IoT Managed Locker Management Solution: A Raspberry IoT Case Study
Published on February 27, 2020 • by Saurabh Sharma Updated on April 14, 2023 • 9 min Read
The Internet of Things is surrounding us for all good reasons. The technology has reduced the gap between the ease of using native mobile apps and objects from our daily lives. Even the least techno-geek mass can automate most of the tasks from their immediate physical world with zero hassles.
The ease of dealing with their immediate devices makes IoT as one promising technology. Businesses of every size are spending largely on hardware, software, and resources that can make their IoT initiative a success.
In fact, a leading market and technology research firm claims that the numbers will take a sharp rise in the coming years
On the other side of the coin, only a handful of the developers’ community is equipped for the influx of IoT based projects, leaving the organizations with the only option to hold their initiatives until they really find a worthy team. Meeting the exact vision of IoT deployment in their business is still far from the frame.
Our client approached us for their IoT based project and the expert Mobile app developers at The Brihaspati Infotech didn’t disappoint them with a highly functional automated locker management solution designed with React Native.
Refrigerated Package Lockers
On-demand delivery businesses are on a rise, especially in the past couple of years. E-Commerce giants like Amazon are delivering more than 600 million packages annually. The numbers take a bigger leap when we include the local delivery chains.
It isn’t new that consumers are often delivered their orders when they aren’t home. Consumers who stay in apartments are more likely to experience this, where the staff collects orders on their behalf which are often stored in common rooms. Perishable items like food and groceries suffer the biggest loss in the process.
Large apartment buildings are showing interest in common refrigerated spaces that let the inhabitants collect their items fresh and safe. The Mobile connected refrigerated package lockers offer separate space for each user where they can privately store their product. The staff can charge them for temporarily booking storage space.
IoT based refrigerated package lockers come with digital keys in the form of mobile app connectivity where the users can manage their lockers with a simple native app.
Our client was interested in implementing this idea to save the day for educational institutes and hostels in the locality. The basic idea was to allow the students and hostellers to save their items in refrigerators for weeks.
Initially, the staff kept manual registers to keep a track of all the lockers, their availability, the students and their booking dates. Added to that, the institutes had to remind the students for the last day of their subscription. The process was rather time-consuming.
The client wanted an automated solution that can help the institutes for managing the packages in a more effective way so that they can focus on more important jobs.
That is where they approached us. Our expert mobile app developers gave them the option of a completely cloud-based Locker Management solution. At The Brihaspati Infotech, we have delivered several applications that are ready to work on state-of-art technologies. And this project was exactly something that needed us to go the extra mile.
IoT managed Locker Management Solution: The working model
The Smart refrigerator bank offered individual lockers to users where they can keep their items.
The access to storing and collecting items stays with the user in the assigned time period. Each pre-existing Smart refrigerator bank is equipped with 10 separate storages. The users can select any space as per their convenience and gain access to control them.
The users have a click-and-collect option right on their dashboard that opens the locker at their will.
To implement the much-needed operations we had to add some crucial features.
The client owns IoT enabled refrigerated banks across several institutes in the country with thousands of refrigerated lockers on the loop. To assign the right locker, we categorized the lockers to various stages-
At the time of profile creation, the user can add personal information like name and gender. The locker management solution also accepts details regarding the immediate location of the user allowing the app to display all the refrigerator banks in the locality.
The app picks information of users to render them with the available refrigerators.
Booking Lockers with IoT managed Locker Management Solution
The Locker Management Solution using IoT allows users to select a locker of their choice. Confirming the locality and the institute, the users can next select the building and the floor they are most convenient with.
The app has clear instructions from the refrigerator regarding the occupancy and the currently available slots in the bank. The app only avails those lockers that are unoccupied.
The user can pay as per the booking tenure that varies between weeks and months.
Push Notifications with IoT based Mobile app solution
One of the major tasks an automated locker system had to resolve was to minimize the pains of the institute staff at alerting the users. This was a hectic pen and paper task where they had to keep a track of all the users, the day they were assigned the locker, the last day of subscription, and more
With the custom-designed locker management app, the bank keeps a count for all the occupied lockers and passes the information to the mobile app for further assessment of its temporary owner. As a result, the app can push automated reminders to concerned users for the functioning of the locker and requests for unlocking the locker.
