World class container tracking with PWA


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<h1><span class="text-athletic-green">World class container tracking</span> with PWA</h1>
<p><span class="text-athletic-green">Unifeeder</span></p>


The shipping company Unifeeder has a problem – they can track their containers when they are in dock or at sea, but not when they are being transported by road. That needs fixing, but the challenge isn’t simple.

While each container is tracked and recognised by a unique container number, it is merely one of many numbers written on the container across several lines, often across numbers and text, horizontally and vertically. On top of that, any developed solution needs to be able to work across different operating systems, since there is no standard system used across the various suppliers and subcontractors.


Based on Unifeeder’s needs, we recommend using a PWA (Progressive Web App) to track the containers. The strength of a PWA is that it runs in the browser, and as such works independently of any specific operating system and device. Useful, since it’ll be used by many different suppliers and subcontractors.

Our solution uses AI to recognise, analyse and decode any individual container based on photos taken using the device at hand. This solution enables Unifeeder to close the gap in their container tracking by providing them with a reliable tool to recognise containers from any given image.


Several factors lead us to recommend a PWA-based solution instead of the native app Unifeeder initially expresses an interest in.

  • 1.

    A Progressive Web App runs in the browser, meaning that it works independently of any individual operating system. Since Unifeeder works with many different suppliers and subcontractors, they benefit from a solution that doesn’t rely on them all having the same operating system. As an extension of that, Unifeeder does not have to develop solutions for several different systems.

  • 2.

    PWA’s have faster development times than native app’s, which are made for a specific operating system, like iOS. It’s also cheaper to develop. That means that Unifeeder ends up paying less for their solution, while being able to see a launch faster.

  • 3.

    Since the solution works in the browser, rather than as a dedicated app, it’s easier to maintain and deploy. Because of that, we can provide Unifeeder with a forward facing solution, since it’ll be a straightforward task to maintain the PWA after we deliver it.

  • 4.

    A PWA also works fast, which is a clear advantage in terms of knowing and providing information on where a container is at any given time. With this solution, Unifeeder can close the gap in their tracking service, meaning that they can now keep an eye on where their containers are every step of the way.

Unifeeder Desktop
Unifeeder Mobile

Practically, we are setting up the PWA to use Google Vision, a cloud service under Google Cloud Platform, in combination with business logic encoded by us, to decode and recognise any individual container based on photos taken using the device at hand. This provides a high degree of reliability in terms of getting the right container numbers from any given image, thus optimising the flow while also reducing the risk of human error from manually entering container numbers.

The PWA we’re making for Unifeeder is, in a sense, an exercise in adopting a best-in-breed approach, this time by getting the best services across different cloud providers. On top of the benefits a PWA-based solution provides Unifeeder in and of itself, the PWA works against residual APIs in Azure API Management. By using this setup, we are supporting Unifeeder’s wish to use more business logic in the Azure cloud, bringing to bear both our expertise in seeing what the client needs, and an understanding of catering to the desires of the client.

By combining the tracking that they already have in place when their containers are at sea or in port, with our solution for tracking on the road, Unifeeder can now accomplish their goal of tracking continuously from manufacturer to delivery / pickup.

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