@Sigfox in six-month rollout of 250,000 logistics trackers for DHL in Germany

Source: Enterprise IoT Insights

IoT provider Sigfox has teamed up electromechanical device manufacturer ALPS Electric Europe to deploy tracking devices in 250,000 roll cages for logistics company Deutsche Post DHL. The objective is to optimise processes in DHL’s German parcel network through use of location sensors and analytics.

Sigfox said the deployment will take no longer than six months, and makes clear the low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology is gaining momentum with large-scale deals.

“It gives insight that our deals are not in the 10,000-range, but in six digits. And with the experience we have, and the simplicity of our technology – with no pairing, no configuration – we’re able to deploy 250,000 devices in less than six months,” commented Laetitia Jay, chief marketing offcer at Sigfox.

DHL delivers about five million shipments each day in Germany. Roll cages are used to transport parcels at customer warehouses and in DHL’s 35 parcel centres in the country. They will be fitted with smart trackers to provide information about their locations and movements anywhere in Europe.

Sigfox has a deal with mapping company HERE to create a global IoT location service for the supply chain and logistics industry, whereby Sigfox’s LPWA network and geolocation engine is supplemented with Wi-Fi hotspot coverage from Dutch firm HERE.

HERE is owned by a consortium of mostly-German manufacturing brands, including Audi, BMW, Daimler-Benz, and Bosch, as well as Intel.

Thomas Schneider, chief production officer at Deutsche Post DHL, said: “The transparency we gain through the use of the new devices will contribute to further improvements in service quality for our customers and to lower operational costs through better equipment management.”

Ludovic Le Moan, chief executive and Co-founder of Sigfox, said: “Our collaboration with ALPS Electric Europe GmbH to meet DHL expectations was an amazing experience to pave the way of future industrial IoT. Mass production requires long processes of design and tests. This project is a strong milestone toward billions of connected devices on 0G network. That’s why we see enormous potential in this partnership.”

Sascha Kunzmann, senior manager at ALPS Electric Europe, said: “Together we can show that through very close cooperation among the three partners, the systematic optimization of every single aspect of the tracking devices will enable a long service life exceeding ten years – at a fraction of the current costs. That will make tracking for very large quantities economical for the first time.”

The DHL deal is among the highest-profile for Sigfox. It is also working with IBM to optimise container rotation between the PSA’s supplier sites and factories. Groupe PSA is able to track sensor-equipped containers on the Sigfox network, using IBM’s Watson analytics platform.

The company is working as a fall-back protocol for Securitas Direct alarms in Europe, in case their default 3G and DSL connections are compromised by burglars. Sigfox is pushing a ‘Zero-G’ strategy which positions its technology as a complementary backup for cellular networks.

Sigfox has also joined with French fashion brand Louis Vuitton and French tyre company Michelin on a pair of tracking solutions.