A complete End-to-End solution with React Native
The IoT solution Locker Management is a complete end-to-end solution built on React Native that serves multiple roles in the business.
1. The Super admin, who can update more lockers in the solution and can introduce staff members.
2. The Staff, who is confined to an institute, has access to the Lockers, the temporary owners, and can notify them selectively.
3. The end-users, who are allowed to Search, Purchase and manage their Lockers.
With that many features, the IoT managed locker management system resolves all the issues for both the institutes as well as students. They can manage their refrigerated lockers in a way organized manner, and with ease. However, stepping up with out-of-box ideas is never that easy as you are left out with nearly no backup and the developers have to resolve all the issues with zero help.
Challenges while designing a cloud-based Locker Management Solution
So far, it’s clear that the mobile app keeps a track of the refrigerator bank for nearly every feature. In other words, the Mobile app works as a remote interface for the Refrigerator Bank where users can track their lockers with ease.
In the process, our developers had obstacles with nearly nothing to back. But that’s when the experience plays its part.
1. Selectively showing lockers
2. One-touch click and collect button
As explained earlier, the app boasts a powerful dashboard button for easy unlocking option. The users can simply tap on the button and the bank opens up the concerned locker for them. This part had to deal at multiple stages.
A low powered server solution that can interact between the refrigerated bank and the native app
An interface that deals with the hardware(locker) and the software instructions(mobile app)
Solution offered: AWS-Raspberry Pi integration
We integrated AWS IoT for managing the backend of the system
1. The server saves the user information and uses them as Topics.
2. The cloud-based AWS IoT server assigns a unique LockerID every time users request for the service.
3. The server passes information like a unique Customer ID and Locker ID to align the services.
Assigning a locker
We built an IoT solution with Raspberry Pi.
1. The IoT enabled refrigerated bank keeps a track of all the occupied lockers.
2. The Raspberry IoT solution notifies the AWS server regarding the occupied lockers.
3. The server disables the occupied lockers from being reflected on the user’s app.
4. The user can only see the available slots.
That solves our first challenge. Proceeding with the same, the app selectively allows the user to purchase lockers via integrated Stripe or Paypal payment gateway channels.
One-touch unlocking the Locker
The user can request for unlocking the locker.
1. Integrated Raspberry receives the request and verifies the user with the Customer ID and Locker ID via the server.
2. Once verified, Raspberry Pi confirms the user and grants permission to the Refrigerated Bank to open the Locker.
With that, users get access to manage their lockers with a powerful Dashboard button.
Was the interaction between the platforms that easy?
Not at all. We have multiple platforms interacting at every request. We have this React native based solution for the users and the institute who lack the technical knowledge to manage the issues. We had AWS IoT SDK that is known to have issues while interacting with React Native. Above all, we have completely new hardware to work on- building IoT with Raspberry.
But that is why the expert Mobile app development team at The Brihaspati Infotech is known for.
We used our experience and workarounds to overcome the obstacles allowing the AWS IoT SDK to interact with both the Locker Management Solution as well as the Refrigerated bank.
Our experience with IoT projects
As the leading web and mobile app development company, The Brihaspati Infotech has been serving complete end to end software solutions for businesses across the globe. This wasn’t the first time we offered a solution that is categorized under the Internet of Things. In one of our previous blogs, we have discussed the development of an Air Quality Monitor iOS App that connects with a BLE device to check air quality from the immediate physical surroundings of the user.
Summing it up
IoT is gaining some serious attention from businesses across the globe. After all, customer convenience is the key to a successful business on and off the screen. React Native is one platform that gets you right there with its numerous libraries. The developers have the freedom to customize the libraries as per their requirements. We have been using the platform to render complete end-to-end solutions for users and business owners alike.
If your business also requires automation and you find it difficult to get the right resources, you can contact us to hire our expert developers who can render you more than just custom solutions.