Our Vision Engineer Chris van Dam will be speaking at the Parcel + Post Expo Conference about How to solve Addressing Challenges with Deep Learning
Chris gives an insight into how innovative machine learning technologies, such as Deep Learning, promise to meet head-on some of the challenges arising from the ever-expanding eCommerce market.
Chris will explain and illustrate current issues in the addressing of letters and parcels, giving particular focus to items originating from Asia where both language and cultural differences result in incredibly low read-rates. We consider why these problems lead to western postal and logistics companies operating traditional OCR solutions struggling to achieve even adequate read-rates.
Finally, Chris will share with us a glimpse into Prime Vision’s R&D World, by giving us a short explanation of recent current handwriting-reading innovations which employs the very latest Deep Learning techniques to achieve impressive results.
Prime Vision and its technology partner TWTG have successfully performed a limited production run (LPR) of their joint asset tracking solution for a major national post in Asia Pacific.
In early May 2019, the two teams clearly proved the solution’s robust ability to track objects between two parcel centers. They demonstrated in over 14 use-cases the adaptability and ease of the solution by simultaneously tracking 100 roll cages tagged with BLE trackers, operating in real-world conditions.
The Prime Vision IoT platform that managed the solution is based upon the company’s experience gained from delivering next-generation event platforms for multiple international customers. The application was additionally configured to demonstrate increased functionality, such as track and trace of the roll cages, allowing the customer to track assets not just within the hubs, or in transportation between the two locations, but crucially also the dwell time at each facility. The resulting information was then displayed on a dashboard that allowed the user to make decisions based on data.
Additionally, the post enjoyed the software’s ability to create detailed reports that enabled it to make decisions based on the latest information. The post saw the potential that when combined with additional data sources, such as trends, traffic or weather information, the resulting insights represented a powerful decision-making tool.
For the purpose of the LPR, 100 TWTG trackers were mounted to the roll cages and registered in the asset tracking IoT platform, giving each roll cage a unique identity within the system.
The trackers communicated actively via a Bluetooth low-energy protocol, which, when utilized with specialized gateways, regularly updated the system as to the whereabouts of the customer’s assets. Thanks to the energy-harvesting capabilities of each tracker, the concern about battery lifetime became irrelevant.
In total, seven gateways were installed in the two facilities, each designed to receive the updates from the active trackers and relay the data back to the IoT Platform. The number of gateways increases the precision of the indoor localization of the roll cages.
All-in-all, the LPR was a success, and the post was pleased with the results.
Our commercial director, Dirk van Lammeren, will give a presentation discussing IoT: where technological practicality meets commercial profitability at this year’s Parcel + Post Expo Conference. To learn more about the content of Dirk’s presentation, please read this interview in Parcel and Postal Technology International:https://lnkd.in/gPhtdQU If you are interested in visiting the Parcel + PostExpo show in Amsterdam, 1-3 October, please drop us a message and we will send you a free invite.
“Dutch businesses are popular with partners all over the globe, and no wonder. Their innovative nature and focus on continuity make them reliable.” This is what the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte says in the foreword of the new book of Dutch Industry. Prime Vision is proud to be part of this elegant book that offers a wide-angle perspective of Dutch industry. We handed our first copy to our highly valued customer Sipke Spoelstra of PostNL.
Prime Vision got a mention in this interesting article on the future of warehouse management. If you’re interested in planning for automation and robots, check this out. Read the full article.
In the June edition of Parcel and Postal Technology International our Commercial Director Dirk van Lammeren talks about how new technologies, innovations and creative ways of working are transforming the postal sector. Read the full article.
BNR Radio (the only all-news radio station in The Netherlands) interviewed our innovation director Bernd van Dijk and TNO partner Hans Quack about the technique behind parcel delivery. Bernd talked about our Autonomous Sorting solution and his vision on Self Organising Logistics.
