How can cycle logistics operators become more efficient? How can they prevent theft? How can they better control their operations? PAZTIR is a system that aims to address all of these questions. Appropriately enough since the system protects and provides oversight, the name Paztir means shepherd in Slavic languages (for those interested in etymology, it comes from the same origin as the English word ‘pastor’).
Andrej Sobotkiewicz and Nerina Corbadzic, two of the four co-founders (the others are Jure Vizintin and Jurij Celesnik) have a background in “Lock and Charge” systems. These cables, which simultaneously provide power and security, were initially being developed by Andrej and Nerina for e-bike sharing applications. However, their PAZTIR system is specifically designed for cycle logistics. PAZTIR was developed with the support of World Startup Factory, a business incubator in Den Haag/The Hague in The Netherlands which provided office space, connections to investors and technical expertise.
The video above briefly demonstrates how the PAZTIR system works from a user’s point of view, but there’s more to it than this. Uniquely, locking and an alarm are combined with GPS and management features; it:
- Locks – allows quick locking and unlocking of both the rear wheel lock and the box at the same time. This is done using a remote, wrist-mounted key which is assigned to the user, via a smartphone app, or remotely via a secure web app.
- Guards – there is an alarm which goes off if the bike is tampered with whilst locked.
- Communicates – GPS coordinates and status of the alarm, locks and battery is sent to the cloud, and from there to the logistics company’s management software (the data sent can be configured with an API).
Why does this matter though, to logistics operators? It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a situation in which it would be useful to know who opened a box, when, where and how. Packages can be tracked in real time. The GPS data can even integrate with software that plans and optimises routes.
Nerina and Andrej calculated that it takes around 15 seconds to lock a cargo bike and box, plus another 10 seconds to unlock. That doesn’t sound like a lot in isolation, but for operations where couriers have to make perhaps 50-100 stops per day for collections or deliveries, they estimated that the PAZTIR system could save around 40 minutes with a more efficient method of locking and unlocking.
A related problem is that of couriers not locking their bikes and boxes. This is especially an issue for those couriers who are paid per delivery; unintended consequences of this pay structure can be that riders are motivated more by efficiency than by security. So it follows that a system that makes it easier and quicker to lock the box could reduce couriers’ motivation to take such risks.
“There are more bikes in cities and more organisations are using them for logistics.” says Andrej, who has received feedback from operators that reflects changing attitudes from some interesting quarters. “Online shopping means that a more of the packages being delivered are more valuable, so actually it’s online retailers who are demanding more security from their couriers.”
This leads Andrej to further thoughts about possible future trends in cycle logistics: “Insurance companies haven’t caught up yet, but we think they will when they see these trends and realise that there are ways of reducing the risks involved. Perhaps in the future, operators will be able to get cheaper insurance if they can prove they are using a secure system; perhaps there is even a role for certification”.
For now, the PAZTIR system is in a piloting phase; Andrej and Nerina are rolling out pilot schemes first of all in order to get real life feedback. These are with Dutch cycle couriers Cycloon, Dutch cargo bike manufacturers Babboe and German cargo bike manufacturers Radkutsche, amongst others. Once complete, there will be another round of pilots and refinements with the aim to go into production in 2018.
Innovations: Internet of Things, efficiency, management, security
Country: Slovenia, Italy and The Netherlands
Bike Manufacturer(s): Douze Cycles, Radkutsche, Babboe
Basis: Permanent – currently in pilot phase