The 2019 Telstra Innovation Challenge (TIC) winners are here, and their ideas are sure to move you (and all the stuff you care about).

This year’s TIC centred around designing innovative and inventive solutions for the problems faced by the transport and logistics industry, with a specific focus on harnessing the power of the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT refers to the connectivity of everyday objects to make them more efficient. Think of a connected vending machine that can tell its owner when stocks of a particular thing are getting low, so refill operations are more efficient, or a connected network of bicycles available to rent via a smartphone app.

For the transport and logistics industry, IoT represents a thrilling new opportunity. With a mature IoT deployment, a logistics company could step into a world of big data, where deliveries, infrastructure and plant equipment are tracked and managed more efficiently than ever.

Together with Linfox as our industry partner, we challenged teams to solve some of the most interesting issues facing the industry. Teams could choose what specific areas to focus on, which could range from improving the field staff and operational experience to developing brand new services for the industry.

Teams participating in the challenge were provided with an Arduino Mkr NB 1500 Development Board, which is compatible with both Microsoft Azure and Telstra’s Narrowband IoT Network. Teams were challenged to use the CAT-M1 and Narrowband-IoT networks to design and prototype a real-world application for the industry. These IoT networks cover over three million square kilometres of Australia and cater for use cases where devices only need to be sending relatively small amounts of data relatively infrequently.

Several teams participated in the challenge, but three teams came out on top. Here’s what they came up with.

Mapping the road ahead

Public Stream Winners – Team Fullstack

Team Fullstack proposed a driver health and wellbeing monitor to minimise and eliminate workplace incidents.

Team Fullstack’s idea is built to interlock with several systems around the world where legislation has been implemented to protect truck drivers from fatigue and other health-related incidents.

The Australian Government’s National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, for example, requires solo drivers to rest for at least 15 minutes for every 5 ¼ hours of work time, with the amount of rest time scaling up based on the amount of time worked. The European Union and US Department of Transport have similar legislation, all designed to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and deaths.

By utilising non-intrusive heart rate monitoring and ambient alcohol detection, Team Fullstack’s platform would incentivise and gamify wellness to reward drivers for making healthy decisions. Consistent drivers could be incentivised with gift cards of other bonuses for their healthy results.

For their idea, Team Fullstack won $6000. Congratulations, team!

Are you sitting comfortably?

University Stream Winner – Couldn’t Chair Less

When the Apple Watch debuted with an emphasis on standing for one minute during 12 different hours of the day, CEO Tim Cook called sitting “the new cancer”. In the same vein, the World Health Organisation claims that physical inactivity is the “fourth-leading risk factor” for global mortality. Meanwhile, a collation of almost 50 different studies into inactivity found that the sitting and related inactivity carries with it an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So with that in mind, how do you ensure the health of an industry where one of the primary functions involves sitting down for extended periods of time? Truck drivers are the backbone of the transport industry (and potentially the whole economy), but who takes care of their backbones? University Stream Team Couldn’t Chair Less did for this year’s TIC.

Couldn’t Chair Less proposed a solution whereby truck drivers would have their health and posture data tracked as part of a wellness platform called Linlife. Furthermore, Couldn’t Chair Less proposed a sensor called the LinSit Pro, which would collect long-term pressure data to suggest tailored stretches and exercises for drivers based on data collected.

For their efforts, Team Couldn’t Chair Less also walk away with $6000. Good job!

Track and trace technology turns turbo

Creativity Award Winner – Sky Ledge

Blockchain is already something the logistics industry is experimenting with, but the results have largely yielded a system that drives efficiencies for companies and not their customers. Sky Ledge’s idea would see the blockchain put to work to help customers, as well as logistics companies, track their shipments.

The system would put the immutable power of the blockchain to work to power an in-depth look at freight as it travels. Rather than a simple message about your parcel simply being in transit, Sky Ledge would allow customers to track the ‘health’ of their freight.

Insights like the temperature, vibration and real-time location of a shipment would be available to a customer with the new system, and alerts would be sent if a specific variable is out of an acceptable range. That way you can be sure that your perishable items, for example, would be safe from point A to point B.

Sky Ledge wins the Creativity Award, and $1000. Bravo!

Congratulations to this year’s TIC winners. We look forward to seeing your ideas flourish to help keep the world moving.