The news item was broadcasted Thursday 16th May. Please find the original podcast item here: https://www.bnr.nl/podcast/techniektour/10377977/de-techniek-achter-pakketjes
We are proud to announce the appointment of Dirk van Lammeren as Commercial Director, effective immediately. Van Lammeren brings with him valued commercial and innovation expertise, and with the existing management team will help steer the future direction of Prime Vision.
Prime Vision CEO, Eddy Thans is enthusiastic. “I’m both delighted, and excited, to have Dirk at Prime Vision. As a company, we have experienced tremendous growth in terms of size, technological capability and our global outreach. However, the growth I now refer to is our aspirations. It’s time to take Prime Vision to the next level, and I feel that Dirk is the perfect person to help us achieve that”.
A renowned advocate for new technologies, innovations and exploring creative new ways of working, Van Lammeren greatly influenced the strategy for modern logistics companies to meet the demands of the emerging eCommerce market. After considerable success, Van Lammeren turned his attention to corporate start-ups, focusing primarily on emerging technologies and company growth.
Van Lammeren is positive and sees both his and Prime Visions futures entwined. “It was the ideal opportunity for me, and a significant step in my career. I regard Prime Vision as an ambitious company in an incredibly fast-moving market and well positioned to grow their business exponentially. Prime Vision is keen to be push boundaries, and bring new concepts and emerging technologies to the market”.
For me personally, it’s fascinating — an opportunity to bringing emerging or even converging technologies to an exponentially growing but challenging market. The chance to find that perfect balance – To solve a real-life problem at the point where technological practicality and commercial profitability overlap”.
Over the last months we made a lot of progress on Autonomous Sorting, sorting of parcels with mobile robots.
In the course of this year we will go into a first operational environment with approximately 40 robots. In the coming months, we will be fine tuning the autonomous system here in Delft and that’s where we like to invite you because we think it’s a great opportunity to see the system actually work and to discuss possibilities with you.
So, if you are interested in a demo, please contact us and it would be great to see you over the coming months.
Watch the demonstration video here.
Last week we organised our very first demo and meet & greet for students of the TU University in Delft. We presented our core products and explained more about the innovations we are working on. In the course of the year we will organize more of those student only demonstrations. Students can learn more about the technology we use (AI, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Robotics) and the innovative solutions we are working on.
Lorenzo D’Arsié, R&D Engineer: “It was great to have students over and give them a deep insight of our company and deployed technologies. The TU students are really valuable to us and this is a very effective way to show what it means to work for Prime Vision.”
Are you also interested in a meet & greet or a demonstration? Then send an email to: info@primevision.
Brexit looms ever closer, and with it increasing uncertainty. It’s now apparent that we need to prepare for a wide number of possible scenarios, and plan the contingencies to meet an unknown outcome.
The discussion of whether we face a hard or soft exit has for the moment to have taken a backseat to even more fundamental questions which leave us with the possibility of No Deal or even no Brexit at all. The plethora of varying scenarios requires us, at the very least, to plan for, and have in place the appropriate legal requirements, technology and human resources to meet the demands at the right time.
To help navigate these troubled waters, our Brexit white paper takes a holistic view of the future ramifications of Brexit. We evaluate the possible customs landscape and what you can do to prepare. We suggest some solutions to best help your business, and explain how investing in technology will help smooth the transition.
Prime Vision don’t pretend to know all the answers, but our approach and technologies do attempt to address all the possibilities, affording our customers the piece-of-mind to plan around stable technology designed to meet any variable Brexit scenario.
Django Girls is a non-profit organization and a community that empowers and helps women to organize free, one-day programming workshops by providing tools, resources and support. They are a volunteer run organization with hundreds of people contributing to bring more amazing women into the world of technology. They are making technology more approachable by creating resources designed with empathy.
Django girls also visited Delft and Prime Vision has contributed to the realization of this event. About 50 girls have been excited to participate in a full day of coding in HTML, CSS, Python and Django. The feedback after the event was great. We are very proud to have contributed in encouraging more women to be part of the software developing community.
