Browse Prior Art Database

On Demand Product Delivery Solution

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030386D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Aug-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Aug-09
Document File: 4 page(s) / 76K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article discloses an on demand solution that provides functions such as notification on delivery, tracking and delivery routing information for products, mail, packages or any other physical items. The solution presented allows to automate the mail/'package/product delivery process by introducing a notification and decision making solution. The notification mechanism that is integrated with communications devices such as computers, telephones, PDA, and pagers allows making instantaneous product handling and delivery decisions.

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On Demand Product Delivery Solution

Solution Description. The solution described provides notification upon delivery and tracking of mail, packages, and other physical items shipped to traditional mail boxes as well as any other storage and warehouse locations. The key feature of this solution is to allow users to make on demand decisions on how to proceed with given item before it is sent out from the shipping location. The shipping center is connected with the item recipient by means of communication devices used to send/receive messages, a User Control Module (UCM) and a Main Control Unit. The communication devices may include a telephone, computer, PDA, and others. Before an item is shipped to a recipient, the Main Control Unit (MCU) that is operated by the shipping location generates a message to the recipient. That message is a request for a decision where to send that subject item. Service subscribers (recipients) can change the default destination address by modifying the preferences in the UCM module. Those changes are transmitted instantaneously to the Main Control Unit so that shipping can be handled accordingly. There is no need for a manual intervention, since all communications is automated between the shipping location and the item recipient.

The system allows to define and change actions on items being delivered. These actions include changing the destination address, holding items for a specific period of time, verification of properties of the product to be delivered, request to send an item with different properties, stop shipment if product specifications are not met, and others as required. The electronic tags are associated with each traceable item or a batch of items. The electronic tag allows to store an item's attributes as well as tracking information. The electronic tags are detected by sensors units installed in the item containers. These sensor units use transmitters and receivers to interface with and send messages to the Main Control Unit.

The system presented may have a wide range of applications. A sample application discussed below is meant as a convenience for people expecting delivery of mail/packages to remote PO Box locations or even mail boxes located on their properties. The solution may have numerous commercial applications. Figure 1 provides a graphical overview of the solution.

Figure 1. On demand product delivery solution

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M ailbox/S torage bean/Item C ontainer

Item /package/letter Item Tag/Identifier

IM C U - Integrated M ail S ensing U nit

Sample Solution Implementation.

A sample implementation of the solution presented is an automated mailbox which is a standard mailbox equipped with an Integrated Mail Sensing Unit (IMSU). That idea of that implementation is shown in Figure 2. The IMSU unit consists of an optical sensor (or any other type of sensor as per specific implementation) and a signal transmitter. The IMSU is installed in a traditional mailbox at a home location o...