| ||ParcelCall is a research and technological development project within the Information Society Technologies (IST) programme of the European Union\'s Fifth Framework Programme. Its consortium of leading European industrial and academic partners is creating a scalable real-time, intelligent, end-to-end tracking and tracing system for transport and logistics applications - to operate across all border, carriers and transportation modes.|
Interoperable and Scalable
While many carriers in transport and logistics have tracking and tracing systems in place today, these are typically proprietary solutions. At the same time, supply chains are becoming more and more complex, involving multiple carriers and multiple transport modes. There is a high demand for accurate and up-to-date information exchange across the different carriers and modes of transport.
ParcelCall will focus on interoperability, open interfaces, and standardization in order to allow seamless tracking and tracing across the entire logistics and transportation chain. Owing to its open and scalable system architecture, the ParcelCall system can be easily extended by adding new server components. A small trucking company can adopt the ParcelCall tracking and tracing services as well as a huge multinational integrator.
Accurate, real-time, item (parcel)-level information
A Mobile Logistic Server (MLS) will keep track of all transport items inside a vehicle or container. It is, at any time, aware of the identity, current location and status of all goods in the unit. The Mobile Logistic Servers will be equipped with GPS receivers to provide accurate and secure global tracking and tracing.
The MLS makes its information available to a network of fixed servers via mobile communication networks on demand and on a real-time basis. It can actively alert the owner of the goods or the transport operator if for example the goods deviate from a predefined route, a delay occurs, or an alarm has been generated.
Information are stored in a network of Goods Tracing Servers (GTS). Each GTS also represents an interface between the ParcelCall system and the respective local IT infrastructure. Users may access tracking & tracing information via Goods Information Servers (GIS). Cellular networks, ISDN and the Internet will be used for information transfer.
All tracking and tracing information within the ParcelCall system will be acquired, stored, and managed at the level of individual transport items (parcels). Detailed tracking and status information will be available in real-time and for each complete transport cycle - even if a single item out of a large shipment gets lost, damaged, or takes a different route to the rest of the shipment.
Accurate tracking and tracing requires efficient and reliable identification of transport units and items. ParcelCall will employ Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to complement existing automatic identification methods using bar codes and labels. Smart RFID labels will allow reliable automated data capture and status acquisition for individual movements, key processes and events throughout the transport cycle.
ParcelCall will go beyond mere item (parcel) identification. Sensitive transport goods will be equipped with \"Thinking Tags\" - compact reusable devices, equipped with sensors, processing power, memory and capable of active, two way radio communication. Thinking Tags will monitor their environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity or shock, record a history of status information, location, and measurement data, and actively send alerts or messages. Thinking Tags will be associated with individual transport items (parcels), rather than with a container or other transport unit, to provide seamless end-to-end surveillance of status, location, and environmental data.
Thinking Tags will be particularly useful for perishable, sensitive and high-risk goods. These might include items such as pharmaceuticals, whose temperature needs to be monitored without interruption, or shock-sensitive electronic devices. This will provide invaluable information in the case of theft or loss, and help in settling liability issues if damage or mishandling has occurred.