A ground-breaking Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Video Coding (VCS) Solution developed by a partnership of Prime Vision and SICK has been installed at a major international airport to solve the challenges of baggage identification rejects. Prime Vision hit such a problem in the logistics industry many years ago and developed systems to increase read rates. Now it has applied this knowledge to baggage handling, saving the airport significant costs while boosting customer satisfaction.
While significant improvements have been made to laser-based barcode scanning technology, the very best systems’ read-rates have maxed-out at 90- 94%. As a result, 6–10% of baggage is routed to the reject chute or manual handling station. This requires extensive staff resources to man fixed manual handling stations.
The process is inefficient, costly and time-consuming and there is a greater chance that baggage is missorted and the customer doesn’t get their baggage in time or even at all! Despite the fact that only a low percentage of airborne baggage is mishandled, the penalties for missorted baggage still cost the airlines dearly. Imagine how much money can be saved with higher read rates.
The Prime Vision/SICK solution reduces the 6-10% rejects. It enables the highest reading performance even when bar codes are damaged and dirty, by integrating a 360 degree tag identification system, that allows images to be used for OCR and remote VCS.
By integrating Prime Vision/SICK technology to the baggage handling system (BHS), bags are identified while they remain on the baggage handling sorter. Further manual handling is all but eliminated as identification results are reliably improved. The result? Time and cost savings as baggage flow is uninterrupted and valuable manpower is freed from fixed manual encoding stations.
How it Works
Primary identification is done via the SICK Airport Luggage Identification System (ALIS) using camera technology. The bag source message (BSM), which includes the date, flight number, destination, registration number and a unique barcode (IATA Licence plate), is read by the ALIS system. Baggage routing is determined by the bagging handling system (BHS) and in the case of a no-read or no-BSM, the baggage tag is processed by OCR and/or remote video coding. Only obscured or unreadable baggage tags are routed to manual handling.
The benefits are clear, reduced volumes for manual handling (1-2%) resulting in reduced operational costs and increased flexibility as valuable operations’ staff are freed from manning fixed manual encoding stations but can launch a web-based VCS from a remote location. Web-based VCS delivers scalability and flexibility as VCS can be deployed to match volume demands and the system provides improved process robustness as other label information may be used for items with missing bag source message (BSM) information.
Significantly reduced baggage mishandling incidents are assured thanks to improved quality and accuracy of VCS and OCR. And not only do users enjoy efficiency gains but also greater customer satisfaction resulting from shorter process times and shorter mean connection times.
This week our Account Director Richard Hagen and Innovation Director Bernd van Dijk are taking part in a trade mission to China, together with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and several other representatives of the Netherlands. The journey to China will concentrate on the Logistics and e-Commerce markets and will visit multiple cities. During this mission, we will create new contacts with inspiring companies and will share our knowledge with other Dutch entrepreneurs. We are looking forward to great opportunities in this promising country.
Our industry is judged by time. To the general public, it really doesn’t matter how efficient our internal systems and procedures are. To be on time, or even a little early, is the expected standard and unfortunately barely noticed. To be late, however, can cause great annoyance and contribute to negative public perception of the postal service.
Read in this article how our consultant Hein van der Ploeg helped one of our customers to streamline their handling process to improve customer satisfaction.
Fresh from winning two recent industry innovation awards for the Autonomous Sorting solution, Prime Vision’s visionary new system has sent shockwaves through the industry, compelling Postal and Parcel to assess both their current set-ups and future plans. After a successful proof-of-concept demonstration to an invited audience proved the concept feasible, Prime Vision now has a pilot with a second postal partner commencing mid 2018.
Autonomous Sorting introduces the idea of self-organising logistics by utilising the latest robotic technology to sort parcels or roll containers autonomously. These robots – called Rovers – combined with Prime Visions technical and industry know-how, enable parcel and logistics companies to turn an empty warehouse into a fully operational Sorting Centre in less than a day.
