The logistics industry is going through a transformation now, thanks to eCommerce giants like Amazon. Amazingly, their logistics solutions allow them to deliver items to your doorstep same-day, just like Aladin’s Genie! This same-day shipping magic is made possible by the smart logistics powered by Internet of Things.
‘Ease of buying’ is not the only reason online sales are going up. Shipping and tracking packages are equally important. The ability to receive the items you purchased online quickly plays a critical role in the entire online shopping experience. Furthermore, the ability to track items en route is a feature that consumers are demanding even more. This is where smart logistics powered by IoT is making a huge difference.
Smart (or Connected) logistics allows near real-time tracking of movement and delivery of goods and services. ECommerce companies, app-based taxi service companies, and food delivery companies have adopted smart logistics a while ago. Because of their success, the demand for smart logistics has been increasing rapidly. A report from Market Research Engine expects that the Connected Logistics Market will surpass over $72B by 2024. This will also result in a growth of CAGR of 32.5 percent from 2018 to 2024.
Why Smart Logistics Needs IoT
Currently, tracking a shipment is a manual process that can only occur when the shipment has physically reached the facility. This approach limits visibility to only a few specific points in the supply chain. With smart logistics powered by IoT, users get real-time notification about the location and status of the shipment. At the same time, the shipping companies are able to share a more accurate Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA).
This type of real-time tracking is not possible without ingesting real-time data from the IoT devices attached to the shipment. The logistics companies are combining the data from indoor tracking and outdoor tracking to provide end-to-end visibility. The high-end logistics services like Cold Chain are getting most benefits from using smart logistics. This is because one platform can measure and remotely monitor many variables like – temperature, humidity. pressure, light exposure, and even the GPS location of a package.
The entire logistics supply chain benefits from IoT tracking and most importantly it delivers an elevated user experience.
As a logistics business owner, you must first ensure that the right products reach the right customers. Then, you can focus on providing better services, like faster shipping and better tracking options.
How IoT Enables Logistics Solutions
IoT helps logistics coordinate the supply chain by keeping all stakeholders informed of the progress of the shipment. Sensors collect information throughout the supply chain and communicate it to a centralized hub. Then, controllers or consumer apps can help guide better decisions and corrective actions. For example, some products require a certain temperature and humidity to stay fresh while in transit. Appropriate sensors can notify customers or shipping carriers about any fluctuations during transportation. An IoT enabled smart logistics solution can also remotely monitor for power failures and battery charge levels. That way, an alert can notify the driver if power failure is imminent. This could potentially give them enough time to take corrective action and salvage the shipment.
Machine to machine communication can even automate required actions without human intervention. For example, it is important for the driver of a cold chain truck to know if the freezer stops working. If so, a smart logistics solutions could determine how long the products will remain within temperature range. The driver can then decide to make a stop or to continue to the destination. IoT platforms like Bridgera IoT makes it simple to drive those decisions based on the data ingested from different sensors.
There is a vast array of IoT devices that can help the logistics solutions become ‘smart’. RFID solutions are great for tracking a large number of assets and are particularly suitable for warehouse management. GPS sensors along with Wi-Fi and cellular triangulation provide an accurate outdoor tracking location of the assets. Most vehicles are compatible with on-board diagnostics (OBD2) devices that can help control speed and warn of various engine/cabin conditions.
New Technology Enables New Smart Solutions
Smartphones have over a dozen sensors that provide various insights. Thus, smartphones are valuable assets, and can be the IoT device that collects data like location and speed. In fact, app-based taxi services like Uber use smartphones as the core of their smart logistics platform. An app like Bridgera TrackMe can bring the same benefit to companies who are in delivery and dispatch business. Particularly, those in the food delivery, towing truck, or ambulance services.
Some of the innovative applications that are leveraging IoT powered smart logistics to drive disruption include:
Smart Warehouse Systems- These entire buildings can keep an accurate record of real-time inventory in the warehouse. These systems even keep the location of items. By combining IoT with blockchain technology, the warehouse ensures secure and transparent machine to machine transactions.
Autonomous Fleets- Self-driving cars are just the tip of this iceberg. Soon, fleets of delivery drones are going to pose new logistics opportunities in the coming years.
IoT will create data on an order of magnitude larger than what is produced today. This paired with even more advanced machine learning will unlock hidden meaning in logistical data. Data from the beginning, throughout the end of the supply chain, will help improve efficiency across all aspects. From placing orders based on consumption, to customized delivery windows, IoT is enabling new possibilities to the logistics solutions
Clearly, IoT holds the key to making logistics ‘smart.’ And the resulting convenience, comfort and control are already having a significant impact on the way we live.