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Transport and Logistics IoT Data is Creating a New Wave of Possibilities

By Meeta Ramnani - April 29, 2019 3 mins read

The data generated from the connected devices in the shipping industry is providing value which goes beyond tracking packages.

Enterprise IoT is expected to become a $14.2 trillion industry by 2020. Sensors collect a huge volume of data from connected equipment, ranging from airplanes to zero-emission cars. Due to consumer demand and the increase in e-commerce companies, the shipping industry has experienced a relatively early adoption of IoT.

IoT in shipping has started demonstrating maturity and the industry is seen embracing the potential of data from IoT devices. Data suggests that every second, 2300 parcels are shipped in the world’s key markets. The global parcel shipping volume is forecasted to surpass 100 billion parcels in 2020.

Since IoT-connected shipping devices generate enormous volumes of data, this can be used to extract insights and understand patterns, trends, and behaviors. Mining this data for key insights and acting on those is creating new opportunities, optimizing operations and transforming businesses.

Therein lies the biggest challenge. Many solutions in the Transport and Logistics (T&L) sector are not designed as open platforms for collaboration. Systems that track the supply-side availability are not connected with from those that deal on the demand side. To realize new business models and new revenues, systems need to work together to process information. Innovative IoT solutions from data mining require cross-industry partnerships.

According to Deloitte’s report ‘Shipping smarter: IoT opportunities in T&L’ the three ways in which companies can utilize shipping data are:

Define goals: The market is beginning to demand a strategic positioning related to the IoT. The T&L industry is at the forefront in terms of IoT value generation, companies are going beyond track-and-trace possibilities and combining GPS with sensors for temperature, humidity, exposure to light, and barometric pressure. These companies have realized that new business-model possibilities are a real differentiator—they have understood that value generation based on collected information is becoming a T&L industry standard for their customers.

Choose the business need: If the goal is improved sensing to increase efficiency, then a company needs to only focus on supply-side capabilities. Analyzing capabilities with an eye to the processes with the most variance can help identify areas where IoT applications may have the largest impact. While, if new revenue is the goal, the equation should involve demand-side customer relationships. With a specific business need in mind, the Information Value Loop can help to model the flow of information through that process or operation. This will help identify bottlenecks where an IoT application is likely to have the most benefit and where a company should focus attention.

Develop a solution: As per the need, companies need to understand when to choose a hot data storage application that can provide near-real-time data, and when longer latency but more powerful analytics are required. Similar thinking may also help a company identify where external help is necessary and who the suitable partners may be. With continuous and rapid innovations in IoT, regardless of the strategy, a T&L company needs to tackle the necessary technologies that will likely be widely available.

According to experts, connected devices will become voice-activated, edge computing in which data is processed on the device will become popular, AI will be a part of connected devices, and 5G will make connectivity between devices around twenty times faster.

All this will have huge implications for the shipping industry – it is an exciting time.


Meeta Ramnani

Meeta Ramnani is the Senior Editor with OnDot Media. She writes about technologies including AI, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain across various industries with a focus on Digital Transformation. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries four years of experience in mainstream print media where she worked as a correspondent with The Times Group and Sakal Media Group in Pune.

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