Manned only by Rovers, these pop-up Sorting Centre’s need hardly any further equipment and the Rovers are safe to operate alongside human co-workers. While they are autonomous, Collision Evasion is inbuilt, allowing the Rovers to intelligently work together when handing larger parcels. The Rovers are created to behave similarly to worker bees. Prime Vision developed swarming algorithms that determine the actions of these ‘bees’ enabling them to identify, assess, sort and physically transport items to their dispatch location.
Leading the development team is Prime Vision Innovation Director, Bernd van Dijk. “We are delighted by the market response and the positivity of our clients and partners in collaborating to perfect this solution. As well as having a fully working solution by mid-2018, we intend to demonstrate further enhanced capability over the year. These include a fully autonomous robotic arm that can perform pick-up and placement of parcels”.
“Really exciting is that we are making the system components 3D printable designs. This allows for fast prototyping, design adjustments and serviceable parts, helping future-proof Autonomous Sorting with both ongoing innovation and future serviceability”.
The very nature and ease-of-use of the Autonomous Sorting system mean operations can be scaled up or down, and Rovers dispatched to other locations depending on requirements. Whether seasonal demand, a temporary warehouse, or an excessive workload, Autonomous Sorting can be quickly deployed to bring a rapid, flexible solution to any short-term problem, but is robust enough to be the full-time backbone of most sorting centres. Once in place, the solution can run specific hours or 24/7 with the capability to operate a throughput initially up to 15,000 parcels per hour.
In a purely commercial context, Autonomous Sorting is highly competitive; it lowers CAPEX and OPEX significantly ensuring that there are no barriers to adoption by operators looking to integrate a more scalable and flexible sorting strategy. Crucially, rovers can rapidly and accurately perform sorting at a lower cost (per sorted unit) than current industry standards.
Bernd believes the firm but flexible foundation is key to the success of the solution. He explains, “In fundamental terms, we are focusing development on the Rovers all-around technical stability, capability and physical robustness.”
“Technically, since the proof of concept, we have already adapted the design of the Rovers. Height has been increased to meet Working Conditions regulations. Computing power has been increased to allow for higher quality algorithms and sensors. Also, we achieved further autonomy by de-centralising collision avoidance, path planning and navigation.”
“We want Postal and Logistics companies to consider Autonomous Sorting as the one-stop solution whether setting up a new sorting centre or automating an existing one. This system has to reliable enough to operative 24/7 in one location but robust enough to be re-deployed at any time. “
As part of the ongoing strategic plan to maintain their focus on solutions within the logistics industry, Prime Vision is pleased to announce the successful management buy-out (MBO) of their Australian subsidiary, Prime Vision Australia. The operation will immediately revert to the previous name of Prime Smart Systems.
The new business will continue to be helmed by Tom Ellis who since 2011 has successfully grown the previous business to be a recognised specialist supplier of bespoke hardware solutions across a wide variety of markets within the Australian and New Zealand region. Officially, this agreement marks both the termination of the Prime Vision branch office in Australia and that Prime Smart Systems have full responsibility for all non-postal actions and activities from 1st January 2018, the only exception being that Prime Vision will continue to both fulfil and support existing postal contracts and reserve the right to supply new systems and industry expertise to Australian and New Zealand postal market.
Prime Vision CEO Eddy Thans explained the reasoning behind the decision, “For some time now both businesses have been growing successfully, but regional and market demands have seen the companies evolve in different directions. It was decided some time ago to grow the Australian Business as a stand-alone business. The MBO, led by Tom, was considered the best route to ensure the continued growth of Prime Smart Systems and enable the management team to have the autonomy needed to push the business in the direction they think best.”
“We are pleased with this solution and will continue to support Tom and his team when called upon. Importantly, we will continue to supply the technology and industry expertise, when needed, to enable Prime Smart Systems to continue to compete at the highest level within the Australian and New Zealand logistics sector.”
“Personally, I would like to thank Tom for his contribution over the years. He has been a valued member of the Prime Vision family. We sincerely wish him and his management team every success with their new venture”.