Like any industry, package delivery has its own suite of unique purpose built tools, and like any tools they have changed and evolved as time and technology have marched forward. Today we’re going to take a quick look at some of the interesting uses this industry makes of technology. Some of these you may have seen in action, while others could be completely new to you.
Barcode and QR Code Scanning
The processing of packages became a lot quicker over the course of the twentieth century thanks to the introduction of barcodes, which enabled data to be processed and moved between systems with much greater speed.
Today, delivery companies like TNT UK use modern 2D image scanning technology allows this functionality to be carried out by couriers’ smartphones by scanning QR codes, which operate on much the same principal of encoding data as a monochromatic bitmap.
All of this aids in tracking parcels, as well as simply making delivery information more quickly accessible to delivery persons.
Though this has seen only limited implementation worldwide, and there are still a number of questions regarding how it can be made viable, there is a real possibility that shipping companies will be directly bombarding us with goods and messages from the skies not too far it the future.
They will only be able to carry items of a certain weight, and only a certain distance, so they are likely to see use at the very end of a journey, and current laws place heavy restrictions on where remote-operated drones can fly, but we might yet live to see they day when delivery drones whizzing overhead is an everyday sight.
This is one you’re likely to have seen, or even used yourself. Many couriers now carry handheld computer terminals to centralise all the functions of their jobs that would have required paperwork once upon a time. This includes having recipients sign a touchscreen with a stylus to confirm that they have accepted a package, which is how many of us will encounter this particular technology.
Logistics have always been especially important to the shipping industry, and using the same kind of data that advanced SAT-NAV systems use to respond to road conditions, as well as data taken from smart roads (or intelligent transport systems) which electronically track and broadcast traffic conditions and other information, modern delivery companies can plan routes ahead of time, and alter them on the fly in response to emergent conditions, in order to ensure faster, more efficient deliveries.