Timbeter – Using computer vision to log logs

Did you ever wonder how companies within the timber industry know the number of logs on a truck, let alone each log’s size and weight? Turns out, for most of the industry’s players, it still is a manual process. Therefore, weighing and measuring not only takes a lot of time but also results in significant inaccuracies e.g. weight variances up to 30% due to moisture in the wood. In addition, manually counting logs can be fairly dangerous: all it takes is one misplaced piece of roundwood to make the entire load unstable—not to speak of animals hiding between the logs (think scorpions and snakes).

Timbeter has completely modernized this process using image recognition and machine learning technology. With just one picture of the timber pile, truck, or container uploaded to their easy-to-use mobile platform, Timbeter determines the number of logs, volume and diameter per log. The results are stored in a cloud enabling real-time inventory management, shipment tracing, and simplified reporting processes.

The arguments for adopting the technology are compelling: Streamlining the entire process increases efficiency, reduces labor costs, improves employee security, and facilitates access and management of data. If all parties accept Timberter’s output as accurate, cost of negotiation in the sales process is reduced significantly as the arguing about the amount and quality of the wood is eliminated.

The demand for timber is growing but so are the concerns around deforestation and its negative impact on the environment. Geo-tagging and access to objective data on type, origin and amount of wood across the supply chain makes illegal cutting of trees more difficult and hence costly. Also, controls are more efficient as the police can utilize this mobile app to control logs in a time-efficient way. In the long-run, Timbeter aims to create a bridge between companies, governments, and environmental organizations to enable a more sustainable timber industry.

However, the timber industry is traditional and conservative, making broad adoption the key challenge for Timbeter. Founder and CEO Anna-Greta Tsahkna states, “It is in my DNA to make things better with technology, but I did not expect it to take so long.” Hence, she is focused on building a strong sales team to help her convince more big firms to implement the technology and work with regulators to make this digital approach the new industry standard.

Today, Timbeter has 10,000 users around the globe, who have measured more than 10 million cubic meters of roundwood. We are excited to see the technology spreading and hopefully enabling a more sustainable timber industry.

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