In order to be able to supply Juist with goods despite the ban on motor vehicles on the island, the shipping company Norden-Frisia has developed a fleet of so-called MAFIs, which are used as transport vehicles (e.g. for building materials, guest luggage). Since their demand tends to fluctuate considerably based on the season and current construction projects and because they are also regularly used as temporary storage facilities instead of being returned to the shipping company, there have always been unforeseeable shortages in their availability. Hence, the idea arose of equipping the MAFIs with sensors and integrating them into a cloud solution so as to be able to determine their exact position at any time and the duration of their use by the respective customer.
In the planning phase, it was vital to determine the following factors: the number of MAFIs used daily; assignment of MAFIs to specific customers; utilization peaks; number of transports and the turnaround time of each MAFI. For this purpose, each MAFI was equipped with a sensor to record its geo and movement data. At the same time, it was connected to a cloud system, which enabled the individual utilization of the MAFI (number of transports, duration of its stay at the unloading point etc.) to be transmitted to the shipping company.
Proof of Concept
As an initial step, a small test fleet of MAFIs was equipped with one sensor each. Questions regarding network coverage, battery life, availability of the sensor, data volume, the frequency of events worth transmitting etc. were tested. Technical use was made of GPS sensors that transmit via LTE and LoRa-Wan-based sensors. The data was collected and evaluated in a cloud-based solution and visualized on a dashboard. During the next step, this data was connected to the booking system so that questions about profitability could be examined. The cost of developing, installing and operating the solution was then combined with the potential for optimized use of transport and the expansion of the business model to include a mobile warehouse so as to determine the value of the specific solution.
Following the successful market test, further customers are being sought for the upcoming growth phase.