Development of a Truck Temperature Monitoring Solution
The Customer is a leading logistics company in Western Europe that works with third-party carriers.
For the companies transporting perishable goods it is important to monitor cargo temperature and humidity levels during the trips.
Our customer has already been using a ready-to-use solution for tracking and monitoring of trucks along the route. However, the system was not able to control such parameters as temperature and humidity inside refrigerators. While those parameters were automatically controlled by refrigerators’ built in sensors, the company was concerned with occasions when a technical failure occurs and temperature rises above allowable limit as a result.
A way to continuously track temperature fluctuations inside refrigerators had to be developed because failure to do so could have an adverse effect on transported goods. Since the company had fleet management software already in place, our customer decided to add the required custom functionality as an additional module of the existing software solution.
ScienceSoft, as an experienced software development vendor, was entrusted to come up with a solution to quickly equip refrigerators with temperature and humidity sensors without making any changes to vehicles’ structure. Wired sensors were obviously not suitable since it takes a long time to install and dismantle them and also requires making holes for cable routing. Installation of wireless sensors was the only appropriate option in this case.
There is a variety of different sensors available on the market nowadays. We’ve provided our customer with a list of manufacturers and models to choose from.
ScienceSoft’s developers have created a solution for reviewing information about the state of cargo throughout the route. It was necessary to merge the new solution with customer’s existing vehicle management system and create a simple user interface for monitoring cargo status (temperature and humidity) for customer’s clients.
ScienceSoft’s team suggested a client-server architecture with Amazon’s AWS Cloud acting as a server. The web application development was performed using PHP and Symfony 2. Data gathered from the sensors flowed into the cloud via GPRS. Further, the custom module created for displaying new information has been added to the existing system. Data collection was implemented through REST API.
The new module had three main functions:
- Real-time indicators monitoring.
- Delivery violations alerts.
- Advanced reporting capabilities with a possibility to display detailed information about a particular delivery, including temperature, humidity, door opening and closing, damaged packaging events, etc.
A quick driver feedback system was also implemented along with integration of new functionality into customer’s existing system. The new module had a function that allowed to contact a driver in an event of an automatic alert to clarify the situation. According to results of the conversation, an operator could leave a comment which was included in the report received by client. Integrated reports and alerts system allowed customers and carriers to respond to issues in real time.
A simple Web-based user interface with user’s personal dashboard was developed. The dashboard displayed real-time alerts and information about customer’s goods, vehicles and equipment. Each load had a reference number assigned to it and the customer could contact a carrier at any time in the event of an alert to receive an update.
As a result, a comprehensive solution has been developed and successfully implemented. The introduction of the innovative features described above resulted in sales increase for the customer. Additionally, it was now possible to reduce rejected goods expenses since there was an ability to verify the quality of delivery services by providing reports showing continuous and ongoing monitoring.
Key features and advantages of developed system:
- Easy to install on any refrigerator type without structural changes.
- Installation could be performed by untrained personnel within five to ten minutes. Simple dismantling or transferring to another refrigerator was now possible.
- Autonomous operation of the system.
- Full control of temperature, humidity and refrigerator door opening and closing.
- Convenience for customer’s employees as new module was integrated into the existing software.
- Convenience for customer’s clients as they could quickly access information about the state of goods and monitor the quality of logistics services provided.
- Possibility for clients and customer’s employees to quickly respond to emergency situations.
Technologies and Tools
AWS Cloud, PHP, Symfony 2, AngularJS, .NET WPF.