide transparency through various tracking methods
There is thus a huge
market where tablet technologies can come to the play in this industry,
hopefully in the form of Freight Stream.
Freight Stream is
about enabling the Freight Industry to operate more efficiently.
It will be an end to
end solution and the initial version will only focus on Freight by Land,
catering for the complete Freight Process including the stages below:
Collection or Receipt of packages by Shipping Company
- Tracking and Tracing of the packages as they flow through the process
- Routing, Packing and Dispatching of packages to be delivered
- Delivery and
confirmation of delivery
The solution will consist
of the following main modules and features:
- Freight Check-In for Clients
- Route Planning with Real-Time Updates
- Package Tracking in Real-Time
- Space Calculation and Efficient Packing Algorithms
- Quick Drop Delivery Management and Assurance
- Security Features including Route Perimeter, Truck Trace and Truck Cam.
A client will have
four options to check in their packages:
- Deliver the package to a hub
- The client will deliver the package in person. The package will be checked in as per the check in process described below
- Request package pick-up via Tablet app
- Request package pick up via Webpage
- Request package pick up via Telephone
For the last three options,
simply the channel will change. The process will remain the same and will start
with the client requesting the delivery. The system will then calculate the
urgency of the package to be picked up and assign it to the most appropriate on
route vehicle if optimal. The package pickup will then be added in the correct
sequence to the driver’s list. If the calculation indicates that the package
will make more sense to pick up the following day, it will be added to the
For all the above,
when the package is physically received by the driver the following process
will be followed:
Driver scan’s identity document of client.
- Client is identified from system or specifies identity which is entered on the system
- Driver sticks on pre-printed ID barcodes stickers
- Driver scan’s ID barcodes on box to link delivery to job
- Driver takes images of the package for proof of condition
- Client signs off
package on screen with stylus.
The route planning
will innovate the way in which current regions and routes are used. It will
take stock of all the packages that need to be delivered giving precedence to
the ones due first. It will then calculate the optimal route and pick packages
optimally for that run by balancing space available in vehicles with distance
between delivery points, packages sizes and backlog of packages to be delivered
Live updates of
packages that need to be picked up will continuously check if the pickup is close
to the route and if space will be available in the vehicle. If these checks
pass the route will be adapted and the pickup added as a work item for the
driver in the correct sequence, updating any routing information as required.
Vehicles on the move
will relay their GPS coordinates to the cloud in regular intervals. The system
will thus have knowledge of vehicle location and packages on board. Various
reports and search functionality will be added enabling both the Shipping
Company and Clients to track their packages.
Space Calculation and Efficient Packing
The system will
calculate the volume available per vehicle and delivery run based on volume of
items queued and volume of vehicle and taking thresholds into consideration
will add or remove items to delivery runs to try and establish the most
effective package-route combinations.
Quick Drop Delivery Management and Assurance
When the driver
reaches the destination the tablet will automatically detect that the
vehicle has stopped close to the destination GPS coordinates and the view will
switch to display delivery information including the Package ID, Contact
Numbers and specific delivery instructions. The driver can tap on the
phone button to dial the number via VOIP if required to inform the client that
the delivery is on premises.
An image of the actual
package will also be displayed and the driver can zoom with multi touch to show
a full size image, making the package easy to track between all the other
The driver will proceed
to remove the package from the vehicle and will take an image of the Package
Barcode by tapping and holding the Scan Barcode button.
Upon reaching the
client the driver will ask for verification documents and take a photo of the
document by using Tap and Hold on the Scan ID Document image on the
The driver then hands
over the package and then Slides over the Complete Delivery button to
bring up a signature line on the screen. The client then signs on the
line using the Stylus and rates the service received by tapping a radio
button (Excellent, Satisfied, Not Satisfied).
The driver then uses a
multi touch gesture (bringing five fingers to each other) to finalize the
delivery and the delivery status will be updated in the cloud.
The next delivery directions
will automatically be updated on the screen and the above process repeated for
the next delivery.
The devices and included abilities enable a new approach to
security and trip monitoring.
Route Perimeter will indicate to operators that a vehicle is out
of bounds of the route planned. This could indicate hijacking or driver malpractice.
In the case of suspected hijacking the operators can enable a
video feed from either of the two cameras to enable a view of inside the canopy
as well as to the road. This could be useful in case of gunpoint hijackings and
take-overs where the drivers are forced to indicate everything is fine over the
The gyroscope and accelerometer will be used to measure trip
steadiness and will indicate to the operators if a driver is driving recklessly
or dangerously with the goods.
approach that will be followed is based on the Scrum agile framework.
An overall idea of the
end to end solution will remain in place and could be adapted as progression is
made in development. A list of main features will be added as Stories in the
There will be a weekly
Sprint in which the most important outstanding main features will be added
as well as any bugs or changes required that can be handled.
As soon as the sprint
is complete, it will be tested and available as a build.
Sprints will include
the following for any feature, request or bug that is included in that sprint:
- Final Build
- Intel XDK
platform for hosting
Version 1.0 - Initial