What has made the Internet such a success
could help change the way high-dollar and hazardous packages are tracked,
according to Randy Walker of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National
Tracking 2.0, an ORNL system being developed
by a team led by Walker,
provides a clear start to finish view as an item moves to its destination,
eliminating the problem of proprietary and often incompatible databases used by
various shippers. The system is the culmination of many years of research.
“Tracking 2.0 leverages eight years of
ORNL research into supply chain infrastructure and test bed collaborations with
state and local first responders, multi-modal freight service providers,
private sector shippers and federal and international government
With Tracking 2.0, users will be able to
share tracking data using existing tracking systems and leverage legacy and
emerging technologies without having to retool the enterprise systems. In
addition, users can deploy low-cost quick-to-market custom tools that combine
proven security practices with emerging social computing technologies to
network otherwise incompatible systems.
All codes translate to Uniform Resource
Locators that point to tracking information. This address takes on the role of
a permanent and unique “Virtual Resource Identifier,” but does not
require a priori agreement on a universal standard by all the stakeholders,
described as “a difficult and open-ended process.”
The system offers the ability to dynamically
incorporate and associate searchable user-defined tags to the Virtual Resource
Identifier. These tags are contributed incrementally by the various partners
involved in the progress of the shipment, but they do not interfere with the seamless
operation of the whole system.
Walker sees Tracking 2.0 as
being a game changer that has been tested worldwide.
“The Internet with its seemingly
endless stream of data has dramatically changed our ability to search and find
said. “We believe the same underlying social media and social networking
methods that permit users to share photos and keep in touch with their friends
and family can be repurposed to help supply chain stakeholders.”
The system was developed in
large part to help ensure the safe shipment of isotopes, which ORNL produces
for industry, medicine, and research. While the system has passed several
tests, next up is a demonstration using a commercial isotope supply chain and
next-generation sensor technologies, said Walker, a member of the Computational
Sciences and Engineering Division.