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IoT and the 4th Industrial Revolution

The transportation industry is the second-largest segment investing in the Industrial Internet of Things (also known as, IoT.)  IoT is a general term for web-enabled smart devices which could be as simple as a mobile phone, a virtual assistant device like Echo/Google, or a smart accessory like an Apple watch.  However, it could be as abstract as to include networks, apps, cloud, and data.  As the internet becomes more widely accessible, industries are relying more on smart equipment and machines.

As stated in our Top 3 Logistics Trends for 2020, we are now entering the 4th Industrial Revolution or as some people are calling, “Industry 4.0”.  Now is the time where intensive transformation happens to industries in a connected environment of data, people, processes, services, systems, and IoT-enabled industrial assets with the generation.  It is the age of cyber security, autonomous robots, augmented reality, additive manufacturing, big data, simulation, system integration, and cloud computing. 

IoT is both a concrete and an abstract idea that has been slowly revolutionizing the logistics industry by means of improving productivity, flexibility, quality and speed along with increasing safety, innovative capability, environmental protection, and the ability to effectively train and collaborate.

IoT is considered within the logistics industry as something that generates high ROI but not widely adopted.  Currently, the top 4 most common IoT solutions for the supply chain industry are: fleet management, geo-fencing, optimal asset utilization, and smart inventory management

With fleet management, IoT improves general operational efficiency by tracking maintenance cost and maintaining vehicle health.  It simplifies tracking fuel consumption, regulatory compliance, and speed up accident response by implementing GPS tracking.  It permits users to have customizable dashboards and the ability to make real-time business decisions at a moment’s notice through the utilization of geo-fencing.

Geo-fencing is an advanced form of GPS with the capability to capture the coordinates of an asset or a device. As it travels, it sends real-time alerts if the driver deviates from their route offering protection from accidental loss and/or delayed deliveries.  This advanced technology increases transparency and accountability and has proven to be a cost-effective solution and reduced time.

Optimal asset utilization adds onto fleet management and geo-fencing.  It keeps track of the physical assets and pertinent information like location and status.  Through optimal asset utilization, the user can track real-time location of their truck, details about the load, and coordinates.  It does this by having multiple tracking systems on sensors, axles, and give details about the threshold and tolerance of the device.

Smart inventory management has lowered the inventory cost and reduced management errors of inventory.  Without IoT, we wouldn’t have omnichannel supply chain that is becoming more and more frequently adopted especially with the rise of internet accessibility and eCommerce.  Omnichannel allows customer to shop online, in-store, via mobile, etc. with no gap in the feedback loop when it comes to supply and demand.

Overall, since its introduction and implementation, IoT has changed the way we measure business performance by providing more accurate and autonomous data reporting solutions. Many organizations attribute their success to the implementation of IoT and predicting that it can assist in the cutting of emissions of trucks in the U.S. by 25%.


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