How IOT is Transforming, Transportation, Supply Chain and Logistics


Back view of businessman with suitcase looking at cityAsk any tech nerd about the latest technologies and they will surely name IoT? There is a good reason for it. According to a Cisco prediction, there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. That is not all; IDC predicts that IoT spending will surpass $1 trillion mark by 2022. These statistics are enough to prove the exponential rise of the Internet of Things.

More and more businesses will jump on the IoT bandwagon and its wider adoption becomes a possibility. According to Gartner report, more than 65% of enterprises technology will embrace IoT products. Although, it is fairly limited in terms of use cases but we will surely see some innovative application of internet of things in different industries.

Manufacturing and production industry along with smart home and freight monitoring will be some of the biggest spenders in IoT but will we surely see other industries joining the fray and investing heavily in the internet of things. Airport facility automation, electric vehicle charging and agricultural field monitoring will see the fastest growth in investment in the future.

It has transformed web development and other facets of digital designs. Many web design agencies are already adapting to latest changes. Same holds true for every industry whether it is agriculture or manufacturing. IoT has certainly left its mark on every industry you can think of. Although, it’s impact might vary from industry to industry but it is still a big feat for a technology to achieve.

If you are interested in knowing what impact can IoT make in supply chain and transportation industries then, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will learn about how the internet of things is transforming transportation and supply chain.


How IoT is Transforming Transportation?

If you have ever traveled in public transport, you know how painful it can be. Waiting for the bus to arrive, jumping on a bus which is already loaded with passengers, traffic jams, shoddy ticketing systems are only some of the ordeals we face regularly. With IoT implementation, all this is about to change for the better.


Advantages of Using IoT in Transportation

The biggest advantage with IoT devices is that they are small which means that they can not only be installed on buses and trains but can also be integrated into street lights, bus stops, railway platforms, railway tracks etc. This enables continuous visibility and minimizes the risk of accidents. Moreover, transportation authorities can harness the power of data coming through these IoT devices and deliver enhanced services to commuters while increasing operational efficiency.


1. Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance

One of the main reasons behind dissatisfaction of commuters is the poor state of public transport. From vehicle breakdown to infrastructure faults, there are many issues that can cause delays and stoppages and leave passengers stranded. As a result, they end up reaching their destination late, which increases their anger and frustration.

By integrating IoT devices in vehicles and infrastructure, you can check the health and condition of vehicle and infrastructure and conduct predictive and proactive maintenance. These sensors can notify you when there is something wrong with the vehicle so you can easily correct it. This will save passengers from delays during commutes and improve customer satisfaction.


2. Efficient Travel

Travelers are accustomed to delays which is why they are planning their journeys with delays in mind. Due to this, they have to leave their home or workplace earlier so they can reach the desired destination on time. This makes travel more inconvenient and wastes a lot of their time.

This can easily be fixed by providing real time information to commuters regarding bus and train delays. IoT tracking systems can not only provide that real time information but can also send it directly to special apps installed on traveler smartphone. This way, travelers know the estimated time a bus or train will take to arrive and leave so they can catch the bus or train on time.


3. Reducing Traffic Jams and Pollution

When a public transportation system offers efficient traveling facility to its users, it will also persuade other travelers who use private transport to try public transport. When people start using public transport and ditch their private cars, it will have two positive impacts. One, there would be less cars on the road, which means that there would be less traffic jams. Second, it will reduce pollution by cutting down carbon footprint, which is a plus for the environment.


4. Efficient Load Management

Every bus stop and railway station is different. Some might attract thousands of travelers while others only get dozens of them. By using IoT sensors, transportation authority can get a better idea about how many people travel through a particular bus stop or railway station. This allows them to manage load efficiently and allocate the right number of vehicles for different stations.

Moreover, sensors integrated into traffic signals and on the roads can also provide useful information which allows you to choose the fastest route to reach from point A to point B. This information can be conveyed to the bus drivers so they can take the shortest path, helping commuters reach their destination faster. Similarly, these sensors can also be used to evaluate footfall on certain railway station.

This allows railway authorities to tweak the frequency of trains. If a railway station is getting more passengers, they can increase the frequency of trains to that station. All this information coming from sensors can be used to plan new transit routes and start new bus and train services. In addition to this, this information can also come in handy during city planning and management.


How IoT is Transforming Supply Chain?

What blood is to the human body, supply chain is to business. It might not be such a big deal to you but imagine being involved in a business of perishable goods. Your stock of time sensitive merchandise is about to expire and you don’t have an efficient supply chain to transport it to retailers who can sell it to customers before the goods perishes. That’s when you realize the true value of efficient supply chain.

Technologies like the internet of things, big data analytics and machine learning has made a huge impact on every industry but none more drastic than supply chain management. Here is how the internet of things and other technologies are reshaping the future of supply chain.


1. Better Operational Awareness and Proactive Maintenance

Whether you are a shipping company, manage a warehouse or run a transportation company, your success depends heavily on infrastructure. A new sub branch of IoT known as IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) has emerged. It integrates all the assets such as HVAC systems, robotic sorting mechanisms, electric forklifts and delivery trucks into a single network of connected devices.

This allows companies to collect real time data related to electronic and mechanical assets. As a result, they can take action before a machine or a part stops working. This proactive maintenance reduces downtime and increases production. For instance, sensors placed inside a conveyor belt will quickly pick up and notify truck drivers about suspicious vibration in the truck tire so they can fix it before it can wear out. This way, there are less interruptions and delays and your business keeps functioning even when something goes wrong.

Businesses with fragmented supply chain might struggle to implement IIoT but to stay relevant and competitive they will have to find a way to implement IIoT in some capacity.


2. Smarter Freight Stowage

Most of us go to a shop and purchase a product without realizing how many different stages it has to go through before it reached the store you just purchased it from. From factory to warehouse to shipping containers, it is the responsibility of the supply chain manager to ensure all the cartons inside the containers reach their destination at the right time in good condition. This is easier said than done.

Using technologies like big data analytics, IoT and machine learning and you can easily achieve this goal. Advanced warehouse management systems can make freight decisions while robots are used to sort products, which minimizes human error in the process.


3. Automatic Defect Detection

Conducting regular inspections, identifying and removing defects used to be a daunting task but not anymore. Technology has eliminated the human factor and automated this process to reduce the risk of human errors. Many companies are already using artificial intelligence to kick out defective products before it reaches their final stage. This is not only a great move from an efficiency point of view but it has also improved the safety of products.


4. Demand Forecasting

Gone are the days when companies don’t have smart tools which can provide them with useful insights to make better decisions. Today, companies use their database and the information they have to establish new routes and extend their reach by opening up new distribution centers.

They take into account all the information from customer purchase history, preferences and even anticipated future purchases and ensure efficient flow of products on their shipping routes. This data comes from sensors placed in your stores. Some companies even collect data from manufacturers and repair shops to get a better idea about how customers interact with their products and areas of service improvements they need to focus on.

How will internet of things impact transportation and supply chain in your opinion? Have your say in the comments section below.


About the Author: Irfan Ak is a digital marketing expert & a guest blogger on various technology websites. He is a passionate tech savvy & digital strategist and has worked with various  brands bringing improved value to their product lines.

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