An Post to install tracking devices across its delivery network

28 Feb 2020

Interior of An Post’s latest Dublin Parcel Hub. Image: An Post

An Post has signed a deal to roll out IoT tracking devices across its supply chain in a bid to boost efficiency and lower costs.

An Post is bringing the internet of things (IoT) to its logistical hubs across Ireland following a deal with VT-IoT, the operator of Ireland’s Sigfox narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network. Referred to by Sigfox as ‘0G’, the technology is a low-cost, low-power wireless network that can send small amounts of data over long ranges.

It’s envisioned as a major component of future supply chain and logistics networks as its one-way transmissions of data prevent it from being affected by DDoS attacks.

As part of this new deal, An Post will install smart tracking devices in thousands of roll cages and containers in which parcels and letters are transported daily. This will allow the postal service to monitor the location of its assets nationwide, even outside its own supply chain.

An Post recently opened a fully automated Dublin Parcel Hub and its operational infrastructure includes thousands of returnable transport units including these roll cages and containers.

Future of industrial IoT

“VT’s state-of-the-art solution has resulted in significantly increased transparency in our postal distribution network, ensuring world-class quality of service for our customers and lower operational costs through improved containerisation efficiency,” said Mark Devine, An Post’s national engineering maintenance and performance manager.

Mark Bannon, VT-IoT’s CEO, added: “Our collaboration with An Post is an exciting step forward into the future of industrial IoT and a key milestone toward connecting billions of IoT devices globally on the Sigfox 0G network.

“We are confident our solutions have the power to truly revolutionise the way logistics and supply chain companies do business, resulting in significantly reduced costs and increased efficiencies.”

Last year, An Post announced plans to replace its entire fleet of polluting vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs).

Under the plan, a zero-emission postal deliveries strategy will be expanded from Dublin to Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford later this year. A total of 750 EVs will gradually replace older, urban vehicles by 2022.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic