The transportation and shipping industries are getting smarter and more innovative every day, thanks to a fruitful partnership between IoT and the ever-expanding sharing economy. The latest developments with these technologies are improving roadways and shipping ways for individuals and businesses alike–including these innovative examples.
BlipTrack Sensors Helping Road Engineers in Europe Create Better Traffic Flow
Blip Systems has attached sensors to city streets that allow for some interesting real-time analysis of traffic congestion patterns. The sensors are designed to pick up the presence of smart devices that drivers are carrying with them in their cars. The sensors accomplish this by obtaining the MAC addresses of smartphones via Bluetooth or WIFI as the drivers pass by. This data is then time-stamped and encrypted and sent to the Blip System server. From there, researchers can observe highly detailed, real-time traffic flow data. Every driver basically becomes a trackable pin on a map, and the road engineers can observe the congestion patterns of all the pins moving along the roads.
This has big implications for engineers who want to make more informed decisions about reducing traffic jams. As this article notes:
Road engineers analyze the collected data to help pinpoint the source of congestion. They then experiment with changes to infrastructure, such as the addition or removal of traffic lights at key intersections, in order to smooth traffic flow. The engineers watch the journey time data especially closely after they add a traffic light, Gilbert adds, to make sure it does not cause unexpectedly slow sections on the roads.
Will we soon see similar sensors on the streets of Chicago? If so, then hopefully our road engineers can become more effective in reducing traffic congestion and commute times.
Nimber: Sharing Economy Technology Comes to Personal Shipping
The sharing economy, which has taken advantage of our billions of mobile devices and vast connections to each other, to create the greatest bartering activity in the history of the world.
Our innovative sharing economy is now sweeping into the world of personal shipping.
Now, thanks to the company Nimber, people in the UK can help other people ship items. It’s absurdly simple, but so very brilliant–as explained on Nimber’s page: “Nimber is a community delivery service that matches people who need to send something with someone going that way, anyway. By working together as a community we can make shipping convenient, sustainable, and more personal.”
It gets better.
The price of shipping is determined not by Nimber but by the two parties who are agreeing to help one another. You post the item you want shipped on Nimber, and when a “bringer,” as Nimber calls them, sees your post and agrees to take your item with them when they go to that location, you work out a price with that person.
Such a service raises plenty of eyebrows and questions, of course. But it appears to be working, and Nimber adds this guarantee to their description of the app: “We insure every item up to 1000€. If something happens in transit we will either replace the item or repair it up to that amount. We’ve had very few claims to date, but we want you to rest assured.”
This is a UK-only app, but the implications are intriguing. Will Nimber, or an app similar to it, eventually come to Chicago? Once Nimber gets the bugs worked out by establishing its services in the UK, will it storm the US with an amazing new shipping option that will blow apart the FedEx, UPS, USPS world?
Time will tell.
You Don’t Have to Travel to the UK to Benefit From the Sharing Economy
While you might have to wait for that innovative shipping service to come to you, you don’t have to wait to benefit from the sharing economy in Chicago. The app ParqEx is a superb example of this kind of innovation. It locates privately owned parking spots in Chicago and uses ParqEx’s large network of users to allow you to reserve an ideal parking spot in advance. And when you reserve, you can be as specific as month, week, day, or hour.
Or you can use the app to rent out your parking space to someone else and gain an extra stream of income.