Europe Union
Published: 03/12/2020

2020:’s odyssey with RTIs

2020:’s odyssey with RTIs

Driven by our last year’s hackathon success, we were eager to repeat this achievement in yet another hackathon — Odyssey Momentum 2020. Although the award ceremony didn’t go exactly as planned, what we developed exceeded our expectations by far.

The problem with RTIs

Our team joined a challenge called the Internet of Logistics as part of the Circular Economy for Freight Packaging track. We tried to solve the problem revolved around Returnable Transport Items (RTIs) — reusable containers used for moving or transporting goods. Did you know that RTIs loss or damage may cost a single transporter €150,000 to €3,000,000 a year? Therefore, an adequate system for tracking and tracing of not only the transported goods but the RTIs as well could reduce the financial burden of logistic companies.

Our solution for balancing RTIs

We wanted to develop a solution fostering an ecosystem for balancing RTIs among the participants. How does our system work?

  1. Blockchain interface. This layer lies at the very bottom of our solution. We have provided a specification of the developed smart contract and how to interact with it.
  2. Back-end. In addition to the core blockchain-integrated functionality, we have also developed a fully functional set of services to monitor and execute transactions between stakeholders.
  3. Front-end. For those who don’t have their own solution or want to have a separate toolchain for RTIs management, a web application integrating the aforementioned functionalities has been put together.

We added fine-grained tracking and automated counting of RTIs to the system and, to take advantage of the continuous monitoring, we integrated on the front-end a near real-time tracking system for single RTIs. 

We took care of lost or stolen packages as well. Our system will alert the driver in such cases by triggering a text message containing details of that package and its last-seen location via Twilio gateway.

Final result

We tested the final solution in an experimental setup where we placed two gate scanners, one on a truck, and six beacons to simulate RTIs. The final result can be summarized in the following picture:


We are still excited about what we achieved in less than 50 hours. We didn’t win. However, we feel that we achieved the goal by 200%. Kudos to the winners (you can check out their solution here) — this time we were not the best, but we want to raise the bar. Now it’s time to draw some post-hackathon conclusions, make the solution bulletproof, and hit the market.