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Together with the European Pallet Association e.V . (EPAL), scientists at Fraunhofer IML have developed the classic europallet into an automatically traceable and controllable cargo carrier . With around 500 million pallets in Europe alone, EPAL has the world’s largest pallet pool. This is expected to lead to intelligent logistics networks in the future. The new pallets use Deutsche Telekom’s NarrowBand IoT to communicate via smart devices in a decentralized network. Professor Michael ten Hompel , Managing Director of the Fraunhofer IML, hopes it will help them exploit “the real data potential of logistics”.

The researchers developed their solution in the recently founded Telekom Open IoT Lab . The radio technology Narrowband IoT, which is still young, is specially developed for the Internet of Things and designed for mass use. Solutions such as the networked europallet, which are based on this technology, can thus be scaled almost without limits. Although the comparable combination that Ahrma is developing together with BASF works with Bluetooth Low Energy as standard, it can also be used with IoT-compatible standards such as LoRa, Sigfox or LTE-M.

Perhaps the tangible pallets will even give SMEs the overdue IoT impulse. As shown in a recent study by Lisa Harrington , only a minority of industrial companies have so far made adequate use of the advantages offered by a digitized supply chain.