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PROoFD IT!: Provenance of Food Delivery through IoT

By Naomi Jacobs
The PROOFD-IT project is about using technology to help track the food delivery process and monitor important information (such as temperature) at every stage. We want to design new systems which make use of the Internet of Things to do this, but we want to make sure we are meeting actual existing needs rather than jumping in and making assumptions about what might help. For that reason, the first step for us is to understand how food delivery works right now, and what currently happens between the production of food and its delivery to the customer. With that in mind, the first thing we set out to do was visit our three business partners and shadow the entire ordering and delivery process to understand more about it.
Spending time with our partners meant seeing ‘behind the scenes’ of food production, including aspects that often might be taken for granted. We got to see giant freezers, followed the route that ingredients take through kitchen preparation to become finished products, and joined delivery drivers on their routes around Aberdeen. In this way, we can build up a complete picture and see where there are opportunities for technology to help; for example certain points in the current system where temperature readings are taken and written down on paper for record-keeping.
Having an interdisciplinary team working on the project means that we can use these observational research methods to gain insight and understanding into how things work in the real world, before using technical skills to design new solutions. By working together in this way we can create and test new systems that bring new opportunities and will improve food safety and build customer trust. Once we’ve finalised our user journeys, and used them to design our new systems, the next step will be to test them out in the real world with our partners!