Today I found myself at betahaus once again with Kashif Rasul speaking to Maximilian von der Ahe, one of the co-founders of betahaus. And the topic of last year’s RHoK came up. He was pleasantly surprised to hear that the concept we worked on at the Random Hacks of Kindness has gone on to be used by Caritas International in their response to the Japanese Earthquake.
A lot has happened since that weekend: rewriting the codebase, hours of meetings with Caritas, we even had a Christmas in the middle but we persisted. After the RHoK we promptly contacted Caritas seeking feedback. They gave us very useful feedback on our initial attempt, but given the time constraints the initial prototype was still far from complete. After reviewing the existing code we decided to rewrite the application from scratch making use of the real-time location API that we had been developing for our Berlin-based start-up.
Initially we built the application for deployment in the field in Pakistan. You can checkout the video of this initial prototype here and here We then added support for Haiti. Plans were being developed for adding support for a list of countries that are especially vulnerable to disasters. I have to say Japan was not on that list. Then, earlier this month we received a call from Caritas asking if we could create a deployment for Japan. This would be to manage the disaster response in the aftermath of the tragic Earthquake and Tsunami. With our API already in place we quickly imported administrative data for Japan and deployed for the Japanese prefectures that were worst affected by the Earthquake.
Here are few screenshots of the application with the data from Japan:
The application is currently only for internal Caritas use. However we are continuing to work with the admirable team at Caritas to develop another app for public data. However, this coming together of organisational needs and software developers would not have been possible without the amazing ecosystem that places like Betahaus and Berlin generally support. And they continue to support it. Tomorrow betahaus is hosting Seedcamp Berlin. It will be very interesting to see the startups that will be presenting and see how many applications are using location based intelligence in their business and help change the world for the better.
Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.
Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.
If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.
The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.
It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.
Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”.
Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?
It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as well as urban planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!
A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.
Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!
Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.
Guest blog-post by Shoaib (@sabman) Burq (CEO & Co-founder at SpacialDB)