It is night time and the road clearance service has been called out on an emergency alert. Snow and ice have transformed the roads in next to no time into slippery, dangerous traffic lanes. To ensure that traffic does not grind to a total standstill just ahead of the festive season the entire winter service fleet has been sent out. Until recently the drivers had to keep a handwritten log of their work in order, in the event of litigation, to prove that the authorities had performed their duty to keep the roads safe. Manual log keeping not only cost time; it was also liable to clerical errors.
Automatic documentation of snow clearance and road gritting
An M2M-based fleet management solution reduces the number of errors and makes the drivers’ work easier. An on-board computer with a mobile wireless connection and a GPS module is linked to the vehicle’s controls. The device records not only the vehicle’s location at all times but also parameters such as the position of the snow plow blade or the status of the grit spreader and relays this information to a server. At the control center the dispatcher can follow the routes taken and the snow clearance and gritting performance by means of software. In the driver’s cab there is also a touch screen on which the scheduled route is shown in much the same way as by a satellite navigation system. The control center is able to coordinate the drivers better.
In spite of snow having been cleared from the roads, shopping is often a challenge in runup to Christmas. Heavy traffic and overcrowded parking lots are an annual test of motorists’ patience. Connecting parking is aimed at changing all that. The idea is for sensors to record whether a parking space is in use or free and to relay this information to a server. An app then shows motorists the way to the next free parking space, thereby speeding up the search for somewhere to park. As looking for somewhere to park accounts for around 30 percent of downtown traffic, the solution also reduces the volume of traffic.
End-to-end consignment tracking
Those who want to steer clear of the hue and cry of downtown shopping will usually order presents online. Around Christmas shipping and logistics companies work flat out. Luckily the days are over when drivers had to get people to sign for a delivery with a clipboard, forms and a ballpoint pen at the ready. A solution developed by Kratzer Automation records, documents, and optimizes the entire delivery process from end to end.
Scanners with a mobile wireless module relay data continuously to the server in real time throughout the delivery – from the recipient’s signature via documentation of the packages delivered to the GPS position of the delivery vehicle. On a Web portal the recipient can track the shipment precisely and see whether it is going to reach its destination in time for Christmas.
Taking delivery of parcels simply and securely
If the recipient was not at home at the time of delivery, parcels used to spend the holiday period at the nearest delivery center. This is where the PaketButler kicks in. It is a device that can take delivery of parcels simply and securely even when the recipient is not there. It is fixed to the recipient’s front door on the scheduled delivery day. When the courier has put the parcel in it, the recipient is notified that his or her parcel has arrived. So in future Santa Claus will no longer need to make his way laboriously down the chimney with his sack of Christmas presents.