Aiding in the Distribution of Coronavirus Supplies in the US
With the world currently in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, we are all facing unprecedented challenges. The role of technology in helping to address some of those challenges has been important, and AI and augmented intelligence are already playing vital parts in modeling the virus and indeed many other areas.
The prompt and efficient transportation and distribution of supplies is another important challenge, all over the world but especially in larger countries such as the US. Regulations and travel advisory notices are issued daily or more by each state, and the situation can change at a moment’s notice, making transportation much more difficult.
With this mind, we are delighted to announce the launch of our new Transport Monitoring Application, a brand new solution that collates, manages, and analyzes large volumes of unstructured data to provide a real-time picture of the unfolding transportation situation in the US.
It’s an application that is already in use by the logistics and transportation firm Werner, which is hoping to expand its use over the coming weeks.
Werner and the Need to Make Sense of Unstructured Data
Werner is one of the biggest logistics firms in the US, and its global portfolio includes truck brokerage, freight management, intermodal, international, and final mile services. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the US in March 2020, shipping, rail, and road transportation have all been affected by it.
The distribution of supplies, from food to PPE, is a crucial part of addressing the coronavirus. But in the US, each of the 50 states operates individually with different transport systems and travel regulations.
Furthermore, these regulations are changing daily, often numerous times in one day, and it can also be difficult to locate the relevant information. For example, a travel notice might, at first glance, appear to be detailing a blanket ban, but on closer inspection further down the page, there are exemptions for certain critical industries and deliveries.
All the information and data relating to transportation in each US state comes from a variety of different sources, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state departments of transportation, and much more. Social media is also a big factor, with the Governors of each state often using Twitter to inform the public of the latest developments.
The constantly changing regulations from state to state meant that is hard to gain a clear understanding of where goods needed to go and how best to get them there on time. Werner saw our recent blog post, an open letter to the Squirro community to come together at this time and work collaboratively on solutions, and got in touch.
Squirro – Innovating with Augmented Intelligence
We felt the fact that everyone at Squirro is currently working from home was no barrier to innovation and collaboration around this issue. In response to Werner’s query, we held a virtual hackathon over Easter in which members of the team got together on a pro-bono basis to come up with ideas that would add value to this challenge.
We generated many ideas together but one that really stood out was the need for an application that monitored, in real-time, the travel and transportation developments in the US. There is so much data involved that it is hard for anyone to narrow it all down and make sense of it. Squirro’s augmented intelligence means that our applications can work with and extract real-time, actionable insight from a variety of unstructured data sources.
In this instance, we were able to monitor thousands of data sources across the US to provide real-time insights into the latest transportation developments. This insight is presented in an easy-to-use format, with dashboards for Search, Monitoring, and Assessments, and it also has the latest Covid-19 statistics for each state, updated instantaneously. This means any user can make smarter and more informed decisions about transportation across the US.
Expanding the use of the Squirro Transportation Monitoring Application
Currently, the Squirro Transportation Monitoring Application is available free of charge for any US transportation and logistics organizations to use. It’s available on this page, below, and can be embedded into almost any work environment. We are more than happy to discuss ways in which the use of this application can be expanded and the service made even more detailed.
Werner has been using the application and has already found it to be an invaluable resource in providing it with a deeper understanding of the real-time changes in transport regulation across US states. Previously, attempting to keep up with this was a manual process, with Werner employees wading through large volumes of data and many different websites to understand the latest updates. With such rapidly changing data, it was hard to analyze and made it difficult to react in time to travel advisory changes.
We are continuing to work with Werner to improve the application, having it provide deeper insights across more specific locations with even more detailed views of transportation regulations. As the crisis develops and unfolds, such detail will only grow more important.
If you are involved in the US transportation industry, then the Squirro Transportation Monitoring Application is available right now, for no cost. If you would like to use it or would be interested in working with us to develop the application even further, please get in touch with us here.