ParceLive: IoT and real-time parcel tracking technology
Internet of Things innovator Hanhaa, today announced that its ParceLive device and monitoring system is entering the next phase of deployments with leading logistics customers and partners. The company also announced a strategic funding round, led by European packaging materials giant, BillerudKorsnäs AB.
Alongside existing investors, the strategic investment was led by BillerudKorsnäs Venture AB, a subsidiary to BillerudKorsnäs, which offers smart and sustainable solutions for the global packaging market. This investment is part of a long-term objective by BillerudKorsnäs to seek synergies by investing in early-stage companies having innovative packaging-related solutions. The funding and global support will help Hanhaa expand its team and allow it to focus on bringing its innovative ParceLive service to market.
“The ParceLive technology fits our long-term objective of bringing value-adding digital services into the packaging industry, which we refer to as the ‘Internet of packaging’,” said Anders Persson, Managing Director at BillerudKorsnäs Venture. “ParceLive also addresses sustainability concerns in a way that support BillerudKorsnäs' strategy of challenging conventional packaging for a sustainable future.”
Designed for tracking high-value, fragile, and time- or temperature-sensitive packages, ParceLive is a postcard-sized device that is inserted into a parcel at the point of distribution. By monitoring several key factors, the device allows both sender and receiver to monitor the exact location and condition of their package in real-time.
Beyond highly accurate GPS tracking, ParceLive also tracks and records the temperature and humidity experienced by a parcel, an accelerometer identifies if it has been dropped, and light detection tells the monitoring system when the parcel has been opened.
With a unique business model, ParceLive provides senders with a risk-free option for real-time parcel tracking. ParceLive is a subscription service and the devices are rented, rather than owned by the sender. Responsibility for the devices, including return, maintenance and charging, is handled by Hanhaa.
Following a series of successful pilots, ParceLive is entering public engagements with logistics companies including Sigma Retail Solutions and Avarto Bertelsmann; just two of a growing network of partners that serve some of the world’s most-recognized brands.
The industry rollout will be officially launched on January 30th at an event at Hanhaa’s London headquarters, where attendees will be able to see the results of the ParcelLive pilots and learn how the disruptive technology addresses growing industry challenges with a bundle of new innovations.
“We are excited to be involved in the ParceLive rollout – this technology provides our Supply Chain Team with much richer data that we can apply to service level improvement,” said Andrew Gaunt, supply chain manager at Sigma Retail Solutions, which handles shipping for Boots, ASDA and Kmart among others. “This not only allows Sigma to track essential deliveries to tight project timescales but also improves client confidence with regular updates on location and the condition of parcels.”
The first wave of the rollout will involve 500 ParceLive devices tracking real parcels on their journeys across the world. The company is on track to produce 20,000 units for general availability by mid-2017.
“With global parcel shipping volume forecast to grow by 20% percent by 2018, and an increasing reliance on third-party logistics providers, businesses are under increasing pressure to improve the delivery process,” said Azhar Hussain, Founder and CEO, Hanhaa. “We are delighted to see ParceLive entering the retail distribution networks of some of the world’s leading brands and logistics service providers. We are very confident that these relationships will grow exponentially when they see how ParceLive transforms their business.”
ParceLive helps in three key areas:
- Customer service. Access to real-time data keeps the receiving customer informed and happy, and reduces the customer support burden.
- Dispute resolution. Disputes leading to chargebacks can now be resolved with hard data and will lead to reduced insurance premiums.
- Network optimization. Costly bottlenecks or locations at which specific incidents are occurring with shipments can be easily identified and rectified.
ParceLive’s deployment follows a successful pilot with partner Arvato Bertelsmann, which manages the return of ParceLive devices (sent back by the parcel recipient) in addition to using the system for its own clients’ parcel tracking.
“We have a lot of customers in the high-tech industry, healthcare industry and the automotive industry who have the need to track the location and condition of their parcels anywhere in the world,” said Marc Kleimeyer of Arvato Bertelsmann. “The ability to get this much information on our shipments at this big a scale is very exciting.”
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Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.