Towards distributed heterarchic work flow for pro-active tracing of cargo

The owner of the cargo products has no means to trace his products in an adequate way since the transport chain is not supported by a transparent but adaptive communication interface. To solve these current cargo communication problems, the project “OCTOPUS” has created a two-layered common and open distributed platform for adaptive tracing of communication chains and tracking of general cargo through all sections of the logistic chain, from factory to consumer.

This platform contains two technical layers that can be used autonomously or in combination with each other:

•  layer-1 is a tracing and communication e-mail-based workflow system to process and communicate information to the partners, called OCTOPOST and
•  layer-2 is a tracking and identification system for gathering information related to physical cargo operations, called OCTO-ETL (Electronic Transport Label). From a technical point-of-view, the Octopus-servers are installed on a tcp/ip-based scalable (= modular and adaptive) and heterarchic network (non-hierarchic) so that the in-land terminal accessibility and inter-cooperation is maximally guaranteed. The heterarchic method is implemented by each OCTOPUS-server, which supports local translation processes of the communicated messages, due to its automatic integration on top of existing e-mail environments. Here you will find an overview of all software modules that have been developed for the two OCTOPUS-layers:
•  OctoPost: an e-mail based workflow environment that operates in a non-hierarchic way through secure task-management,
•  OctoSimulator: multi-node simulator for evaluating capabilities of read/write tags that trigger the distributed communication,
•  OctoAgents: a set of modules that can index e-documents that are attached to OctoPostmessages, using a bilingual transport thesaurus,
•  OctoVisualiser: a 3D-environment for interactive visualisation of task-dependencies in a complex workflow environment,
•  Octo-ETL-server: a platform for managing messages that come from any read/write device that is scanning a re-writable tag/chip, fixed on any transport medium
•  OctoTagger: a hardware read/write pen test platform for reading and (re)writing ETL’s (electronic Transport Labels).
•  OctoLinker: demonstrator module that links OctoPost to the Octo-ETL environment.

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