Software

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Here one finds software tasks that need to be addressed for the system. Also present locker system software has been reviewed, and a schematic about information that has to be retrieved and sent to the various stages is incorporated in a diagram below.

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Contents

Software Requirements

There are several tasks this system needs to do which requires software to comprehend data and store and upkeep information:

  • Keep track of which cubbies are empty/full
  • Designate a new package to an empty cubby
  • Notify customer of package arrival
  • Identify between Drone RFID & Tote RFID
  • Keep track of multiple drones in queue
  • Notify if package has been in system for more than 3 days
  • Allow postman to input packages in the non-drone cubbies
  • Report full, malfunction, etc.
  • Open correct cubby after user inputs code
  • Would have to be connected to the service provider to

This software will basically hold all the information that is needed to make the system run and maintain.

Existing Software

There exist already several types of software packages that address some of the requirements above.

For example, the V-Locker system makes use of a range of software that allows centralized and remote management, which would also be ideal for our case. It is a type of interconnected locker network. For now, however, we focus on the individual package pick-up location software.

V-locker Technical Aspects
The V-Control module is specific software that runs at each individual locker location. V-Control manages the individual lockers and connects back to the Central package delivery client to keep track of transactions and deliveries. It makes use of an SQL Server database for each specific locker location. Also with V-locker, third party clients using the system can implement Application Programming Interfaces (API)s of various locker functions in their own software for their purposes. [1]


The technical aspects of the locker terminals are shown in the thumbnail on the left. One can see that the locker functions are all programmable via certain basic microsoft software and then can be connected to larger servers depending on the companies size. [2]

This V-locker system software already addresses - notifying the customer of package arrival, keeping track of full and empty cubbies, postman package allocation, and opening of the correct cubby given the correct code. The SQL server databases primary function is to store and retrieve data as requested by other software applications. The V-locker software most likely keeps track of the cubbies being full and empty, notifying etc. (specific details could not be found). The server could then also store RFID codes of the drones in a queue and the RFID codes of the packages and given locations.

This leads me to the question: What kind of functions can be built on and SQL server that are most likely used by the V-locker?
Turns out there are various kinds of services that can be coupled to the use of such a server.

  • Integration Services[3] - Can be used to extract data from various things and put it together - ie. retrieving data from the central system to confirm which packages have/have not been delivered yet
  • Notification Services[4]- Allows a person to sign up for an event (ie. package arrival), which is registered on the database server as a trigger; when the event occurs, Notification Services sends a message about the event happening
  • Reporting Services[5] -
  • Replication Services[6] - replicate and synchronize database objects across replication components ie. if a purchase has been made on the central server and selected pick-up locker X, then the package info could be replicated to confirm delivery


An SQL server is one of the big components in the software required for this pick-up system. It allows data management and communication between other servers.

What is learned from this research:
Current software programs exists for the opening and closing and delivering of package systems. They tend to be connected to a central system remote controlled elseware to keep track of package delivery and send notifications. In our case, the software program controls the actions of the lift mechanism, cubbies, opening etc. It handles the input from drones (placing them in a queue if necessary), package information and designation and the unlock code and notification to customer. All of which should be programmable.

Software Diagram

This diagram shows the functions/information that is passed through the pick-up system software and connected to a central system that keeps track of all transactions. It is just a rough schematic.
KS-Software-P2





















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References

  1. V-Locker. (2014). PARCEL delivery Lockers - Software Modules. V-Locker Ltd. <http://www.vlocker.com/?q=parcelclickandcollect>
  2. V-Locker. (2014). PARCEL delivery Lockers - Technical. V-Locker Ltd. <http://www.vlocker.com/?q=parcelclickandcollect>
  3. N.A.(2014)."Integration Services Transformations". Microsoft Developer Network. Microsoft.
  4. Wikipedia. (2014). SQL Server Notification Services. Wikipedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL_Server_Notification_Services>
  5. Wikipedia. (2014). SQL Server Reporting Services. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL_Server_Reporting_Services
  6. Wikipedia. (2014). SQL Server Replication Services. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL_Server_Replication_Services
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