What is the future of IoT within logistics?
The Internet of Things, or IoT as they call it, is an evolving trend, going leaps and bounds, surpassing every industrial node only to transform and reinvent processes. Kevin Ashton, who first coined the term Internet of Things in 1999, had said that the value of IoT is likely to grow year after year. What Ashton said then seems very much evident now.
Experts and forecasts anticipate the IoT market to experience a hypersonic growth and reach nearly 50 billion connected objects by 2020 . Though the technology has not reached its full potential, its adoption rate is continuously increasing across industries. The logistics industry is one of those sectors today embracing IoT heavily to streamline their business operations.
Delivery, which is believed to be the heart of logistics, can only get better by improving operational visibility to perform efficient and faster actions. And this can only be achieved by using IoT – let us see how.
If there is something IoT has revolutionised in the logistics industry then it is tracking of goods in real-time.
Amazon is the best example to explain how real-time tracking is used in logistics. Well, the e-commerce giant uses RFID tags to allow customers track their ordered goods right from the time they make a purchase till the time they arrive at their doorstep. These tags are embedded with an integrated circuit that transmits data to the users, which allows enables the customers to track the location of their order without calling the customer care to ask the status of reach.
RFID Journal states that the IoT brings up to 95 per cent accuracy in stock keeping.
This real-time tracking of fleet allows monitoring fuel costs, diagnostics and faster deliveries. Moreover, the real-time system can also help logistics companies to keep a check on their drivers’ performance and vehicles. The technology also increases safety and reduces inventory damages.
The key to growth in logistics industry is to amalgamate IoT with predictive analytics. It is not just about obtaining large amounts of data from multiple connected devices, but using that data to benefit the logistics business is important. This big data can help businesses reckon better routes for their fleet, along with the efficiency of the drivers. Moreover, they can also identify inefficiencies and then improve their business processes accordingly.
Gathering valuable data is vital to determine further actions. For instance, predictive analytics can help businesses conduct maintenance on their devices at the right time with the help of the gathered data, which is very important to prevent uncertain failures that could impede and disturb the regular schedules.
Predictive analytics can also help cut operation costs. As businesses can expect fluctuation in demand, they can easily create more precise schedules that reduce over staffing and understaffing that may need overtime which is usually really expensive.
Making a hassle-free delivery through precarious roads and bad weather conditions is at times impossible. But logistic companies can be proactive and avoid these problems by means of implementing GPS and RFID.
Data acquired from GPS and RFID helps companies stay alert and informed about the expected delays that are imminent on their way. As a result of this, they can find alternative routes to complete their task.
Prestigious logistics companies like DHL and Cargotec are already using IoT since past couple of years.
DHL collaborated with Huawei Technologies to develop a Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) app, which facilitates and manages yard management efficiently for inbound-to-manufacturing logistics. This has helped the company to remarkable improvements in inbound processing time at the site.
Cargotec partnered with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop an IoT system in its logistics platform to gather, store and analyse sensory data. Since then, the company has been able to improve its productivity and machine utilisation, which has helped the company on cost savings and deliver unique value to customers.
Imagine the world without technology, or for that matter, the logistics industry without IoT. It would be terrible!
British billionaire entrepreneur Philip Green has rightly said: “Good, bad or indifferent, if you are not investing in new technology, you are going to be left behind.” This applies not just to the logistics industry, but every other business on the planet.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the future of IoT is here to stay forever.