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Which technologies are suitable for managing value-added objects?

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Serialization is the unique identification of objects. In addition, each object receives a unique serial number, usually in the form of a bar code. We recommend a combination of 1D barcode for classic laser scanners, 2D barcode for camera systems (see image processing) and plain text for the human eye. The unique identification allows states, e.g. full, empty or defective, to be assigned to the object. It is also possible to automatically determine more precise key figures than when posting quantities. This includes, for example, the service life, the number of repairs per object and turnaround times per supplier or customer. At first glance, serialization isn't really a new technology. However, it is currently only used for a fraction of reusable objects.


RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification and is a special case of serialization. Here, the serial number is not encoded in a barcode, but in a radio tag. To capture, the tag must be close to the reader's antenna. This generates an electromagnetic field, from which the RFID tag draws energy to send back its serial number. This is then read again by the reader's antennas and passed on to a system via middleware. An RFID tag can thus also be designed passively, i.e. without its own energy supply. The biggest advantages of RFID are the ability to record in bulk and contactless identification. In this way, dozens of tags can be read at the same time and there is no need for a visual connection to the tag. However, this does not work for all materials: Metals reflect electromagnetic waves and thus seal off tags, which can lead to unwanted readings at neighboring gates. Liquids, on the other hand, absorb the waves and thus reduce the reading distance.

Digital Link

Another technology is the digital link, which has become widely used, especially during the corona pandemic.

In addition to the serial number, a website is also included in the 2D barcode, usually a QR code,

encoded. This allows the page to be opened from any smartphone without the need for a login or an app. Entries can be made on the website and the location of the smartphone can also be recorded. However, this technology has not yet been used for reusable objects. And this despite the fact that it makes it possible to generate data with any smartphone in the world, without an app or login. For example, the defect of a load carrier or a full dumpster can simply be reported. By localizing the smartphone, you can also book directly to the appropriate location.

Internet of Things (IoT)

You could write your own article on the subject of IoT, as this is a collective term for technologies that actively transfer information. Only active IoT trackers are therefore considered at this stage. These work either in the mobile network (e.g. Telekom or Vodafone) or in proprietary systems (e.g. LoRa). In the first case, an eSIM card is used and a monthly usage fee is charged. In the second case, no user fee is charged, but this requires your own antennas and therefore you do not get nationwide network coverage. This solution is therefore interesting for a limited number of own and customer locations. In addition to the radio module, the trackers also consist of at least one chip, a battery and sensors. The most common sensors are motion sensors, so-called shock sensors, and temperature sensors. There are countless different IoT trackers, all of which have a right to exist depending on the use case. The logistics shop therefore works with an open interface approach, which allows a wide variety of trackers to be connected quickly.


We are asked about no other technology as often as blockchain technology. In a very simplified way, data is written in blocks one after the other, i.e. continuously updated, and a checksum is calculated at the end of each block.

These blocks are stored in parallel at many locations, the so-called nodes. As soon as data is changed on a node, this is immediately noticeable, as the checksum there is a different checksum than on all other nodes. This creates data security even without a central instance that manages the data. However, the nodes must be operated by each party, which results in expenses on the one hand and high energy requirements on the other. In addition, the out-of-the-box approach we have chosen makes little sense, as all nodes would be in one system.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Thanks to OpenAI and ChatGPT at the latest, AI technology has reached the attention of the general public. In contrast to classic algorithms, networks are trained to automatically recognize patterns and thus enable self-learning. This requires a lot of data first, which is then enriched with further information, the so-called labeling, and is thus used to train the network. The most important difference to classical algorithms is that the network is self-formed instead of being designed by a human. The possible applications are very diverse and range from text recognition & generation to voice recognition and robotics. There are also numerous exciting applications for reusable objects, such as forecasting or the recognition of objects.

image processing

In the environment of reusable objects, image recognition is used, in particular, to recognize the reusable type, e.g. Europallet, and to optimize the capture of bar codes. In particular, the combination of image processing and artificial intelligence, known as vision learning, promises great potential. This makes it possible to select pallets on a photo, to distinguish between different types of containers on images or to read out a variety of bar codes in a batch at the same time.

The latter enables optical bulk recognition, i.e. one photo is sufficient to read a variety of barcodes. It is also exciting that, thanks to artificial intelligence, the recording quality improves with every additional photo.

UX design

UX stands for user experience and describes the design of the user experience. This does not mean actual technology, but the way software is designed. However, we have listed this point individually, as it is still observed far too often that software is only purchased in Europe based on price and features. For example, it is asked whether the software has an app or master data can be entered, but not how this is designed visually and in the user interface. In practice, this then means that business software is complicated to use and employees have to be trained.

cloud computing

In cloud computing, software is not run on local computers or servers (= on-premises), but on servers connected via the Internet at another location. A large service provider, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or Telekom OTC, is often used for this purpose. As a result, the data can be stored in a mirrored manner at several locations, which increases data security. For example, if the data center in Frankfurt suffers damage, the data is still safe in Stockholm and Madrid. The major providers also have appropriate teams to secure the cloud infrastructure. In addition, when running software in the cloud, updates can be played out live without the need for installation within the company. Due to economies of scale, operation is also significantly cheaper than using your own servers.

In the next blog, the technologies described here are related to the fundamental principles examined in the article. This answers the question of which technologies are suitable for which principle.