IoT in Logistics
Using real-time data gathered by IoT sensors, logistics companies can make more informed business decisions in order to increase efficiency and manage operating costs. Which is crucial in the notoriously competitive logistics industry. They are also able to gain unprecedented insights on customers, as well as employee behavior, can effectively focus their innovation where needed thanks to these factual insights. Access to real-time data also enables companies to predict their customer’s needs, before the customers become aware of them. Thus resources can be allocated more strategically than ever before.
Supply chain management through blockchain
Supply chain management is facing an ever-increasing amount of challenges, such as illegal food handling or correct storage of products. It seems as there could never be enough transparency along a supply chain. Companies and their customers want to be able to track a product‘s lifecycle, from a seedling or an assembly line all the way to the customer’s doorstep.
An IoT solution using blockchain prevents many security vulnerabilities of sensors and the transmission of their gathered data by enabling complete transparency along the supply chain.
Placing RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags and sensors to read said tags allows for secure and transparent traceability of relevant information, such as temperature, humidity, vehicle location and stages along the transportation process. This data is stored in the blockchain, where every tracked product is given a digital ID. All the information about the product along the supply chain is safely stored using a tamper-proof solution.
The most popular cryptocurrency coins, providing solutions for supply chain management are:
Waltonchain was the first big crypto project launched to combat challenges faced by supply chain management. It utilizes RFID tags as explained above and offers a parent and child chain structure to connect various industries. This ecosystem is being fueled by the Waltonchain coin. They have already partnered with several major logistics companies. They developed their own chip technology which makes them more independent than other currencies competing to provide the same solutions to key players in the industry. They also have their eyes on other industries that are well-known for having great IoT potential, such as smart agriculture, medicare and the art industry.
Modum offers supply chain management solutions tailored explicitly after the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. The company is based in Switzerland and aims to provide data integrity during transactions of medicinal products. Using the approach promoted by the modem token, problems related to product safety, authenticity and contract management can be mitigated.
To explain the process in a nutshell:
Modum’s sensors are recording environmental conditions, which the tracked goods are exposed to during transit. When the medicinal goods change ownership, the data collected by the sensors is verified against terms agreed upon previously by both parties using a smart contract. This smart contract checks whether all of the conditions have been met and then initiates several actions, such as: notifying the sender and receiver, payment, and release of the goods. The entire process is fueled by the Modum token.
Smart location management systems
Smart location management systems powered by telematics enable companies to track the activity of its drivers (their idling time, average speed, fuel efficiency, use of brakes, etc), the location of the vehicle and the status of the delivered goods.
Telematic data like this incredibly valuable as it can be used to precisely plan deliveries and use of human resources. Integrating IoT into this process enables the collection of data which is then used to make informed, strategic decisions to streamline more efficient approaches.
Inventory and warehousing
Warehousing and inventory management are two crucial responsibilities of any IoT based logistics ecosystem. By installing cheap sensors, companies are able to track their inventory with ease and monitor their position to create efficient warehouse systems.
Utilising IoT, companies are able to minimise human error by preventing losses, ensuring safe and efficient storage, as well as being able to locate an item precisely as fast as possible. Nowadays, most logistics companies have already adapted IoT solutions into their workflow, albeit to a very different degree.
Predictive analytics helps companies across different industries (including logistics) to develop efficient business strategies, gain useful insights and managing risks a lot better.
Predictive analytics solutions can be utilised to plan routes and deliveries and identify defects and errors before it’s too late. For example: A sensor within a specific delivery vehicle informs the company, that the condition of a particular part is increasingly deteriorating. Thus a vehicle malfunction, resulting in an interrupted delivery process is imminent. Using this data, the fleet manager is able to order spare parts and redirect the car to the nearest capable mechanic. Thus preventing a significant disruption in the delivery process.
The widespread adoption of self-driving delivery vehicles is imminent and is being extensively tested as you read this. Logistics companies are going to reap the benefits of this technological milestone by integrating these solutions into their day-to-day business.
Even though IoT devices record all the data, the analytics system (the car’s AI) faces the greatest challenge, having to interpret all these datasets to form smart, safe and efficient decisions on the road. Business can thus greatly minimize the risk of accidents, reduce their operating costs and help optimise road traffic.
Parcel delivery using drones
There are only a few industries, that would benefit by using drones to fulfil tasks during their day to day operations. Whether it’s irrigation or pest management in agriculture, or tracking of farm animals, the potential benefits drones can offer to these few industries are enormous, however. Drones can drastically improve speed and efficiency in a working environment if integrated correctly.
In the logistics sector, drones can provide business automation by offering fast transportation of products, instant delivery and smart tracking of inventory. They are also a viable solution to combat, the last mile delivery problem. The final stage in the delivery process is commonly called last-mile delivery. The last-mile delivery is a crucial part of the shipping process, as it is the most time/consuming and expensive stage, but also the most important one in terms of customer satisfaction.