The Technology Behind Parcel Tracking

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Parcel tracking has become a vital feature in the delivery sector. Since its introduction, it has helped businesses to reduce the number of missing parcels, saving them a small fortune. The way in which tracking services work varies between couriers. Some have more advanced features, while others simply tell you where the parcel has been and when it’s due to be delivered.

Here, we’ll look at the technology behind parcel tracking and what the future holds for this valuable service.

Understanding the different types of tracking

Firstly, it’s worth remembering that there are different levels of tracking available. So, the way in which in which the technology behind them works, will depend upon how complex the tracking system is.

Basic tracking uses a company’s internal information system, allowing staff to easily update when a parcel is packed and then shipped. The courier service also has the same type of system, updating it when the parcel has been received, when it’s out for delivery and an approximate time it will arrive.

More advanced tracking systems allow customers to track the parcel in real-time throughout the entire process. So, you might be able to see exactly where the delivery van is on a map for example. It’s worth using a comparison website such as, to compare the different tracking services.

How does it work?

Regardless of which type of tracking you choose, the parcel is always given a barcode sticker. This is then scanned by everyone who comes into contact with it (warehouse staff and the delivery driver etc). This updates where the parcel has been and where it is now.

The more advanced tracking services also allow the information to be changed in real-time. This includes notes added by both the delivery driver and the customer. Say you check the tracking and you realise you aren’t going to be at home, you can use the real-time updates to provide information to the driver of where they can leave the parcel or arrange a redelivery.

What does the future hold for parcel tracking?

The tracking facilities currently on offer are already pretty impressive. So, what does the future hold for this valuable service?

Well, map tracking is starting to become a lot more popular. Amazon is currently working on improving its map tracking facility within the US, so it’s likely to be introduced into the UK in the not too distant future. There’s also talk of smart home device tracking integration. Devices such as Alexa will be able to track parcels for you.

Overall, the technology behind parcel tracking is pretty impressive. However, work is consistently being done to improve the tracking feature and provide more advanced features to customers and businesses.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.